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How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

If you’ve ever had a leaky faucet, you know how irritating it can be to listen to each drop of water hit your sink basin — a noise that seems to amplify whenever you try to sleep. If your sink is leaking, the easiest way to handle it is to let one of our licensed plumbers fix it for you. Onondaga County has certified our licensed plumbers.

If you enjoy do-it-yourself projects, you may prefer to attempt to fix your faucet on your own. The steps you should follow to stop your leak are largely determined by the type of faucet you have.

Here is a list of the four kinds of faucets and what you should do if they start to leak:

  • Compression Faucets. If a compression faucet leaks, it’s normally because it needs a new seat washer or O-ring. To replace your washers, take off the cap on your faucet handle and take away the handle screw. Use the appropriate wrench to take out the packing nut. Once the stem is unscrewed, place a new seat washer into the unit. Coat the new washer with plumber’s grease that is both nontoxic and heat proof. You should also take the stem from the packing nut and take away the O-ring. Replace it. Be sure you use the right size O-ring to prevent future problems.
  • Ball-Type Faucets. Ball-type faucets have many parts, which can make it extremely challenging to identify the source of a leak. If you don’t have much time or considerable experience with plumbing, you may want to replace your faucet instead of trying to repair it. If you’re up for the challenge of attempting to fix your leaky faucet, begin by removing the handle set screw and then the handle. Take pliers and use them to take out the cap and collar next. The faucet cam should be loosened before you remove it. Take out the cam washer, as well as the rotating ball. Use a pair of pliers to take out the inlet seals and spring. Cut your old O-rings and roll new ones on, remembering to apply a layer of plumber’s grease. As you put your faucet back together, replace your valve seats, cam washers and springs with new ones.
  • Cartridge Faucets. To repair a cartridge faucet, start by removing the faucet handle's cap. Next, take out the handle screw and the entire handle. If the cartridge is being held in place by a threaded retaining clip, remove it before you take the cartridge out. Once that’s done, take out the spout and replace your O-rings with new ones that have been coated with plumber’s grease. After that, you can reassemble your faucet.
  • Ceramic-Disk Faucets. To begin, unscrew the set screw and take out the faucet’s handle. Take the escutcheon cap off, take out the disk cylinder mounting screws, and take the cylinder out. Use a rounded screwdriver to remove the neoprene seals, which can become worn out. Replace them after you use vinegar (distilled white is best) to gently clean the cylinder’s openings. You are now ready to put your faucet back together. Be sure you turn your water on slowly after you’ve reassembled your faucet to avoid fracturing its ceramic disk.

If you have a leaky faucet or another plumbing concern, contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse to schedule a free Plumbing Check Up today.

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