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No matter what type of faucet you have, whether high-quality, middle of the road, or lower quality, at some point in time it may develop a leak. Knowing how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet can be incredibly beneficial.
Faucets are an incredibly important part of your home and keeping them in good working condition is advantageous. Not only will a leaky faucet keep you up at night, but it could also increase your water bill.
No one wants to have to pay more for their utilities than necessary.
What Causes a Faucet to Leak?
There can be a variety of reasons why a faucet becomes leaky, including problems with the installation. However, there are some other common reasons why your faucet might be leaking, and these are listed below:
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This is often the most common cause of a leaky faucet. Every time you use your faucet, the washer is pressed against the valve seat, which creates friction that will wear this component out. When that happens, the spout will develop a drip.
In addition, if the washer is missing, the wrong size, or improperly installed, this could also cause a faucet to leak. To prevent this from happening, replace worn out washers with new ones, make sure they are the right size for the faucet, and install them correctly.
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At the base of the faucet is a part called the stem screw that holds it in place. Included with the stem screw is a small disc called the O ring, and this is a commonplace where leaks occur.
If the O ring becomes loose or worn out (which happens over time), the faucet will develop a leak near the handle. Replacing the O ring should fix this issue.
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The valve seat is located in the compression mechanism and it functions as the connection between the faucet and the spout. Water is full of sediment, and as it flows over the valve seat, it could cause corrosion; which may cause a leak to develop in the spout area.
These are often specialized, that is, you will need to find the correct valve for your faucet’s manufacturer.
Tips on How to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet
When it comes to knowing how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, the first thing you need to figure out is where the leak is coming from. Repairing a leak that is coming from the spout will require different steps than those coming from the base.
The second step in the process is to turn the water off under the sink. This will ensure that you don’t spray yourself or create a larger mess as you work to repair the leak.
You’ll also want to put in any drain stops or cover these with a rag. The last thing you want to do is drop an important component down the drain. After that has been taken care of, you’ll need to determine what type of faucet you have.
Determine Faucet Type
Once you have figured out where the leak is coming from and prepared the area, you’ll then need to determine what type of faucet you are working with.
Knowing this will help you figure out how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet. To accomplish this task, you’ll need to remove the handle.
In general, there are four different types of faucets:
- Compression faucet, equipped with two handles
- Ceramic disk faucet, ceramic cylinder under the handle
- Cartridge faucet, cartridge under the handle
- Ball faucet, ball bearing under the handle
Fixing a Compression Faucet
Making repairs to a compression faucet are generally easy and the parts are easy to find. To accomplish this task, you’ll need to follow the steps listed below.
Remove the Handles
This can usually be done with a screwdriver, either a flat head or Phillips.
Remove the Nut
You’ll need a wrench. Once this has been done, it will then expose the O ring.
Inspect the O-Ring and Washer
When it comes to knowing which part is which, you’ll need to know that the O-ring is often thinner than the washer, and the washer is often constructed out of rubber.
If the leak is coming from the base of the faucet, then replacing the O-ring might solve the problem. When the leak comes from the spout, taking care of the washer should fix the problem.
Reassemble the Handles
After you have replaced the O-ring or washer, you can then place the handles back on the faucet.
Fixing a Ceramic Disk Faucet
These types of faucets are incredibly durable, which means they should last for a long time before they develop a leak. If you find that your ceramic disk faucet is leaking, below are some ways to repair it.
Remove the Handle and the Escutcheon Cap
This component is made out of metal and sits directly under the handle.
Remove the Disk Cylinder
You’ll have to use a wrench to accomplish this task. Once you have removed the disk cylinder, it will expose the neoprene seals.
Clean the Seals
More than likely, corrosion will be the cause of the leak in this type of sink, so taking out the neoprene seals and cleaning them can be beneficial. This can be done using white vinegar.
If you notice that the buildup on the seals is extensive, you might consider letting them soak for a few hours before replacing them.
When you get to the seals and you notice that they are damaged or worn out, getting new ones is the best course of action to take. This could ensure that the faucet is working correctly and stop any leaks that may have started.
Replace the Handle
Once the seals have been cleaned or you have acquired new ones, you’ll need to put these into place and then put the disk cylinder back. Once these components are in place, you can then reassemble the handle and turn the water on slowly. If you turn the water on full blast before the ceramic disk is soaked, it could cause this part to crack and another leak to develop.
Fixing a Cartridge Faucet
If you have this type of faucet and need to do repairs, it may be more complicated than expected. These faucets are durable but have a lot of parts to them. The steps are as follows:
Remove the Handle and the Retaining Clip
In some cartridge faucets, a retaining clip is put into place to hold the cartridge in place. If your faucet has this component, you will notice a circular clip. It can be removed with pliers.
Remove the Cartridge and Faucet Spout
This step will require the use of a wrench. Once this has been removed, you will be able to locate the O ring.
Remove the O-Rings
These components won’t come out easily, so you may need to use a knife to cut them to get them out. Once you have done this, you’ll need to replace them with new O rings. Before putting the new ones in, you’ll need to coat them in Vaseline or plumber’s grease and then slide them into place.
Fixing a ball faucet
Out of all the faucet types and knowing how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, this one is the most complicated to repair. It may require a replacement kit and special tools, but you may be able to find these at a retail store or online. Here are the steps to tackling this leak:
Remove the Handle, Cap, and Collar
This will require using a wrench or pliers. At this point, you should also loosen the cam, which will require a special tool that can be found in the repair/replacement kit.
Remove the Seals and Springs
These are located inside the mechanism, so it might require using needle-nose or other thin pliers to accomplish this task.
Replace the O-Rings
To get the old O rings out, you’ll have to cut them. Before putting in the new ones, you’ll need to coat them in plumber’s grease or Vaseline.
Replace the Old Elements
The repair/replacement kit that you get should come with new components, including valve seats, cam washers, and springs. Use these to replace all of the old ones in the leaky faucet.
The Bottom Line
Having a leaky faucet can be annoying and expensive. Listening to it drip in the silence of the night could lead to loss of sleep, and the excessive water could increase your bill.
Taking care of this as soon as possible and knowing how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet will save your sanity and your budget. If you find that after going through all of the steps listed above that your faucet is still leaking, you may need to call a professional or replace it with a new one.
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