How to Fix Your Faucet

From the tools you'll need to how to replace an O ring, a DIY guide to stopping bothersome leaks and drips

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012  |  Updated 3:21 PM EDT
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How to Fix Your Faucet

Tim Graham

A leaky faucet can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water a year.

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This article is sponsored by Michael & Son, the leading full-service plumbing, electrical, HVAC and remodeling company serving the Washington D.C. area for over 30 years. Learn more about Michael & Son at MichaelandSon.com.

We recently showed you how to keep your toilet in top shape. Now it's time to tackle yet another bathroom nuisance: The leaky faucet. The slow, metronome-like drip of a faucet can drive you crazy, and it will also take a bite from your wallet. Leaky faucets can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water each year! Here's how you can fight back against this unassuming foe:

Assemble your tools
Before you get your hands dirty, make sure you've got the proper tools to do the job. You'll need an allen wrench, screwdrivers, large slip joint pliers and a few spare "O" rings. All of these can be found at your local hardware store.

Pre-op
Take the time to prime your patient. First, plug the drain to avoid losing any small parts. Also, shut off the sink's water supply to prevent flooding. As an extra precaution, tape up the teeth of your wrench to avoid scratching the faucet.

If your faucet is two handed
Two handed faucets use compression water stops, which control water flow by applying or relieving pressure on a rubber washer. The most common leak causing culprit is a worn out O ring. First, pry off the decorative handles to access the knob screw. Unscrew and remove this knob, and you'll find the faucet stem. Remove this stem and replace the washer and O ring inside. If your faucet uses a cartridge, follow the same steps. If leaking persists, you may need to replace your cartridge.

If your faucet is one handed
These faucets have washer-less water stops, which control water using a rotating ball or disk. Begin by removing the screw set holding the handle in place. You should see an adjustment ring. Tighten the adjustment ring slowly and carefully with your wrench. Reassemble the handle, then turn the water back on and see if the leak persists.

With a few tools and simple determination, you should be able to stop leaks in their tracks. However, don't dismay if those drips won't quit. Remember that Michael & Son is always here to lend a helping hand. Visit their website for assistance with any of your household concerns at Michaelandson.com.

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