Shutting off the Water

No matter what type of faucet you have, you’ll need to start by shutting off the water to the faucet. Do this by turning off the two shutoff valves located beneath the sink, or by shutting off the main water supply valve to the house. The shutoff valves are closed when you turn the handles clockwise as far as they will go.

Tip

In some cases, when turning the valves off under the sink they may leak from the handle. In most cases, there is a packing nut behind the valve's knob that you can make a 1/4-turn tighter. If you tighten this nut too much you will not be able to turn the handle, so always tighten in small increments.

Check to make sure that the water is turned off by turning on the faucet valves. This also allows the faucet to drain any water that is still in the fixture and also releases any pressure built up in the line.

It is not uncommon for shutoff valves to grow old and stop functioning correctly. If you find that water continues to dribble even after closing the shutoff valves, then you'll need to shut off the main water supply valve to continue this repair. It also means you will need to replace the fixture shutoff valves as part of your faucet replacement project.

How Do You Fix a Dripping Faucet?

Before you start, shut off the water under the sink. Cover the drain with a rag to catch dropped parts, and establish a spot nearby to lay out the parts in the order of their removal. Tape the jaws of your wrench with a layer of duct tape to avoid scratching the fixture, and have some distilled white vinegar and a soft scouring pad ready for removing any mineral deposits found on the parts.

Video

Ball-type Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet Ball-Type:

This type of faucet contains a lot of parts, which often makes it difficult to find the cause of the leak. You can avoid the aggravation by buying a replacement kit and putting in all new parts.

  1. Use a pocketknife to pry off the small index cover from the side of the faucet and reveal the hex-head screw.
  2. Loosen the screw with a hex-key wrench and pull off the faucet handle.
  3. Use adjustable pliers to remove the cap and collar.
  4. Using the special tool included in the faucet-repair kit, loosen the faucet cam and lift it out, along with the cam washer and the rotating ball.
  5. Reach into the faucet body with needle-nose pliers and remove the rubber seats and springs.
  6. Slip a new spring and rubber seat onto the tip of a pencil and lower it down into the faucet.
  7. Repeat to install the second seat and spring.
  8. Reinstall the stainless-steel ball, making sure to align its keyway with the corresponding tab inside the faucet body.
  9. On top of the stainless-steel ball, install a new rubber gasket and cam cap.
  10. Align the keyway on the cap with the corresponding slot.
  11. Hand-tighten the top cap assembly back onto the faucet.
  12. Use a spanner wrench to tighten the nut to provide the proper tension against the stainless-steel ball.

Looking for help with repairs around your home? A home warranty may help. Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Reviews Team:

Body

The body is where the hot and cold water is mixed before it gets to the spout. Most one- and two-handle faucet designs combine the hot and cold water in a single casting that also houses the cartridge valves. If you have a widespread body, your faucet will require three holes in order to install. The hot and cold water is mixed together in a separate pipe that’s hidden beneath the counter.

 

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Loosen the screws or nuts that hold the cartridge in place. Remove the cartridge from the base by grasping it and pulling straight upward. Use a pliers if it is difficult to pull.

Handle

The main purpose for the handle is to turn the wat

The main purpose for the handle is to turn the water off and on while also controlling the water’s temperature. It does this by opening and closing the valve. Most modern faucets only have one handle. It’s usually found on top of the spout, on either side of it, on the front of the body, or even installed beside it if you have additional sink holes. The single handle can be turned in several cylindrical directions to control water temperature, flow, and pressure.

Two handle faucets require additional installation holes, as the name suggests. Water can be turned off and on by either handle, but the water temperature is controlled by one or the other.

 

Rotary Ball Faucet Anatomy

  • The diagram below shows the parts and assembly of a rotary ball faucet.
    • Note: We recommend that you buy a repair kit that includes the ball, springs, seats and O-rings for the spout, as well as a small repair tool. With this kit, you’ll be prepared for almost any repair.

4

Note the way the circular rubber seals and springs sit inside the faucet. Remove the circular rubber seals and the springs and replace them. Reassemble the faucet.

Seal the deal with strong connections

Now, it’s time to connect the faucet’s water supply lines to the shut-off valve beneath the sink. With mine, the water lines were attached to the new faucet, but this isn’t always the case. If you need to supply the water lines, it’s recommended to change out hoses even if the ones you already have are compatible. If these hoses wear out and leak, you could have some trouble on your hands. 

You’ll want to apply a thin wrap of Teflon thread tape in a clockwise direction (the same direction you will turn the nut to tighten) around the threaded male connections to lubricate the threads, which allows for a better seal. Finger-tighten the threaded nut valve connections — then, while holding the valve assembly with a pair of slotted pliers, finish tightening the connection with an adjustable wrench. 

Slowly turn your water supply back on while checking for leaks. If the water flows normally and everything down below stays dry, then you’re all set. 



Once the new faucet is in, remove the aerator fr

Once the new faucet is in, remove the aerator from the spray nozzle and run the water for a minute or so to clear your plumbing of any debris.

Chance Lane/CNET

Removing a Bottom-Mount Faucet

A bottom-mount faucet uses a design in which the bulk of the faucet body is found below the sink. Here, you'll need to remove the handles and spout, then loosen and remove the mounting nuts holding the faucet from above. When these mounting nuts are removed, the faucet body can be dropped down and removed from below the sink.

  1. Ensure the Water Is Shut Off

    Double-check that the water is completely off. Place a bucket under the supply tube connections to catch any water that may spill as you work.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Remove Handles and Spout

    Working from above, remove the valve handles and spout from the faucet. Look for a hidden set screw that holds the handle or handles in place. The set screw for the spout is sometimes found under an escutcheon ring that can be lifted to expose the screw.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Unscrew Mounting Nuts

    With the handles and escutcheon out of the way, you should see the mounting nuts that hold the faucet body in place. There may be nuts at both handle locations, as well as at the spout. Use channel-type pliers to remove the mounting nuts. Do the same for the spout mounting nut, if there is one.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Remove Faucet Body

    Remove the faucet body from under the sink. Sometimes the faucet will fall on its own once the mounting nuts are removed; other times, you will need to tug on it gently to free it. It's a good idea to place a thick towel beneath the faucet so that it doesn't damage your cabinet or floor if the faucet assembly drops.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Leaky Spout Basics

Leaks around the base of the spout are caused by worn O-rings located under the spout. All that’s usually required to access these O-rings for replacement is to wiggle and pull up on the spout to remove it.

Depending on the dripping faucet, you’ll also have to remove the handle and other parts to access the spout. Be persistent. The spout may be a little stubborn. Spout O-ring kits are available for many faucets, or you can take the old O-rings to the hardware store or plumbing supply store and match them up with new ones. Remember to pick up a small toothpaste-type tube of plumber’s grease while you’re there.

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