DIY: Bathroom Faucet Leak

If water is dripping from your faucet, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to call a plumber. Most faucet leaks can be diagnosed fairly easily and just as easily fixed. Leaks in compression-type faucets are often caused by a worn-out washer, while those in cartridge or ball-valve types may require replacement of a cartridge or ball-valve assembly. In all cases, getting to the root of the problem requires nothing more removing and replacing a few nuts.

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench
  • Channel locks
  • Thread lubricant
Turn off the angle stops supplying water to the faucet. They are underneath the sink.

Remove the screw holding the handle onto the faucet stem. This may require a Phillips screwdriver or an Allen wrench. Lift off the handle.

Unscrew the nut holding the valve assembly, using channel locks. If the nut is corroded and won't turn, spray on some thread lubricant and wait for five minutes before trying again.

Lift out the valve assembly and examine it.

Locate the washer on the bottom of the compression stems. If it is worn, unscrew the holding screw, remove it, insert a new one and replace the screw.

Examine the condition of the O-ring on cartridge faucets and replace if necessary. Replace the entire cartridge if it appears to be defective.

Evaluate the condition of the ball valves to ensure that they are not chipped and are seated properly. Check the condition of the washer around the valve seat. Replace worn, chipped or broken valves, valve seats or washers.

Replace the nut holding the mechanism in place, using channel locks, once you have made the necessary repairs. Reattach the handle and tighten the nut that holds it in place.

Tips and Warnings

  • Leaks that originate underneath the cabinet can usually be corrected by tightening the supply line connections.

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