How to Fix a Dripping Kitchen Faucet

Faucet leaking can cause damage to your sink. It can also cause an increase in water bills and late nights up listening to the drips. Normally, there is a very simple fix. The washers in the valve stem assembly are coming loose or they have become rotten. The assembly is designed to have the washers shut off the water when the handle is in the "off" position. If these rot or do seal properly, it will result in a leak in the faucet.

  • Rubber-tipped adjustable wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Retaining washer
  • Packing washer
Turn off the main water supply to the home. This is usually located in the garage or around the house. Turn the handle in line with the piping. Turn the faucet on in the house to remove pressure from the lines.

Remove the handle. Pry the cap off, which is on the top and center of the handle, with a flathead screwdriver. Some may be twist off caps. If this is the case, unscrew the cap with a set of rubber-tipped adjustable wrenches. Remove the screw that sits below the cap with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the handle off the valve stem assembly which is underneath the handle.

Remove the nut that sits at the top of the valve stem assembly. If there is a rubber washer inside the nut, pry it out with a flat head screwdriver. Replace with a new washer. If there is not a washer, that means there is packing around the valve stem assembly. Remove the packing which is located where the nut was removed from. Replace the packing with new packing, ensuring not to overlap the packing. Replace the nut back on the valve stem assembly and tighten.

Remove the valve stem assembly from the water pipe. Place the adjustable wrench at the base of the valve stem assembly, and unscrew the assembly in a counterclockwise motion. On the bottom of the assembly is a screw in the center of a washer. Unscrew the screw with a Phillips screwdriver, and pry off the washer with a flathead screwdriver. Replace the washer with the new one. Tighten the screw.

Place the assembly back on to the water pipe, and tighten it. Place the handle back over the valve stem assembly. Tighten the screw that holds the handle in place. Place the cap back on the handle.

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