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Fixing Leaky Faucets – Follow These 8 Easy Steps

When fixing leaky faucets, you need to decide if this is something you are qualified to do, or want to do, or do you just want to have a plumber fix things for you?

Unless you’re dealing with a very old house, fixing leaky faucets can be quite simple. When dealing with older homes, finding the replacement parts you need could be an issue.

This can be a do-it-yourself job that requires only a little know-how, a little time and less than a dollar.


Fixing Leaky Faucets – Follow These Steps

Sink FaucetNote: If you have dual handles (one for hot, one for cold) make sure to change the washers in both faucet handles. If one isn’t leaking now, Murphy’s Law means a new drip is probably in your future.

1. Turn off the water. Look below the sink and you’ll probably see two handles attached to a valve with small pipes or hoses leading to each faucet. Turn the handles clockwise to shut off the water to the fixture. Sometimes there aren’t shut-off valves under the sink. In that case, shut off the water to the house. In many areas, the main shut-off valve is below a hose bib where the water line enters the house. Again, turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water.

2. Turn the handles of the sink to the full on position to make sure the water is off. When you’re sure the water is off, turn the handle clockwise halfway toward the closed position.

3. Remove the handle. Handles are mounted to the stem with a screw. Often screws are hidden under a plastic or metal cover. If so, gently pry off the cover with a thin blade (a utility knife works well), remove the screw and lift off the handle.

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4. The faucet stem is secured to the basin with a locknut and perhaps a washer. Replace the handle on the stem and hold it steady while turning the nut counterclockwise to unscrew the locknut from the stem. Remove the handle and the locknut.

5. Replace the handle but not the screw. Remove the stem from the faucet body by turning the handle counterclockwise. Keep turning until the stem can be lifted out of the faucet body. Remove the stem. If the stem threads are bound up, a squirt or two of WD-40 or Liquid Wrench will loosen them.

6. At the bottom of the stem is a hard rubber washer attached by a small screw. It may be flat or it may be cone-shaped. Unscrew the washer. Use a small towel or stopper to cover up the drain. We’ve skipped this step and have wasted a half hour fishing the screw out of the P-trap. It’s likely that the stem has another rubber O-ring to prevent water from oozing up and out of the stem. Rubber washers come in many sizes, so it’s best to take the washers to your local hardware store and make sure you get the right matches.

7. With the correct washers in hand, replace the old, worn-out ones and reassemble the unit. Replace the rubber O-ring, screw in the new faucet washer, screw the stem into the body, install the locknut and reinstall the escutcheon and handle.

8. Finally, turn the water back on and test the faucets. Be gentle; when the water first comes back on, it will spit and gurgle. Nothing is wrong, but if the faucet is full-on open you’ll get a spray.

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If you’d like to watch all of these steps for fixing leaky faucets, we found this short video on YouTube that walks through these steps for you…

If you still feel like fixing leaky faucets is a job best left to a professional, give us a call, 843-497-9867 or contact us via email. We’ll be happy to assist you in fixing leaky faucets you may have anywhere in the Myrtle Beach area.

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