These faucets can leak in three different places:
- Internally at the valve seat
You'll see water dripping from the spout. This means the rubber washer
is worn or damaged. To replace the washer, remove the decorative cap
from the handle. Remove the retaining screw and pull off the handle.
Remove the decorative cover, called an escutcheon, if there is one.
Unscrew the packing nut counterclockwise. Unscrew the valve stem and
remove it. Remove the screw that holds the rubber washer in place.
Because these washers come in many shapes and sizes, you'll want to take
the old one to the hardware store and buy an exact replacement. Be sure
to buy two washers so you'll have one for the other valve. Replace the
washer and reassemble the faucet.
- Around the handle
If you see water coming from below the handle, the packing nut is
leaking. Older faucets have a string-like graphite packing material
wrapped around the stem. Newer faucets use an O-ring. First try
tightening the packing nut clockwise... about one-half turn. If this
doesn't stop the leak, remove the packing nut and replace the packing or
O-ring; then reassemble the faucet. If the valve is using the graphite packing material, it might be a clue that you should shop for a new faucet.
- Between a pivoting spout and the body
The spout might be held in place with a packing nut, similar to the
faucet stem, or it might have a nut at the top of the spout. In either
case, remove the spout and replace the packing material or the O-ring
seal. Then reassemble the faucet.
Single lever faucets
also are known as "washerless" faucets. They are easier to repair than
compression faucets after you determine what type of faucet you have.
There are three types of washerless faucets: ball, ceramic disk and
Leaks are evident in two places... dripping from the
spout and seeping from around the spout where it joins the body of the
Leaks from the spout indicate that the ball, disk or
cartridge is leaking. To repair, turn off the water to the faucet, then
remove the handle. The handles on ball-type faucets are held in place
with a setscrew that requires an Allen wrench
to loosen. Ceramic disk and cartridge-type handles usually are held in place by a screw hidden beneath a cap.
On ball and ceramic disk-type faucets, remove the ball or disk and
replace the seals. You can buy replacement kits for these faucets at the
hardware store or home center.
On cartridge-type faucets,
remove the spout and pull out the retainer clip that holds the cartridge
in place. To remove the cartridge, pull on the cartridge stem with a
twisting motion. If it resists, install the handle so you can a better
grip on the cartridge to pull it out. Take the cartridge to the hardware
store or home center and purchase an exact replacement kit.
Reassemble the faucet according to directions.
Leaks at the spout-to-body joint indicate an O-ring failure.
Disassemble the faucet as described above. Remove the spout sleeve and
replace the O-rings. It's a good idea to replace these seals if you have
the faucet disassembled for repair of the ball, disk or cartridge.