How to Repair a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

A single-lever leaky kitchen faucet is easy to repair. You don’t have to suffer the drip and you don’t have to call the handyman. Fixing a leaky faucet is an easy DIY job.

Before you begin, ensure that you have the right replacement parts ready. The three common types of single-lever faucets are rotary ball, cartridge, and ceramic disc. You need an Allen wrench to loosen the handle. Slip joint pliers and screwdrivers are other tools that you need.

First, you need to find out where the leak is originating from. Is it the base of the spout or the end of the spout?

Turn off the water supply. This could mean shutting off the valve at the base of the kitchen sink or turning off the mains.

Cover the sink with a straining mesh or cloth rags to prevent small parts from going down the drain. It is important to remember the position and placement of the parts as you remove them. Keep a diagrammatic representation handy or click photos after each step.

Leaks can happen when gaskets inside valves get damaged. This may happen due to mineral deposits or wear and tear. You can clean the gasket with a fine cloth. Minerals can also clog the holes of the faucet. You can poke the holes clean with a pin or a penknife. Then, open the shut off valve a little to wash away the loosened debris. Then, shut the valve, and reassemble the faucet with the replacement parts. Reopen the shutoff valves slowly. If the flow is slower than what you’re used to then the fault may be with the aerator. Unscrew it, clean it, and fit it back again.

To find replacements, the safe thing to do is to take the worn parts to the store, and get correct replacements. Rotary ball faucets are easier to repair because hardware stores stock repair kits for this type of single lever faucet. For disc type faucets, it will help you in getting the right replacement cartridge if you know the model number of the faucet.

As mentioned above, rotary ball faucets are the easiest to repair. If the leak is at the base of the handle, you can repair it by tightening the adjusting ring after removing the handle. If the faucet is leaking from the end of the spout, then replace the worn seats and springs with the ones from the replacement kits.

For ceramic disc valve faucets, it is possible that the cartridge used is under warranty. You may want to check with the manufacturer if a replacement is available. This way you’re assured of an exact replacement. Usually, it is the faulty rubber seals inside the cartridge that lead to leaks. Or, it may be that the disc inside has cracked. Ideally, you should replace the seal and see if it solves the issue. If not, then you’re in for a more expensive repair because the disc cartridge can cost a fair amount.

Keep track of the steps involved, and refer to the images and diagrams, as stated earlier. A repair, once done, should provide you with sufficient training and confidence to tackle the issue should it arise ever again.

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