Inside: If you’ve recently had a run-in with a leaky kitchen faucet, you know how annoying that constant drip can be. Learn how you can fix a leaky kitchen faucet or any place in the house without having to call a plumber.
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and you decided to sleep in. As you awake you can feel the sun’s rays willowing through the blinds, the birds chirping in the distances, and the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Your senses come alive as you lay in bed with your head still nestled comfortably on your feather-down pillow. Life can’t get any better than this.
In a few mere seconds, your peaceful morning sympathy is jarred when you hear the sound of a drip in the distance.
It’s at that moment the tranquility of the morning comes to a speedy halt and you now catapult from the confines of your bed to follow the sound of the drip that doesn’t seem to stop.
As you walk into the kitchen you become face to face with a single drip clinging to life against the facet before it takes its suicidal leap from the aerator to the base of the sink.
It’s as if that one lonely jumper has started a frenzy with more followers than that of a cult leader.
You may not need to call a plumber to fix a leaky faucet in the kitchen
There was a time many many years ago before the internet and smartphones were born, knowledge of any kind was produced in a series of books called, an Encyclopedia.
The unfortunate thing about an Encyclopedia was the moment it was published it became outdated. For some, the thought of buying a set of Encylopedia’s boarded or being considered wealthy enough to afford such an expensive purchase.
I gasp when I call the 70’s the olden days, but if you weren’t mechanically knowledgeable or inclined, the only way you could fix a leaky faucet was by calling a plumber. My dad couldn’t do jack-squat except pick up the phone and call the plumber to fix everything my brother and I apparently busted.
Plumbers are extremely helpful and there are times when you must call them, but when it comes to a dripping faucet, 9-out -of-10 times, you can fix it yourself with just a few tools and a little know-how.
Causes of a leaky faucet
Just like a person, as a faucet begins to age the inner components start to deteriorate. Corrosion, mineral deposits, aerator blockage, twisted, cracked, or torn water pipes can cause your faucet to leak.
A new faucet can leak as well if it was produced with defective parts like o-rings, gaskets, and washers.
Three of the main reasons for a leaky faucet in the kitchen are either a washer problem, loose nuts, or a faulty cartridge.
A washer is a circular flat or thick piece of rubber, nylon, or another type of material that provides a seal to keep your faucet from leaking.
Typically, most faucet leaks are caused in part by worn washers, those that were installed poorly, or whoever installed the faucet used the wrong size washers.
When a worn washer is a culprit, most times you’ll find the water drips or funs out to the handles, or a slow leak will be coming from the faucet.
This is how to fix a leaking faucet washer
A nut is a circular piece of hardware that has circular ridges on the inside and flat grooves on the outside. The outside grooves are there to allow a wrench to hold on without slipping.
You’ll know a bad nut is an issue with your leaky faucet if you find the water is leaking around the base of the handle. Now, this can mean your connection is loose and the nut just needs a little tightening.
Most of the newer faucets have nuts inside the faucet handle, but for older models, you’ll be able to tighten the nut from the outside. If you have a newer model faucet, you can just pull the handle off to reveal the hardware from inside the faucet.
Each faucet handle has its own cartridge. A cartridge is a valve that turns with the handle to control the flow of water into the spout of the faucet.
If water is dripping from the spout, your faucet cartridge will need to be changed out.
Every manufacturer uses a different size of washers and nuts, so before tackling your repair, you’ll want to reference the manufacturer’s installation guide to find the exact specifications.
You may also want to contact the manufacturer of your faucet, as they may have specific sizes and hardware components that you may need to fix your leaking faucet.
A good example of this would be Moen. They offer a free faucet repair kit which includes a cartridge, washer, bolt, and nuts. All they need is the model number of your faucet and they’ll send out your replacement parts immediately at no cost to you. They even pay postage.
Items needed to fix a leaky faucet in the kitchen
- Washer (that is the same size and thickness as the one you’ll be removing)
Step 1: Turn off the main water valve to the sink. The valve should be directly under the sink. Before attempting to fix the faucet, turn both the cold and hot water on until all the water that remains in the pipes has been expelled. Once no more water comes out, you can begin.
Step 2: Cover the drain with either a drain cover, rag, or cup. You’ll want to do this to catch any part that may fall down the drain.
Step 3: Remove the faucet handle. Depending on the type of faucet, you may have to either pry it off with your hands or a flat-head screwdriver.
Step 4: Loosen the nut by turning it counterclockwise. The nut should be located below or indie the faucet handles.
Step 5: Hold the valve unit in your hand, you’ll want to find the old washer. If you don’t have a replacement washer already, take the washer you removed to your local hardware store and purchase one that’s comparable in size if you’re unable to get a washer that’s made specifically for your brand of faucet.
Step 6: Replace the old washer with the new one, making sure it fits securely. Fasten with a screw.
Step 7: Remove the cartridge or stem from the faucet. Check to see if the stem seat is rough or grooved. You’ll need to replace the new valve seat. If this is the case you’ll want to make sure you replace it with a valve seat that is as close to an exact match to the one you just removed. It needs to match in diameter, height, and threads.
Step 8: Place the valve unit back into the faucet.
Step 9: Tighten the nut and turn the water back on. At this point, you’ll want to test for leaks.
You did it! You just fixed your leaky faucet.
If for some reason the faucet continues to leak, make sure you use the correct size washer. If that isn’t the culprit, your other options would be to either call the plumber or buy a new faucet.
Not that I’m knocking plumbers, but it’s way cheaper to buy and install a new faucet than it is to pay a plumber.
This is the best way how to stop a kitchen faucet from leaking
The best way to prevent your faucet from dripping is by routinely monitoring your faucet during every season change.
Have you been face-to-face with a leaky faucet in the kitchen? If so, how did you fix it? Share with a comment.