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How to Repair a Leaky Faucet Like a Pro

Repairing a leaky faucet is a common household task that many people encounter at some point. While it may seem like a daunting task, with the right tools and knowledge, you can fix a leaky faucet like a pro. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of repairing a leaky faucet, from identifying the type of faucet to troubleshooting common issues and making necessary repairs. By following these instructions, you can save money on plumbing services and ensure that your faucet is functioning properly.

1. Identify the Type of Faucet

The first step in repairing a leaky faucet is to identify the type of faucet you have. There are four main types of faucets: compression faucets, ball faucets, cartridge faucets, and ceramic-disc faucets. Each type has its own unique design and requires different repair techniques. By identifying the type of faucet, you can determine the appropriate repair method and gather the necessary tools.

  • Compression Faucets: These faucets have separate hot and cold handles and are commonly found in older homes. They have washers that press against a valve seat to stop the flow of water.
  • Ball Faucets: Ball faucets have a single handle that controls both the temperature and flow of water. They have a ball-shaped cap above the handle and are commonly found in kitchens.
  • Cartridge Faucets: Cartridge faucets also have a single handle, but they operate with a cartridge instead of a ball. They are known for their smooth and precise control of water flow.
  • Ceramic-Disc Faucets: These faucets have a single handle and use two ceramic discs to control the flow of water. They are known for their durability and long lifespan.
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2. Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you begin repairing your leaky faucet, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools. Having the right tools on hand will make the repair process much smoother and more efficient. Here are some essential tools you will need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
  • Allen wrench set
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Replacement parts (washers, O-rings, cartridges, etc.)
  • Bucket or towel to catch water

By having these tools ready, you can avoid any unnecessary trips to the hardware store and complete the repair in one go.

3. Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you start disassembling your faucet, it’s crucial to turn off the water supply. This will prevent any water from flowing while you work on the faucet and avoid any potential accidents. The location of the water shut-off valve may vary depending on your plumbing system, but it is typically located under the sink. Once you locate the shut-off valve, turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply.

After turning off the water supply, open the faucet to relieve any remaining pressure and drain the water from the pipes. This will make it easier to work on the faucet and minimize the risk of water leakage.

4. Disassemble the Faucet

With the water supply turned off, you can now begin disassembling the faucet. The specific steps will vary depending on the type of faucet you have, but here is a general guide:

  1. Remove the handle: Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to remove the handle. This may involve removing a decorative cap or cover first.
  2. Remove the cartridge or valve: Depending on the type of faucet, you may need to remove a cartridge or valve. This can usually be done by unscrewing it or pulling it out.
  3. Inspect the components: Once you have removed the cartridge or valve, inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Look for worn-out washers, O-rings, or other faulty parts that may be causing the leak.
  4. Replace the damaged parts: If you find any damaged or worn-out parts, replace them with new ones. Make sure to use the correct replacement parts that are compatible with your faucet model.
  5. Reassemble the faucet: Once you have replaced the necessary parts, reassemble the faucet in the reverse order of disassembly. Make sure all the components are properly aligned and tightened.
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By following these steps, you can effectively disassemble and repair your leaky faucet.

5. Test and Check for Leaks

After reassembling the faucet, it’s important to test it and check for any remaining leaks. Here’s how:

  1. Turn on the water supply: Slowly turn on the water supply by turning the shut-off valve counterclockwise. This will allow water to flow back into the faucet.
  2. Check for leaks: Carefully observe the faucet for any signs of leaks. Pay attention to the base of the faucet, the handles, and any connections. If you notice any leaks, tighten the connections or replace any faulty parts.
  3. Test the functionality: Test the functionality of the faucet by turning it on and off, adjusting the temperature, and checking the water flow. Ensure that the faucet is operating smoothly and without any issues.

If you have successfully repaired the leaky faucet, congratulations! You have saved yourself the cost of hiring a plumber and resolved the issue on your own. However, if you are still experiencing leaks or other problems, it may be necessary to seek professional help.


Repairing a leaky faucet is a task that can be accomplished by anyone with the right tools and knowledge. By identifying the type of faucet, gathering the necessary tools, turning off the water supply, disassembling the faucet, and testing for leaks, you can successfully repair your leaky faucet like a pro. Remember to take your time, follow the instructions carefully, and use the appropriate replacement parts. With a little effort and patience, you can save money and ensure that your faucet is in good working condition.

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