Fix That Leaky Faucet

Fix That Leaky Faucet

The drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet is irritating, wasteful and costly.

According to the USGS Water Science School, one faucet dripping at a rate of one drip every three seconds will waste 2600 litres of water a year.

Fixing a leaky faucet is a task that can easily be accomplished by a homeowner with basic tools and little plumbing experience.

This post will tell you how to do fix it:

1. First, close the water supply to the faucet by turning the valve below the sink or basin to the off position. Turn clockwise if a tap type shut off, or as indicated if it is a lever type. Put the plug in the drain to prevent the screws falling into the drain.

2. Carefully remove the decorative cover or insert from the top of the handle to expose the retaining screw using a flat head screwdriver.

3. Remove the screw and place it where it will not get lost.

4. Remove thehandle – it may need to be gently pried up with a screwdriver.

5. Using an adjustable wrench carefully unscrew the insert, some faucets have a cap over the insert which must be unscrewed frirst.

6. Check the insert for damage. If it is damaged, then get a replacement from a hardware store

7. There are several types of inserts or cartridges, some have compression washers at the bottom, some have O rings to seal the insert. The washer that stops the water flow, will be at the bottom of the insert. It may be screwed onto a brass or plastic backing plate.

8. Take the washer and if unsure, the complete insert to a hardware store to ensure that a correct replacement washer is purchased.

9.Reassemble the faucet, being careful not to overtighten the insert and the retaining screw.

10.Slowly open the shutoff valve, check for leaks with the faucet closed, then slowly open and close it to check that it is worlking correctly.

Here is a link to a video on changing the washer on a leaky faucet.


Taking a few minutes to replace a leaky faucet washer can save thousands of litres of water and avoid having to call out a plumber at a cost of $40 to $100.