There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of different kitchen faucet makes and models that available today. This can be fun and exciting when your shopping for a faucet but can be equally overwhelming and confusing if you need to repair one.
Mechanically speaking, there are basically two types of kitchen sink faucets:
- Washer type faucets (also called compression)
- Washer-less faucets
Today, you are going to learn about how to repair a leaking kitchen faucet that has a washer. Washer type faucets come with a rubber washer that seals against a valve seat. When the rubber washer hardens, or wears out, or the seat itself wears down, this can often cause the faucet to leak. You can tighten the faucet which may slow down or even stop the leakage, but it can also cause internal damage that may result in having to buy a new kitchen sink faucet.
Fix Your Dripping Faucet In Six Simple Steps
- Shut Off Your Water Supply
- Take Your Kitchen Sink Faucet Apart
- Examine Kitchen Faucet Parts
- Replace Worn Out Faucet Parts If Needed
- Re-face Washer Seat If Needed
- Reinstall kitchen Faucet
To repair your leaky faucet, the first step is to shut off your water supply. First, look to see if there is a shut off valve under the fixture, if not there, then you can always turn off the hot water supply right at your water heater.
Okay, once your water supply is turned off, you will want to take your kitchen sink faucet apart. This is done by removing the handles. First loosen the screws with a Phillips screwdriver. The screw is usually underneath an ornamental cap. You will need to first get the cap off and you can do this by either screwing it off or gently prying at it with a butter knife. If necessary, you can use pliers to take off the faucet caps…if you use this method, you can protect them with electrical tape or even cloth so you won't harm the finish.
When you lift up the handle, you will be able to unscrew the packing nut and this will expose the rest of the kitchen faucet. You will want to make sure you remove the faucet stem by rotating it in the “on” direction, or you will risk stripping the threads.
Okay now that you have your faucet torn apart, it is time to examine your kitchen faucet parts. A compression kitchen faucet (washer-type) has the falling parts:
- Handle screw
- Stem nut
- Packing nut
- Packing nut
- Seat washer
- Washer screw
- Valve Seat
- Faucet Body
Start by examining the stem to make sure that the threads are not badly worn our or eroded. (you may need to replace the stem if the threads are worn out)
Sometimes, the cause of a leaking faucet, can be the washer. You will find the washer on the lower end of the stem. It is usually held in place by a brass screw. If the washer is completely flattened or has an indentation, it will need to be replaced.
The washer seat is the next piece to examine. It is hard to tell if it is worn out by simply looking at it. It is a good idea to reface the washer seat while your kitchen faucet is torn apart. This is done with a seat dressing tool. Sometimes, the leaking problem results from a damaged washer seat, if this is the case, you will go through washers more often. Sometimes a washer seat will become un-threaded. It may be possible to replace the washer seat if your finding this is the cause.
To find out if your have the type of washer/valve seat that can be replaced, take a look at the hole to see if it is square or hexagonal or a hole through the center with a slotted for a screwdriver. If the washer seat only has a round hole in the center and has no slots, then you won't be able to replace it.
If you need to replace the washer seat in order to keep the faucet from leaking after replacing other parts…and you don't have the type that can be replaced, then it may be time to purchase a new kitchen faucet.
After your done following the steps above, reinstall your faucet in the reverse order that you took it apart. Congratulations, you now know how to repair a leaking, washer type kitchen faucet. This will save you hundreds of dollars that may have been spent hiring a plumber.