A dripping faucet is just one of the many leaks that can occur in a home. Whether it’s happening in your bathroom or your kitchen, a leaky faucet should not go unchecked. Just a single drip every second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year. So, if your two-handle faucet is leaking, where here to help!
Our step-by-step guide will walk you through how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles, so that you can stop wasting water and money on your water bill.
1. Gather the necessary tools.
Before you begin the repair, you want to make sure that you have all the necessary tools. At the very least, you’ll need either a Philips or flat head screwdriver, an adjustable crescent wrench, and a pack of washers. However, here are some other materials you may also want to have on hand for this repair:
- A towel
- Masking tape
- ½ inch plumber’s tape – like Teflon tape
- Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
2. Locate the leak.
Once you have all the tools you need, start by finding the leak. Examine the water that’s dripping from your faucet to determine whether it’s coming from one of the handles or the faucet itself. Then, feel the temperature of the water that’s dripping to find out which side the leak is coming from.
3. Protect your sink.
During the repair process, it’s possible that you may damage components of the sink. To protect your sink while you work, use masking tape to cover your faucet – making sure to avoid the spout. Then, place a toil inside of the sink to protect it from any dropped tools and prevent small parts from escaping down the drain. Finally, you can wrap the jaws of your wrench with masking tape to protect the finish of your faucet.
4. Remove the faucet handle.
Now is the time that you can start taking the faucet apart to perform the repair. If you cannot find the handle’s screw, your faucet may have a decorative cap that is concealing it. For faucets with turning knobs, the cap and screw are located on the top. Whereas, faucet handles that are levers you lift, you’ll find them on the underside.
To remove the decorative cap, carefully use your flat head screwdriver as a lever to pry it free. Then, put the cap aside and unscrew the screw that is holding the handle in place. Once unscrewed, you should be able to easily remove the handle from the faucet.
Quick Tip: If the presence of rust and corrosion make the handle difficult to remove, don’t bang on it. It’s very easy to cause damage to the internal components of the faucet.
5. Pull out the faucet stem.
The handle that you just removed was attached to a stem with a six-sided nut. Use your wrench to loosen this nut. If you’re unsure which direction will unscrew the nut, apply some torque and try both directions. When it’s loose enough, the nut should screw off easily by hand. Then, lift the stem out of the handle.
6. Repair the leak.
At this point, you can proceed with fixing the leak. However, the procedure for repairing the leak will depend on where it is:
- Faucet: If the leak is in the faucet itself, look for a screw at the base of the faucet stem that secures a rubber washer. Loosen the screw and remove the rubber washer. Then, replace both the rubber washer and the screw with ones of the same size.
- Handle: For leaks that are coming from one (or both) of the handles, apply plumber’s tape around the threads where you previously removed the six-sided nut. Then, screw the nut back in. If this doesn’t fix the leak, remove the nut again and swap out the nylon washer under it.
- Stem: If the leak is coming from the stem, locate the O-ring underneath the nylon washer. Using your fingers, squeeze the O-ring so you can peel it free. Replace the O-ring with one that is the same size, after applying some petroleum jelly to it as lubricant.
7. Reassemble & test.
With the leak repaired, all that’s left is to put all the components of the faucet back together in the reverse order in which they were removed. Finish up by testing the faucet to ensure that the leak is gone!
Consult a Professional Plumber!
If you’ve added plumber’s tape, and replaced washers and O-rings to no avail, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. In this case, consider seeking the help of a professional plumber. Fortunately, the experts at Anytime Plumbing are here to help! We are available 24/7 for all your plumbing needs.
Contact us today at (831) 431-6593 to receive an estimate and schedule your appointment to finally fix that stubborn leaky faucet!