How to Fix a Leaky Faucet Step-by-Step

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet Step-by-Step

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The main purpose for the handle is to turn the wat

The main purpose for the handle is to turn the water off and on while also controlling the water’s temperature. It does this by opening and closing the valve. Most modern faucets only have one handle. It’s usually found on top of the spout, on either side of it, on the front of the body, or even installed beside it if you have additional sink holes. The single handle can be turned in several cylindrical directions to control water temperature, flow, and pressure.

Two handle faucets require additional installation holes, as the name suggests. Water can be turned off and on by either handle, but the water temperature is controlled by one or the other.



In with the new

There are a variety of configurations for faucets. Between the number of handles, spray nozzle types and even spacing of required holes, there are a lot of ways to customize. Before you buy a new faucet, consider your arrangement, specifically the current number and location of holes in your counter or sink. Sinks and countertops can be modified accordingly, but you’ll need to do a little research prior to purchasing your new faucet. 

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You might need a basin wrench or a specific socket wrench that came with your faucet in order to turn the retaining nuts.

Chance Lane/CNET

Start by putting the bracket that fits between the counter/sink and faucet in place. These will often have a foam underlay that will form a seal to help prevent water from seeping underneath the faucet assembly. Some faucets may differ, but the faucet I installed required minimal assembly prior to installation. 

Run the supply lines of the faucet assembly, followed by the threaded rods of the faucet, through the holes in your countertop or sink. Working underneath in the most comfortable position you can find (good luck), tighten the retaining nut with a wrench. 

If no socket wrench was provided with the faucet, and the space is tight enough to require a basin wrench, be extra-careful not to damage the faucet’s water supply lines. It depends on the configuration of your particular faucet, but if the water lines are in the way of the retaining nut It could be beneficial to wrap them with nylon tape or some other protective material before doing this. Damaging water lines could cause a leak, and all of the mayhem that comes with that. You don’t want that.

Be sure to take care when connecting your faucet

Be sure to take care when connecting your faucet to the water supply lines — doing the job right can help you prevent leaks later on.

Chance Lane/CNET

Ceramic Disc Faucets 101

Ceramic disc valves are simply another type of cartridge. Discs inside the cartridge control the water flow. This type of valve is sturdy and reliable and rarely needs fixing. In fact, many manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee on the cartridge. If yours is damaged, check with the manufacturer to see if it’s covered by a warranty.

Leaks can result from faulty rubber seals or a cracked disc inside the cartridge. Since it’s difficult to spot a cracked disc, and disc cartridge replacements are very expensive, it’s best to start by replacing the seals and reassembling the faucet. Then if the faucet still leaks, remove the disc cartridge and take it to the store to order a replacement.

Early versions of ceramic disc faucets may be more fragile and can crack if subjected to a blast of pressurized air. That’s why it’s important to leave the faucet open as you turn the water back on. This allows air trapped in the lines to escape. When the water runs smoothly, it’s safe to turn the faucet off. Manufacturers have improved the strength of ceramic discs on newer faucets to withstand air blasts, as well as abrasive debris that may get dislodged from the inside of pipes.


The body is where the hot and cold water is mixed before it gets to the spout. Most one- and two-handle faucet designs combine the hot and cold water in a single casting that also houses the cartridge valves. If you have a widespread body, your faucet will require three holes in order to install. The hot and cold water is mixed together in a separate pipe that’s hidden beneath the counter.


Rotary Ball Faucet Anatomy

  • The diagram below shows the parts and assembly of a rotary ball faucet.
    • Note: We recommend that you buy a repair kit that includes the ball, springs, seats and O-rings for the spout, as well as a small repair tool. With this kit, you’ll be prepared for almost any repair.


Note the way the circular rubber seals and springs sit inside the faucet. Remove the circular rubber seals and the springs and replace them. Reassemble the faucet.


Loosen the screws or nuts that hold the cartridge in place. Remove the cartridge from the base by grasping it and pulling straight upward. Use a pliers if it is difficult to pull.

Removing a Bottom-Mount Faucet

A bottom-mount faucet uses a design in which the bulk of the faucet body is found below the sink. Here, you'll need to remove the handles and spout, then loosen and remove the mounting nuts holding the faucet from above. When these mounting nuts are removed, the faucet body can be dropped down and removed from below the sink.

  1. Ensure the Water Is Shut Off

    Double-check that the water is completely off. Place a bucket under the supply tube connections to catch any water that may spill as you work.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Remove Handles and Spout

    Working from above, remove the valve handles and spout from the faucet. Look for a hidden set screw that holds the handle or handles in place. The set screw for the spout is sometimes found under an escutcheon ring that can be lifted to expose the screw.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Unscrew Mounting Nuts

    With the handles and escutcheon out of the way, you should see the mounting nuts that hold the faucet body in place. There may be nuts at both handle locations, as well as at the spout. Use channel-type pliers to remove the mounting nuts. Do the same for the spout mounting nut, if there is one.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Remove Faucet Body

    Remove the faucet body from under the sink. Sometimes the faucet will fall on its own once the mounting nuts are removed; other times, you will need to tug on it gently to free it. It's a good idea to place a thick towel beneath the faucet so that it doesn't damage your cabinet or floor if the faucet assembly drops.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

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