Where's the Leak?
- The handle of a faucet is attached to a valve stem, with a washer at the bottom. The stem is held in the faucet with a bonnet nut that allows the stem to move up and down as the handle is turned. This releases the water to rush through the spigot opening. Most leaks occur in the valve stem, with the washer simply worn out. Replacing the washer will stop the leak in most instances. If repaired when a leak first begins, this job is a quick, easy and cheap repair.
- Shut off the water supply before beginning any plumbing project. Remove the plastic cap on the end of the faucet handle. Using a flat blade screwdriver, pry up a side until the cap pops off. Underneath is a screw. This screw holds the valve stem in place. Unscrew it turning counterclockwise. Once the screw is free, pry the handle loose of soap scum debris until it can be removed. Remove the valve stem from the faucet body using a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench. Turn counterclockwise to remove. After the stem has been freed, remove the washer from the bottom. Take the washer to a hardware store to purchase a new one. This will prevent purchasing an incorrect size.
- Attach the replacement washer to the stem with a washer screw. Tighten the screw, being careful not to overtighten, as this will present a new leak. Coat the stem with heatproof grease to aid in lubrication of the stem and faucet handle. Remove the old packing from around the bonnet nut and install new packing. Replace the stem, bonnet nut and handle, reversing the directions for removing it.