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How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

Before working on your faucet, turn off the water at the shut off valves or the main shut off, close the drain so you won't lose small parts and put a towel in the sink to prevent damage from dropped parts or tools. Wear a helmet if you are really clumsy.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing, maintenance or repairs.

A leaky faucet typically leaks from the spout or the knobs. If your faucet is leaking from the spout, continue reading this article. Otherwise, refer to our diagnostic page for links to the appropriate article.

There are four common operating styles of faucets; compression, cartridge, ceramic disc and ball. If your faucet has two handles, then it is probably a compression type faucet, although it could be cartridge or disc. This articledeals with the compression style faucet only. Refer to our diagnostic page for links to other styles of faucets.

How to Fix a Compression Faucet

A compression faucet has two handles and as you turn the handle it opens a gap between the valve seat and a washer letting water through. As that washer ages it may harden or become worn and will fail to make a tight seal with the valve seat. This allows water to leak through. In some cases the valve seat itself may become damaged or worn and it causes water to leak. Both conditions can usually be easily repaired.

To determine which handle is leaking, alternately turn off the hot and cold water at the supply valve under the sink. When the leaking stops, you know which valve is leaking. However, it may be wise to repair both valves, since they are probably both well worn.

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