How to fix a leaky faucet

Leaky faucet

Stop
the leak!

Drip, drip, drip goes your faucet. If this is driving you nuts (it's definitely wasting water) and you're ready to stop the madness, read on to discover how to fix a leaky faucet.

Leaky faucets aren't just annoying, they can be wasteful, too. Consider that, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, one leaky faucet with three drips per minute produces 4,320 drips per day, or about one liter of water each day. That's a lot of water!

Consider a typically simple solution to solving your extra flow: Fix a leaky faucet yourself. If you have the right tools and the willingness to attempt this on your own, the following instructions should help. If, however, you think your troubles might be more the size of Niagara Falls, contact a reputable plumber for assistance instead.

How to fix a leaky faucet

What you'll need: Replacement washers and O rings, flathead screwdriver, adjustable wrench

Read through these steps before starting your fix, just to get the lay of the land. This may not be the simple fix you need, but it's an easy way to give it a first pass.

1

Turn off the sink's water supply

That might sound like a given, but many of us (especially if we're new to DIY repair) might forget this step. First pull the stopper to your sink, and then make your way under your sink, where you'll find two handles attached to a valve with pipes or hoses that lead to the faucets. Turn them off.

2

Remove the sink handles by first unscrewing the securing screw

Note that it might be covered with a plastic or rubber cover. Use a flathead screwdriver to pop it off. Under each handle, look for the screw or ring that mounts the handle in place and remove each.

3

Replace the O ring and washer

You'll likely find a metal nut that holds the stem of the faucet. Use the wrench to remove the nut, and then the stem. You should find the O ring and washer next. Remove them and be sure you have replacements that are the exact same size (you might want to bring the old ones along with you to the hardware store). Replace the O ring and washer.

4

Reassemble the parts in the opposite order that you removed them.

After replacing the O ring and washer, replace the stem and the metal nut that holds it; the securing screws or rings for the handles (along with the plastic or rubber cover); securing each screw or ring for each handle; and finally, the handles.

5

Turn the water back on

Turn the water back on, gently turn the faucets on and then off, and sit back and wait for the drips. If you don't have any, your project was a success!

More home improvement tips

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10 Things your general contractor wishes you knew

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