A constant dripping or leaky faucet is not only annoying, it’s costing you money. Even if you only have a drip every few seconds, it can waste up to 90 gallons of water every month—and it’s more than that for more serious leaks.
The good news is it’s an easy fix. Usually, a broken stem under one of the handles causes the leak. Here, we’ll look at how to fix a broken or corroded faucet stem.
- Step 1: Turn it fully off: Before doing anything, make sure the faucet is turned completely off. Sometimes, a leak is simply due to one of the handles being slightly on.
- Step 2: Check the stems: If turning it off doesn’t stop the drip, then one of the stems is likely broken or corroded. To check whether it’s the hot or cold water stem, go under the sink and turn off the hot water. If it stops leaking, then the stem under the hot water handle is the problem. If it keeps leaking, turn the hot water back on and then turn the cold water off.
- Step 3: Take apart the handle: Once you’ve found which stem is causing the problem, use a screwdriver to take apart the handle. Before taking the handle off, make sure you turn it to the “on” position to release any pressure in the line.
- Step 4: Remove the stem: After removing the handle, you’ll see a small metal post. That’s your stem. Use a wrench to loosen the bolt (it’ll be very tight!) and take the stem out. After that, take it to your local hardware store.
- Step 5: Get a new stem: Compare sizes to make sure you get the correctly sized stem (your store should have a way to measure that). While you’re there, get some plumber’s grease, too.
- Step 6: Replace the stem: Apply the grease to the O ring at the bottom of the stem, the thread, and the washer around its base. Replace the stem and use your wrench to tighten it. You don’t want it too tight, though—you’ll need a little wiggle room to make sure it’s aligned.
- Step 7: Replace the handle: Put the old handle back on and tighten it to make sure it’s aligned correctly. If it’s not, take it off and tighten the stem a little more. Once you have the handle in proper alignment, turn the water back on under the sink.
Congratulations! You now have a non-leaking, fully functional sink!
If you don’t want to fix this yourself, or have another plumbing problem, we are happy to help. Give us a call at Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning for your plumbing needs!