We open our kitchen faucet many dozens of times a day. Not surprisingly, kitchen faucets break down more often than those in the bathroom. Before calling a plumber or buying a new faucet, it’s worth trying to repair it.
If you are reading this article, it means that some of the following failures might have happened to your faucet:
- The kitchen faucet is leaking from under the handle.
- Water is dripping from the spout even when the handles are in the closed position.
- A humming sound appears in the pipes when you open the faucet.
- The jet of water is too thin.
- The single-handle faucet works in sudden bursts.
- Water is leaking from under the spout nut.
- The faucet handle cannot reach its required position.
Faucet Spares, Tools, and Materials You Need
Before you start repairing a kitchen faucet, you need to prepare all the tools and faucet spares.
The tools you will need:
- Allen key
- wrench (or adjustable wrench)
- slip-joint pliers (or pipe wrench)
The repairs usually require some additional materials such as dry rags and plumber’s grease. If the faucet is leaking, you will have to buy some spare faucet parts: a new cartridge (for a cartridge-type single-handle faucet), O-rings, and faucet headwork (for a two-handle faucet).
Repairing a Single-Handle Cartridge-Type Kitchen Faucet
There can be four basic reasons that can make you want to repair it:
- Cracks and chips caused by mechanical damage on the faucet body
- Waste between the seats and the ball inside the cartridge
- Worn O-ring
- Clogged or corroded aerator
If there is a defect on the faucet body, you can try to fix it using cold welding (sealant / putty). But nonetheless, it’s a temporary measure, and you will have to replace the faucet anyway.
If the problem is low water pressure, then a clogged aerator is most likely causing the problem. You just need to remove the aerator out of the spout, clean the mesh with a small brush and reinstall it.
Let’s take a look at some more serious faucet issues.
When a faucet is leaking with no visible damages, the O-ring or the cartridge is most likely to be damaged. In this case, a complete disassembly of the faucet is required.
How to disassemble a faucet? First, shut off the water supply and bleed off the remains of water from the faucet. That’s the first thing you always have to do, no matter what kind of faucet you are about to fix. After that…
How to Repair Cartridge-Type Single-Handle Faucets?
- Remove the set screw on the main body. It is usually hidden behind a decorative handle cap which you can remove with a knife or a screwdriver.
- Remove the handle adapter.
- Take the retainer nut and the retainer clip out. Tip: You can remove a faucet retainer nut even if you do not have a proper size wrench at hand. Just put a screwdriver onto the nut and gently tap the butt of the screwdriver with a hammer
- Then remove the cartridge and inspect all the parts of the faucet for damages.
- Replace the weak springs if necessary. Clean all the parts from accumulated dirt (sediments).
- If the cartridge is badly clogged or damaged, you just have to replace it. The whole challenge here is to choose a new cartridge properly. Tip: When you go to a hardware store to buy a new faucet cartridge, take the old one with you to make sure the dimensions are correct, because cartridges are not standardized — they are made in a variety of diameters and of various materials.
- Install the new cartridge in such a way that its holes are aligned with the holes inside the faucet body. After that, screw the retainer nut back on. Tighten it up but not too tight.
- Check the quality of your work by opening the water shutoff valve. If there are no leaks, proceed to install the handle and all the rest.
How to Repair Two-Handle Faucets?
You have to disassemble and replace worn out components — the faucet headwork and/or O-ring seal.
Shut off the water completely. After that, put the faucet handle in the open position to make sure there is no excess pressure on the parts.
Next, disassemble the faucet by removing the decorative caps and unscrewing the screw that holds the handle in place. You will need a screwdriver for that. Next, replace the old faucet headwork with a new one of a suitable size and reassemble the faucet.
If the seal is worn out, you can just remove it and install a new one in its place after applying some grease on it. Tip: Use non-toxic silicon grease for all rubbing parts in all products. This will increase the service life of all equipment design components by at least double.
Faucets often need to be repaired only due to leaking gland seals. In this case, you have to disassemble the faucet in the same way as above and replace the worn-out packing. Sometimes just tightening the seal gland bushing may be all you have to do to fix the faucet.
Tip: You only need to replace packing if the bushing is tightened well enough but the faucet is still leaking.
The following materials can be used for packing (for old types of faucets):
- rubber tubes of appropriate dimensions
- packing cloth threads
- packthreads soaked in drying oil
However, if you see that the threads are worn out or heavily corroded, it’s time to get rid of the whole assembly and buy a new one.