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Michigan State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500175

Repairing Dripping Faucets

1. Shut off the water to the faucet, either at the pump or where the supply enters the house which is usually on the side next to the street. It should be near the water meter. Some installations have a valve under the sink or lavatory and this is convenient.
(Vis. 1) Shut off the water to the faucet

2. On some faucets the handle must be remove to get at the bonnet. To do this, remove the screw on the top of the faucet and remove the handle. Lay out all parts in the order you take them off so you can put them back in that order later.
(Vis. 2) Remove the bonnet if the faucet has one

3. With a monkey wrench or adjustable wrench remove the bonnet.
(Vis. 3) use a monkey wrench to remove the bonnect

4. Remove the valve stem by rotating the handle in the same direction as you would to shut off the water. The assembly should come out.
(Vis. 4) remove the valve stem

5. Remove the screw on the bottom and pry out the old rubber washer. Be sure to replace the washer with the same size and type. If you do not have a washer of the appropriate size you might try reversing the present washer. This would be a temporary solution especially if the washer is a flat disc and not a coned washer. Measure the diameter. For the first replacement buy a package of assorted sizes and remember what size you faucet requires.
(Vis. 5) Remove the screw on the bottom and remove old washer

6. Check the valve seat to be sure it is not scored.
(Vis. 6) check valve seat to make sure it is not scored

7. Replace the faucet assemble in the reverse order you disassembled the faucet.

8. Turn the water back on.

Repairing Single-Lever Faucets

By: Carol Selby, Extension Home Economist, Saginaw County and Betty Shelby, Extension Home Economist, Kent County.

Single-lever (one handle) faucets are trickier to repair than the stem faucets mentioned on pages earlier. There are several different styles of single-lever faucets, with each being repaired differently and some often requiring special tools for disassembly. Most manufacturers sell a complete repair kit for their brand of faucet. The rotating ball faucet is the most common, and below are the steps in its repair.

1. Under the shank of the handle is a set screw which must be removed with a hex wrench. Do not take the screw all the way out. It is easily lost.
(Vis. 7)Remove the set screw with a hex wrench

2. If the drip is from the spout, replace the two rubber valve seats and steel springs in the bottom of the faucet body. Unscrew the cap assembly and lift out the ball/ stem and cam assembly.
(Vis. 8)Remove the cap assembly and lift out the ball/stem

3. With fingers on long nose pliers, remove the valve seats and springs. Push replacements firmly into place. While you have the ball out, check for corrosion and replace if necessary.
(Vis. 9)Remove the seats and springs

4. When replacing the ball, make sure that the peg that projects from the side of cavity fits into the oblong slot on the ball.
(Vis. 10)Peg projects into the side cavity

5. Replace the cam assembly as shown, making sure that the small tab on the side fits into a slot on the faucet body; screw on the cap assembly.
 (Vis. 11)replace the cam assembly

6. Before reattaching the faucet handle check for leaks around the stem by moving the ball/ stem to the "on" position. If there is a leak, use the tip of a small screwdriver to tighten the adjusting ring by turning it clockwise. If, in order to stop the leak, you have to tighten the ring so that the handle is difficult to work, then the entire cam assembly needs to be replaced.
(Vis. 12) Check for leaks


This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with references from Michigan Extension bulletin E-811, Get Rid of the Drip in Your House.

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