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How To Fix a Leaky Faucet: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Sep 25, 2023


A leaky faucet is a household nuisance that's all too familiar. Typically, it's a faucet dripping water drop by drop, even when the knobs are turned off tightly. While it may seem like a minor issue, a leaky faucet can waste an incredible amount of water over time, contributing to elevated utility bills. Also, if left unattended, it may lead to other plumbing problems.

In this article, we’re going to outline steps to diagnose and fix a leaky faucet, discuss the tools needed, identification of faucet types, repair steps, and preventive measures.

Tools and Materials Needed

The basic tools for this job include a wrench, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, replacement parts (like O-rings or cartridges, depending on your faucet type), and a plumber's grease. A wrench is essential for loosening and tightening parts, while screwdrivers will help remove screws during disassembly and reassembly. Always remember to wear safety gloves to protect your hands and safety goggles if you are dealing with rusty parts. According to this Las Vegas property management company, these tools can be purchased at any local hardware store, or rented at certain stores if you don't anticipate regular usage.

Identifying the Type of Faucet

The three common types of faucets are ball, cartridge, and ceramic disk faucets. Ball faucets have a single handle that moves over a rounded ball-shaped cap. Cartridge faucets can have either one or two handles, but you'll notice a decorative cap on them. Ceramic disk faucets are usually single-handled, with a wide cylindrical body. If you need clarification on the type, look for a brand name or model number on the faucet, which can be searched online for specifications.

Preliminary Steps

First, shut off the water supply using the knobs beneath the sink. Open the faucet to drain residual water from the pipes. Cover the sink drain with a rag or drain plug to prevent small parts from disappearing down the drain during your repair.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

A. Ball Faucet

Step into the shoes of a seasoned DIY-er as we commence with the ball faucet. Don your gloves, grasp your screwdriver and wrench, and commence by gently disassembling the handle and cap. As you do this, you'll uncover the heart of the faucet - the ball. Here lies the secret to your leak: the seals or O-rings. Study them carefully. If they show signs of fatigue, such as fraying or thinning, take note of their size and shape to purchase precise replacements. When you've acquired the new recruits, return to your faucet. Piece it back together meticulously, like a puzzle, finishing with the handle. Test its movement; it should glide smoothly like a skater on ice.

B. Cartridge Faucet

The journey continues with the cartridge faucet. Begin by removing the decorative cap and handle, a task akin to peeling the beautiful layers of an onion. As you delve deeper, you'll encounter the cartridge, a cylindrical part that controls water flow. This component takes the brunt of daily usage and may show wear and tear. If the cartridge seems damaged or worn, it's time for a changing of the guard. Replace it with a fresh, sturdy cartridge. Once the new cartridge stands proudly in its position, you can begin the reassembly, akin to rebuilding a castle, ensuring every piece fits back snugly in its rightful place.

C. Ceramic-Disk Faucet

Lastly, we arrive at the ceramic-disk faucet. Start this repair by removing the handle and the escutcheon cap, revealing the disk cylinder. Much like opening a book to its heartrending climax, this is where you'll find the culprit of your leak. Inspect the seals surrounding the disk. If they are damaged, they've played their part, and it's time for new performers to take the stage. Replace them with vigor and anticipation. With the new seals in place, you can start the satisfying process of reassembly, much like the concluding chapters of a novel, restoring the faucet to its full, functional glory.

Testing the Repaired Faucet

Turn the water supply back on slowly and check for leaks. If it still leaks, disassemble it again and ensure all parts are correctly installed and tightened. If the problem persists, you might need professional help.

Professional Help

If the leak remains or if the task seems overwhelming, it's time to call a professional plumber. Look for licensed, insured, and well-reviewed plumbers in your area. The cost may range from $150 to $300, depending on the complexity of the job.

Preventive Measures

To avoid leaks, we recommend you conduct regular maintenance. Check for corrosion, clean your faucet regularly, and replace worn-out parts promptly. Products like water softeners can help if you have hard water, which often accelerates wear on your fixtures.


Fixing a leaky faucet promptly is crucial to prevent water wastage and avoid further plumbing issues. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right tools and guidance, this is a manageable task for most homeowners. So, roll up your sleeves and restore peace in your home today.

Property managers can be very handy when it comes to maintenance issues like leaky faucets, especially in larger buildings or rental properties. They typically have a network of trusted professional service providers, including plumbers, whom they can contact promptly to address such issues. Moreover, their experience allows them to identify whether a problem can be a simple DIY fix or requires more professional attention. They can also implement regular maintenance schedules to preemptively tackle problems like leaks, ultimately saving time, water, and money. Get in touch with us today and learn more about our services.

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