How to Fix a Dripping Faucet: 8 Steps for Homeowners


One of the more common problems in your home is a dripping faucet. This occurs over a period because you are repeatedly turning your faucet – in the kitchen or the bathroom – on and off every day for years. It only makes sense that it would endure wear and tear. After a while, it will begin to drip and cause you to get frustrated. Nobody likes a dripping faucet! If you want to get fix a dripping faucet quickly, simply call a plumber for immediate assistance.

Of course, you can do this yourself with a couple of tools and rags. By the end of this mini-home repair, you can pat yourself on the back for not caving in and calling in a plumber to do a simple job. You no longer need to be frustrated by the annoyance of a drip, drip, drip in your bathroom or kitchen, which can cause you to lose sleep at night (seriously, how noisy is this?) and even cost you a few pennies more per month. Grab your tool belt and start workin’!

Here are eight tips for how to fix a dripping faucet:

Tip #1: Turn Off the Water

It may seem like common sense, but a lot of us novices make this mistake when we are just trying to stop that annoying dripping from our kitchen or bathroom faucet. So, locate the valve that connects the water to the kitchen or bathroom and shut it off. Otherwise, when you are working on repairing it, you will have a little bit of mess on your hands.

Tip #2: Shut the Drain

Even these experts forget this handy little trick on how to fix a dripping faucet: Close the drain in your kitchen or bathroom sink.

When you are repairing the faucet, you are going to removing and replacing tiny bits, such as the threaded spindle, ball, disc, screw, and washer. If any of these small items fall down the drain, then your job is going to be a bit harder on a Sunday afternoon.

So, what can you do? Well, the simple thing is just to put a bowl over the drain, and that is the end of these concerns.

Tip #3: Grab Your Tools

The next step is to grab any tools that will be necessary for the job. Unsure what you will need? Well, these four things will probably be the most critical to the task at hand, whether it is replacing the faucet or repairing it:

  • Screwdriver, wrench, and pliers.
  • Replacement components
  • White vinegar (a cleaning solution)
  • Rags (easy clean up)

Of course, depending on your sink and the type of faucet, you may need some other tools. For the most part, these will suffice.

Tip #4: Disassemble the Faucet

Here is the hardest part of your Tim the Tool Man adventure: Disassembling the faucet. This can be difficult to perform because it does require a little bit of elbow grease. You will need your pliers or wrench and tightly grip the screw section and unscrew the faucet. Once this component is gone, place it in a cup of vinegar so that it can tighten when it is returned to its place.

Tip #5: Pull Off the Cap

This is a two-step process that does not require too much of a strain:

  • Remove the handle screw with a small flathead screwdriver.
  • Pull straight up the handle to remove it from the faucet body.

Be sure to have a paper towel or rag nearby so you can place it there and not lose the cap.

Tip #6: Remove the Cartridge

For the most part, the cartridge body does not consist of any moving parts. Therefore, you will be focusing entirely on the full cartridge – some are easy to remove and others need a special cartridge-pulling wrench. Here are some tips to correctly remove and repair the cartridge:

  • Make a note of the cartridge’s location so you can return it the same way.
  • Replace the O rings and other parts that appear to be worn out.
  • If the cartridge is broken down, replace it with a standard but new anti-scald cartridge.
  • If hot and hot are reversed after installation, turn it 180 degrees.That is it? Yes, that is it!

Tip #7: Inspect the Components

This ties into the previous point, but it is always a crucial step to inspect all the components of your faucet. If you suspect that a washer, an O ring, or even the handle of your bathroom or kitchen faucet is in bad shape, it is always a good idea to replace it. Indeed, this makes sense if your plumbing is a decade old and it is constantly turned on and off throughout the day.

Tip #8: Put the Faucet Back Together

Finally, your victory lap: Putting the faucet back together. Essentially, if you do not need to replace the entire unit, all you need to do is reverse the process by working backward.