How to Repair the Most Common Faucet Types Yourself

How to Repair the Most Common Faucet Types Yourself

Small Projects and Repairs
By Alex Mikayelyan November 29, 2021

Several things are always true. The sun will always come up in the morning, matter cannot be created or destroyed, and the faucet is going to start leaking at some point in time. In fact, some people would challenge the prior two facts before they would ever consider countering the third one. Anything that deals with water is bound to break at some point and as a responsible homeowner who does not want to call a plumber for every tiny problem, you want to know how to identify the problems and how to fix them yourself. 

Luckily, plumbing experts have identified several issues with the most common types of faucets that and were kind enough to provide instructions on how to fix them. If you’re new to DIY, attempting to repair faucets yourself may seem impossible at first. But once you get to know your faucets and how they work, fixing them yourself seems far more realistic. So grab your trusty wrench, screwdriver, a pair of gloves, and prepare to get your hands wet (and possibly the face) as you learn how to fix faucet defects that are considered to be the most common ones out there.  

Types of Faucets

What you should know before you understand how to repair a leaking tap at home is what kind of a faucet you have in the first place. Faucets are generally categorized into the four following types:

Ball 

The Simple Convenience of Ball Faucets

The Simple Convenience of Ball Faucets

Ball faucets are very common and can be found in many kitchens across the country. They usually have a single handle, as the mechanism which controls the water pressure and temperature is a sphere that the handle is attached to. 

Compression 

How the Older Compression Valves Work

How the Older Compression Valves Work

A staple of older homes ever since the introduction and popularization of indoor plumbing, compression faucets usually come with double handles, each one controlling the temperature. The water flow is determined by how far the handles are opened and the faucet spout sits between them. These are commonly found on tubs and showers units, though they can be used in kitchens, but are not as widely utilized due to how unwieldy they are in comparison to their single-handle counterparts.

Disk 

The Inner Workings of a Disc Faucet

The Inner Workings of a Disc Faucet

Named after the two ceramic disks situated inside the mechanism that allows users to control the water flow, disk faucets are one of the newest advancements in plumbing. Much like the ball faucet, they come with a single handle that controls both the temperature of the water and its flow.  

Cartridge 

Why Modern Cartridge Faucets Are More Advanced

Why Modern Cartridge Faucets Are More Advanced

The cartridge faucet functions very similarly to the compression type, as it usually comes with two handles, each of which controls the temperature and the water pressure depending on how much you turn it. But the difference between the two is not visible, but for sure can be felt while operating the handles. The compression faucet works by letting out the water flow depending on how much of the handles are turned, but the pressure is still somewhat arbitrary. Turning the handle to the same amount on two different occasions will get you different water flow every time. Cartridge faucets, on the other hand, are far more accurate as they let out the exact amount of water flow depending on how much you turn the handles. As a result, cartridge faucets tend to be more expensive than the compression, but are slightly trickier to fix. 

Common Problems and Repairs

Regardless of what valve or faucet you may have, at some point, it’s going to break. This is the natural cycle of these mechanisms and it is to be expected that at some point in the future, you will need to take action. Each faucet type has its own sets of problems with its own respective solutions.

Repairing Ball Faucets

The Easy Way to Repair Common Ball Faucets

The Easy Way to Repair Common Ball Faucets

One of the biggest weaknesses of ball faucets is that they rely mostly on a single component for both pressure and temperature, that being the ball valve itself. It is usually made of metal or plastic, but regardless of the material, the ball valve goes through a lot of wear and tear over the years.

Fixing the ball valve is actually not difficult at all since you can purchase repair kits online that come with everything you need to replace broken or worn-out parts. The ball valve itself can deform over time as it gets used and this would require you to replace the valve entirely. This makes the water pressure harder to control, causing leaks and other difficulties operating the faucet.

In less severe cases, the rubber seals around certain parts may dry up and lose their rigidity, in which case you would simply need to replace those, but leave the valve itself untouched. All of these components can be found in repair kits so make sure to have one of these on standby even if your ball faucet is currently functioning perfectly. You can buy these for around $5 and replace the components yourself, lowering the costs of leaking tap repair. Regardless of whether you are looking for ways on how to fix a shower faucet or the one in your kitchen, these kits will come in very handy.

Inspecting and Repairing a Compression Faucet

The Problems Which Could Arise With a Compression Faucet

The Problems Which Could Arise With a Compression Faucet

Older plumbing technology may be slightly harder to deal with as it may not be suited for the amount of hot water and the high pressure that we use today. So, if you noticed a hot water tap leaking in your bathroom or kitchen compression faucet, you should take a look inside. 

If you wish to know how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet with two handles, first you need to get into its inner workings. This can be done by pulling off both handles and the spout to reveal the mechanisms inside. What you should be looking for is the valve stem assembly, which usually sits between the lower piece of the faucet and the spout itself. You can get to it by removing the hex nut that is situated right under the faucet spout and connecting it to the rest of the plumbing.

Use a wrench to remove the spout, then the hex nut and you should see the valve stem assembly inside the faucet body. Remove it and inspect it for any cracks, grit buildup, or other defects that could be causing a leaking or weaker water flow. 

Fixing Disk Faucets

Common Problems With Bathtub Disk Faucets and What You Can Do About Them

Common Problems With Bathtub Disk Faucets and What You Can Do About Them

Those little drops of water may seem like only a minor nuisance, but try to fall asleep to that rhythmic tapping and you’ll stay awake all night. So how do you fix a bathtub faucet that has a disk valve? Leaky disk faucets may be the result of several defects that you can look into by simply removing the handle at the top.

Once the handle is removed you have a clear sight of the disk cartridge, as well as the other slots of the mechanism. You should first check the rubber seals of the disk cartridge and other parts of the faucet. These are responsible for preventing leaks but they are not a permanent solution. Rubber can erode, dry up, and weaken over time. It can also deform as a result of grit layering its surface. You may need to replace these if you notice that the faucet is letting out water from cracks and crevices where it shouldn’t. 

Bathtub faucet dripping may also occur as a result of the disk cartridge cracking or being damaged. This is the little metal piece that looks like a plug and allows you to control the water pressure. In this case, you would need to replace it entirely. You can also buy kits that include all the components you’ll need to get the job done, as well as some basic instructions on how to fix a dripping faucet single handle. 

What to Do About a Malfunctioning Cartridge Faucet

What Parts You May Need to Replace In a Cartridge Faucet

What Parts You May Need to Replace In a Cartridge Faucet

To inspect your cartridge faucet you will first need to open it. Different cartridge functions open up in a variety of ways, with some asking you to remove screws, while others have a decorative cap that unscrews itself. Once you remove that you should see the cartridge of the faucet itself. 

Remove the cartridge shaft which should be a white piece of plastic and see if there is a lot of grit on it. If this is the case, clean it out and see if there are any corroded areas under the white grit. In case you see that some areas of the cartridge have corroded, then you will need to replace it entirely. If not, the problem may lie elsewhere.

For the most part, fixing a leaky cartridge faucet is quite simple, as all the mechanisms that could malfunction are all inside the cartridge shaft itself. In that case, all you need to do is replace it with a new one and check the water pressure to see if it is back to normal. Additionally, if you notice water leaking from various parts of the faucet, then consider looking into the rubber sealers to see if they are worn out, in which case you should replace them as well.

AM

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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