A problematic faucet can disrupt almost every kitchen operation. This is especially true regarding tasks like food preparation and cleaning the dishes. Leaving it alone can be a costly issue as well later on. But there can be numerous reasons behind a “faulty” faucet. This can make it tricky to fix the problem in a DIY style.
Discover the step-by-step process of repairing common faucet problems. This kitchen faucet repair guide provides detailed instructions for resolving various issues. Learn professional tips and instructions on how to get your faucet running back to normal again.
8 Steps for a Proper Kitchen Faucet Repair
For easy DIY fixes on your kitchen faucet, follow these steps:
1. Identify Your Faucet Type
The type of faucet can affect how you should approach your faucet issue. There are four main types of faucets:
Cartridge: This type requires you to simply turn the handle left or right to turn it on and off. This is common for double-handle or bridge faucets.
Ball: This is very common, especially with single-handle faucets. The handle moves over a rounded ball-shaped cap above the base of the spout.
Compression: This type requires tightening of the handle to close off the water flow. This is also common for faucets with separate hot and cold water handles.
Disc/Disk: This mixes hot and cold water inside a chamber, and two ceramic discs at the bottom control the flow. This new type is sensitive to touch, making it easy to turn on.
Identifying your faucet type will help you understand how its components work and fit together. This will make the repair process smoother later on. It’s particularly helpful during the steps of disassembling and reassembling.
2. Inspect the Problem
As mentioned, there are many different faucet issues you might encounter. These include:
Rust and Corrosion: Most of the time, it's formed inside if you see it in the faucet’s exterior.
Low Water Pressure: This is common for old faucets with aerators at the opening, mainly because of clogs. A rusty pipe can also cause this.
Leakage: This creates noise and can increase your water bill. This can be an issue with different components, like the valve, spray hose, washers, and o-rings.
No Water: This can be an issue with your faucet’s inner chambers and valves.
Excessive Noise: This can be whistling, chattering, or squealing. This can be an issue with the aerator, washers, or pipes.
Inspect for any of these issues—it will determine what specific tools you might need and what you’d have to do to fix the issue.
3. Gather the Right Tools
You’ll need the right tools to repair appropriately. Here are the most common tools you will need:
- Allen (hex) wrench
- Screwdriver (Phillips and flathead)
- Adjustable wrench (pipe wrench)
- Pliers (optional)
- Any replacement parts (washers, o-rings, cartridge, etc.)
- Petroleum jelly
- Small nylon brush or old toothbrush
- Clean towel or cloth
4. Turn Off the Water Supply
Before you start working, you have to turn the water supply off. You don’t have to turn off the main supply—just the faucets. You can usually locate the shutoff valves under the sink. Turn it clockwise to turn the supply off.
If there aren’t any dedicated valves, turn off the main supply instead. Once off, turn on the faucet to release any excess water in the pipes and ensure the water is completely turned off.
5. Disassemble the Faucet
You need to disassemble the faucet to access the faulty parts that need fixing. Start with the handle and detach it from the faucet body. Depending on your specific faucet type, you might have to unscrew a set screw by removing a cap or prying off a cover plate. To unscrew the screw, use your Allen wrench or a Phillips screwdriver.
Remove the remaining components using your other tools once the handle is gone. Do this until you reach the part where the issue is coming from. But as you remove each part, carefully examine for any signs of wear, cracks, or mineral buildup to be sure. Set aside the removed components in a clean area, like on a clean towel or cloth.
6. Fix the Issue
Here are the specific steps you need to take to fix your issue, depending on what it is:
Rust and Corrosion
A replacement is the best remedy for a rusty faucet or components. To do this, just remove the rusty parts and replace them with the spare you have. But if it’s still not that bad, you can somehow salvage it by cleaning it. Ensure you use gentle cleaning products and scrub off all residue when you finish.
Low Water Pressure
The aerators are the main culprits for this issue. Your faucet’s aerator is at the opening—a mesh screen covering the water outlet. It can easily get clogged with hard water buildup. Clean it using a nylon brush or an old toothbrush. You can also opt to replace it with a new one simply.
If you’ve done this and the pressure isn’t back to normal later on, the issue might be rusty pipes. You’d have to repipe or replace those.
Faucets have seals that hold back any incoming water when the faucet is off. This seal is created by a washer or o-ring pressed tightly against the faucet seat. Dislodged or torn o-rings or washers are the most common reasons behind leaks and drips.
Check which one is worn out or misplaced in your faucet. To fix the leakage issue, the best thing to do is replace the o-ring or washer and ensure it’s firmly placed in position—this is necessary to create that seal. On the other hand, if the leak is in the spray hose, you’d have to replace it with an identical unit.
If there's no water from the faucet, look at the valves and inner chambers. They can get clogged and dirty, which can cause the issue. Check the chambers and valves and clean them.
A washer in the wrong size or a dislodged one can cause a noisy faucet. Check if the washer is tightly secured to the seat or stem—tighten it if it’s not. You can also check the seat first for any sign of residue and clean it. If the washer is wrong, replace it with the right size.
On the other hand, if your faucet is making annoying squealing noises when you turn the handle, the metal threads of the stem are binding against the faucet’s threads. To fix this, remove the stem and coat the sets of threads with petroleum jelly to lubricate them. Replace the stem if the threads are worn out.
7. Reassemble the Faucet
Once you’ve finished dealing with the faulty parts, it’s time to put everything back in place. Reassemble the faucet part by part. Make sure everything is tightly secured and are properly aligned. Use the right tools for this, especially for the screws.
8. Run a Quick Test
Once everything is assembled, run a quick test with your faucet. Turn its water supply again and check for any issues. If you notice any leaks, you can tighten the affected components for a quick fix. Make sure to test it for both hot and cold water as well.
Kitchen faucet repair can seem challenging, but you can DIY it in the right direction. Of course, remember to test before and after the repair to check for any specific issues. Follow the steps and tips above for a smooth and appropriate repair process.
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