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How To Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

Updated on August 8, 2014
Fix a leaky faucet - Compression Faucet Repair
Fix a leaky faucet - Compression Faucet Repair

How To Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

Older two handle faucets tend to develop leaks on a regular basis. Due to the annoyance of the drip as well as the cost of the water, it is necessary to fix a leaky faucet quickly. Most older two handle kitchen faucets are compression faucets. The compression faucet has a rubber washer at the end of the stem that seals to prevent water from coming through when you shut off the faucet. Leaks are usually an indication that the washer has damage and is not sealing properly. You can fix a leaky compression faucet yourself and save money on a repair bill as well as the water bill.

Materials Needed:

Flat-head screwdriver

Phillips-head screwdriver

Adjustable wrench


Faucet seat wrench

Faucet dressing tool

Replacement washer and O-ring

Go under the kitchen sink and turn off the two shut-off valves. The valves connect the house water lines to the faucet water supply lines. Turn the valve handles clockwise to cut off the water supply to the kitchen faucet. If you do not have shut-off valves under the sink, turn off the main water supply to the house. Consider installing shut-off valve if you do not have them under the sink.

Find the small notch between the center cap and the side of the kitchen faucet handle. Insert a small flat-head screwdriver into the notch and pry the cap off the handle. Remove the screw in the top center of the handle with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull the handle away from the faucet with your hands.

Remove the nut securing the faucet stem inside the faucet with an adjustable wrench. Place the faucet handle over the faucet stem and turn the handle counterclockwise to remove the stem from the faucet body. Pull the handle off the faucet stem.

Turn the screw securing the washer to the bottom of the stem counterclockwise with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull the washer off the stem. Scrape any pieces of the washer that is stuck to the stem with a small putty knife. Inspect the packing O-ring around the stem. If the O-ring has cracks, roll it off the stem.

Shine a flashlight into the faucet seat where the stem goes. If the bottom of the seat has a square hole, it is removable. Insert a faucet seat wrench into the valve seat and turn it counterclockwise to remove the faucet seat. Inspect the seat for wear and replace it if necessary when you replace the stem washers. Faucet seats that do not remove should be dressed with a faucet dressing tool available at home improvement centers. Wear eye protection and blow canned air into the faucet seat after dressing to remove small pieces of metal.

Faucet stem
Faucet stem

Place a new O-ring over the faucet stem. There is a channel for the O-ring. Ensure that there are no twists in the O-ring once you install it around the stem. Place the new stem washer on the end of the stem and secure with the new stem washer screw.

Install the new faucet seat, if you are replacing the seat. Tighten the seat into the faucet body with the seat wrench. Thread the stem into the faucet seat until it is hand tight. Thread the nut over the stem and top of the faucet body until it is hand tight. Tighten the nut fully with the adjustable wrench.

Push the handle over the top of the faucet stem. Insert the securing screw and turn it clockwise to secure the handle to the faucet. Push the decorative cap over the center of the handle with your thumb. Turn on the two shut-off valves to supply water to the faucet.


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    • whitton profile image


      7 years ago

      Well written Hub. Great tips!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds simple, until I get under the sink! Actually, my landlord sends the maintenance guy over when I have repair issues. I do have this handy, though. Clearly written! Thanks!


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