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How to Fix a Leaky Compression Faucet

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If you own an older home, it likely uses compression style faucets in the bathroom and kitchen. Compression faucets use separate levers for hot and cold water. When you turn the faucet on or off, it activates the washer or seal to lower or raise the stem. Compression faucets may leak because of worn washers or seals. Here are some tips to fix a leaky compression faucet.

Turn Off Water

Shut off the water to the faucet. The shut off valve is usually located below the sink. Compression faucets have a hot and cold shut off valve. If you cannot locate the sink shut off valves, turn off the main water supply to the house. Run the faucet on both sides to relieve water pressure.

Remove Handle and Stem

Cover the drain with a towel or cardboard to avoid losing parts and scratching the surface. Use a utility knife to remove the decorative caps. The cap should pop off. If it doesn't pop off, check for serrated edges around the cap and pry it off with a wrench.

Remove the screw below the cap with pliers to take off the handle and expose the stem. If the handle is rusted, try removing it with a handle puller. Remove the packing nut from the stem with slip joint pliers or channel lock pliers.

Use slip joint pliers to remove the stem assembly. Examine the stem for mineral deposits. Clean mineral deposits with a stiff brush.

Examine the Valve Seat,Washer, and O-Ring

Check the rubber washer and O-ring on the stem for corrosion. If the washer is damaged, replace it with a new one. To remove it, take off the bib screw and use a screwdriver to pull off the old washer.

Remove the damaged O-ring with a utility knife and lubricate the new O-ring with heat-proof grease before putting it back in place. Try to avoid cutting the O-ring to get the correct replacement. If these parts aren't damaged, take off the stem with a wrench or channel lock-pliers.

Check the valve seat for roughness around the hole with your fingers. If the valve seat is damaged or corroded, the whole stem will need replacing. Remove the damaged valve seat with a seat wrench. In some cases, the valve seat may only need resurfacing with a seat dressing tool.

Put everything back together making certain all parts are secure. Check hot and cold taps for leaks again. If the repairs you made didn't stop the leak, you have another issue elsewhere in your plumbing which will require the services of a plumber like Trenchless Pipe Technologies.