How a Plumber Fixes Leaky Faucets

Plumber Topeka KS installs and repairs pipes, fixtures and appliances like sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers and water heaters. They read and interpret blueprints to assess and plan plumbing systems, and they use specialized tools to troubleshoot issues such as leaks or clogs.


To become a plumber, you’ll need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a vocational program or apprenticeship that includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Many apprentices earn a wage while they learn the trade.

Having a leaky faucet is more than just annoying. It’s also a sign that you are wasting water, which is bad for your wallet and the environment. Fortunately, fixing a leaky faucet is usually an easy and inexpensive project that you can do yourself. But before you start working on your leaking kitchen or bathroom faucet, it’s important to know the basics of how faucets work.

There are four kinds of faucets: cartridge, compression, ceramic disk, and ball type. A cartridge faucet has a round disc that sits in a valve seat to seal the water flow when the handle is off. A drip in this type of faucet means the washer or the valve seat is worn out and needs to be replaced. If you have a compression faucet, the problem is likely in the O-ring or neoprene seal that holds the piston in place. In either case, replacing these parts should fix the drip.

Leaks in other types of faucets usually occur because of loose or worn parts. You can try tightening the handle with a wrench to prevent it from leaking, or you can remove the entire faucet handle and replace it. The key is to first turn off the water main to your house, then remove and replace the affected part — making sure everything is tightened correctly and not overtightened so that seals aren’t blown out.

If your leak is coming from the faucet spout, you can try to tighten the packing nut that holds the stem in place. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you can remove the spout assembly and clean out the aerator if it’s clogged with mineral deposits.

Once you have removed the assembly, remove the handle screw with a screwdriver and pull off the handle. You may need to pry it off if it’s stuck because of rust. Once the handle is off, remove the hex nut that holds the stem in place and pull it straight up. You can then use a pocketknife to pry off the small index cover that’s on the side of the faucet. This will reveal a screw that you can unscrew with a wrench to remove the cartridge.

Repairing a Faucet Handle

A faucet handle that’s hard to turn is a common problem that can be easily solved. Mineral buildup inside the handle can cause it to become stiff, but cleaning and wiggling often loosens it up. If the handle continues to be difficult to move, you may need to replace the cartridge. If this is the case, a plumber can help.

Before starting a repair, it’s important to turn off the water supply. This can usually be done by turning a valve underneath the sink. It’s also a good idea to take this opportunity to clean the handle, stem, and faucet body. A little bit of vinegar and a brush can go a long way toward keeping your faucet looking its best and working well.

Once the water is turned off, you’ll want to get rid of any excess debris that might be clogging up the faucet. Soak the faucet handle in vinegar to remove any buildup, then clean it with a soft cloth. Afterward, apply a small amount of penetrating oil to the O-rings and insert them into their grooves. This will ensure that they’re not dried out or cracked when you put the handle back on.

The steps to repairing a faucet handle vary depending on the type of faucet. For example, a compression faucet with two handles requires different steps than a ceramic disc cartridge faucet. In general, though, you’ll need to pry off any decorative caps and remove the handle screw. Then, you can unscrew the now-exposed nut using a wrench and lift up the handle.

You’ll also need to reassemble the handle and replace any washers or O-rings that are worn out. Make sure to purchase replacements that match the old ones to prevent leaks and other problems. Finally, it’s a good idea to pick up some plumber’s grease to lubricate the new cartridge and the O-rings when you’re installing them. This will keep everything moving smoothly and help the new parts last longer. When you’re done, it’s time to turn the water back on and test your work.

Repairing a Faucet Valve

A faucet’s valve controls water flow from the body to the spout. It can wear out over time, resulting in leaks and other problems. Plumbers often repair or replace the faucet’s valve to restore proper function and prevent future issues. A plumbing license is typically required to work as a plumber, and most states have specific requirements for licensing including education and training, experience, and passing an exam.

A common cause of a faucet leak is a worn out washer or O-ring. This can be a simple fix, though, and it’s important to regularly check and replace these parts to avoid leaks. The first step is to shut off the water supply. This can be done by turning the valve underneath your sink or at the main water pipe where it meets your house. Next, you’ll need to remove the handle. This is usually accomplished by prying off the decorative cap or a screw that secures it to the faucet. Once the handle is removed, you can inspect the internal components for wear and tear or signs of a leak.

Another common issue is a loose packing nut, which can also cause water to leak out around the stem. This is easy to fix, and you can do it by tightening or loosening the nut using slip-joint pliers. In some cases, you may need to completely remove the packing nut and valve stem to repair or replace it.

If you have a cartridge or disk-type faucet, the most common problem is a worn out rubber seal or O-ring. This can be fixed by cleaning, which is usually a straightforward process of using a vinegar solution to remove mineral deposits and other debris from the inside of the faucet. You can also lubricate the seals and O-rings to help them last longer. Once the repairs are complete, you can put the faucet handle back on, turn the water supply back on, and test for leaks.

Leaking faucets can waste a lot of water, so it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. You can try to fix a leaky faucet yourself by shutting off the water supply and removing the handles, or you can call a professional plumber to do it for you.

Repairing a Faucet Leak

When a faucet leaks, it wastes water and money. One drip per minute can cost you up to 34 gallons a year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, so it is important to fix the problem as soon as you notice it. Luckily, you can do so without calling a plumber, though it is recommended to turn off the water supply before starting a repair.

Begin by turning off the water to the faucet at the shut-off valves, which are usually located underneath the sink basin or behind the wall. Next, remove the handles by unscrewing them. If the screws are stuck or seized, you can use penetrating oil to help loosen them. If the handle is still stuck, you can try removing the screw with needle-nose pliers or a wrench. Once the handles are removed, you can inspect the internal components for signs of a leak. The most common culprits for a leaking faucet are worn-out washers or O-rings, so it is a good idea to replace these parts while you have the handles open.

Cartridge-style faucets have many moving parts, so it is a good idea to purchase a replacement kit that includes all the necessary repair parts. Unlike other faucet types, cartridges don’t have O-rings, so they require a little more trouble to disassemble. Remove the decorative cap from the handle and the allen screw that secures it by turning counterclockwise with a screwdriver. Once you have removed the cap, you can remove the dome assembly under the handle and then lift off the metal handle adapter. Next, you’ll need to remove the plastic pivot stop and then the brass retainer clip with a screwdriver. You’ll then be able to pull out the stem and replace the O-ring, which is responsible for preventing leaks from the actual handle.

If your cartridge has a ceramic disk, you can use needle-nose pliers to remove the inlet seal and springs. Once you have removed them, remove the nut and the washer and inspect each component for wear. Replace any damaged ones, and be sure to coat the O-ring with nontoxic, heat-proof plumber’s grease before replacing it. After reassembling the faucet, you’ll need to turn the water back on to make sure that your new O-ring has seated properly.