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Fixing a Leaky Sink

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Mar 14, 2014

sink-300x199The drip of a leaky faucet can be maddening and even drive up your water bill. Thankfully, you can fix that leaky sink easily once you’ve determined what kind of faucet you have. In many cases, there’s no need to call a plumber. People’s Trust recommends to follow these steps.

The first step is determining which kind of faucet you have. It is likely one of these chief four types:

  • Ball: A ball faucet is a prominent kitchen faucet and can be quickly identified by its single handle and ball-shaped cap. The handle controls both temperature and flow. These faucets tend to leak more so than others.
  • Cartridge: This faucet type uses two motions to control water temperature and flow. While it can have a single handle, the most common use a two handles that you move left or right to increase the amount of water and also the temperature of the water. For a single-handle faucet, you move it up and down to adjust the water volume, making it feel different from a ball faucet.
  • Compression:  Perhaps the most known faucet, the compression model has been around since indoor plumbing. These use two knobs, one for hot water and the other for cold, and are usually the cheapest type of home faucet. Since they use a screw for control, these faucets are the most likely to leak.
  • Disc: Disc faucets are some of the most modern faucets and can be identified by their use of a single handle that sits on top of a wide, cylindrical base. The faucet uses a cartridge to mix hot and cold water and internal discs control pressure. This kind of faucet is one of the least likely to leak.

Once you’ve determined what kind of sink you have, head to the hardware store and pick up a repair kit specifically for your sink type. Many of these also work with specific brands.

For all types of faucets, your first step is to turn off the water supply. Next, close or plug the drain – you don’t want to drop a washer or screw down the drain.

Fixing Ball Faucets (Before you fix any type of sink, make sure you turn your water off!)

  1. Unscrew and remove the handle.
  2. Remove the cap and collar. In some models this may require pliers. The replacement kit will contain a tool to assist with this and with loosening the faucet cam.
  3. Remove the cam, washer, and ball. The entire mechanism looks like a shoulder-shaped joint that typically has a white rubber ball inside.
  4. Reach inside the mechanism and remove the springs and then cut off the old O-rings.
  5. Take out the new O-rings, springs, washers and other parts from your repair kit. Install these in your washer and then reassemble the handle.

Compression Faucet Repair

  1. Remove each faucet handle. The screws for the handle may be underneath plastic caps labelled “Hot” and “Cold.”
  2. Remove the nut that is underneath your cabinet and holds the faucet to the rest of the unit. After removing the nut, pull up on the faucet’s stem. This will show you the O-ring. Replace this if the handles are leaking on your faucet.
  3. Undo the brass screw and remove the seat washer that is now visible. This washer often causes leaks under your sink. Your repair kit will provide the proper replacement for this washer.
  4. Coat your new washer with plumber’s grease and then install it.
  5. Reassemble your handle and make sure to replace the nut under the sink.

Mending Cartridge Faucets

  1. Remove the cap on your handle and then unscrew the handle while tilting it backwards gently.
  2. Remove any retaining clip, which looks like a threaded paperclip. This often helps to hold the cartridge in place.
  3. Pull up on the cartridge in your faucet. It will not pull out but should be all the way up so you can easily access the faucet’s spout.
  4. Unscrew the spout and locate the large O-ring near the cartridge. Remove or cut off old O-ring.
  5. Coat new O-rings in plumber’s grease and then install them.
  6. Reattach the spout and assemble your handle. Replacing that O-ring should fix any leaks.

Disc Faucet Fixes

  1. Unscrew and remove the handle of your faucet.
  2. Look for a solid cap, called the escutcheon cap, which sits directly under the handle. Pull this out.
  3. Unscrew the disc cylinder that’s now visible.
  4. Remove the seals and cylinders that are now visible. Your repair kit for disc faucets will include a cleaning solution. Soak these cylinders in the solution for at least three hours. The solution itself will have a recommended soak time listed.
  5. Reinstall the cylinders. If the seals are warped or frayed, replace them with those from your kit.
  6. Reassemble the handle and turn the water on slowly. Starting this faucet up at full force can damage your faucet.

Fixing small leaks yourself can help you save money and provides good practice in case you have any minor emergency one late night. If you’re new to home maintenance, some of the more-expensive kits will include detailed instructions as well and may be a worthwhile investment.

This Blog is sponsored by:
People’s Trust Insurance Company