Faucets: How to Fix Leaky Faucets or Install a New Faucet

install sink faucet

Some bathtub faucets have integrated shutoffs. Look for an access panel behind the tub; shutoff valves may be inside. If not you'll need to shut off intermediate valves or water to the whole house.

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Finding the right parts
After shutting off the water, open the faucet and wait for the water to stop running. If the faucet is on the first floor of a multistory house, you may have to wait a minute or so for the water to drain.

If the house has old galvanized pipes, shutting the water off and turning it back on will probably dislodge debris inside the pipes, clogging aerators in faucets and showerheads throughout the house.

You may spend more time finding the correct parts than working on the faucet. To prevent multiple shopping trips, remove the worn parts -- perhaps even the whole faucet -- and take them with you to the store.

The faucets shown in this section are the most common types. Chances are good that yours will look and work much like one of them. However hundreds of faucet types have been made, so you could have an unusual model with parts that are hard to find.

A helpful and competent salesperson can save you plenty of time. Some home centers have knowledgeable people. The staff at a local hardware store may have more expertise. Plumbing supply stores, which cater to professionals, can be impatient with do-it-yourselfers, but they have a wide selection of parts as well as knowledgeable personnel.

If your faucet has a brand name inscribed on its body, look for a repair kit to match. Otherwise dismantle the faucet to find out its type.

In some cases only inexpensive O-rings and washers are needed. Other times a main part -- a cartridge, stem, or ball, for instance -- needs to be replaced. Usually replacing the inner workings results in a faucet that works as smoothly and is as durable as a new faucet.

Fix or replace?
If parts are hard to find or expensive, or if the faucet is unattractive, you may be better off replacing the whole faucet rather than repairing it. Depending on the type and age of the faucet, replacing may take less time.

Other leaks
If water leaks below the sink, the problem may be a leaky stop valve or supply tube. If the leak is at the point where the supply tube enters the faucet, try tightening the nut. If that doesn't solve the problem, replace the supply tube.

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