This often happens to me as a plumber. After repairing a faucet and the owner turns the faucet lever for the first time, they are surprised. "The faucet turns so easily!" they exclude. What is amazing to them is not that the faucet works so easily after repair, but that they have never noticed that it was not working well until they it is leaking terribly or it is impossible to move the handle.
Think about it. You enter the kitchen or bathroom and, as you have done thousands of times before, you reach the faucet handle and turn on the water. Notice something? Probably not. The water flows; you turn it off and continue your way. Because you use the faucet every day, what you do not notice, is that gradually the internal parts of the faucet gain a build up of water minerals, and the parts wear out. This causes the internal parts to resist movement and, as a result, the handle is more and more difficult to move. Think of it as arthritis in tap joints.
The good news is that you can save a lot of money by repairing the faucet yourself. Now do not let the plumbing scare you. With a few common tools and some tips, even the novice can accomplish the task and become a hero for your spouse or friend. After, I've listed a few simple steps to help you fix a single lever faucet. I'm only detailing the repair of a single-lever faucet in this article because the steps to repair this faucet are unique and I do not have the space here to explain a multi-lever faucet .
Please read the entire article before beginning repair process. Once you start the actual repair, you can then go back to the individual steps to refresh your memory.
Repair Steps of a Single Lever Faucet:
1) First, determine the make and type of faucet you are repairing; If you can actually find a brand footprint on the faucet that helps tremendously. There are over 100 different brands and brands of faucets, and most of them take different parts. If you can not find a name on the tap, a great help is a digital camera. Take a picture of the faucet and show the image to the employee of the plumbing supply store. Chances are, when an experienced employee sees the picture, he or she will know immediately what brand it is.
2) Once you know the tap brand, or have a picture, you can buy the necessary repair parts. You can either go to big box type stores or local material; they each have their own strengths. Describe the symptoms of the sick faucet to the clerk. Is the handle hard to move? Does the faucet leak water around the base of the spout? (Kitchen faucets are known for that.) The clerk needs to know what parts to give you and can avoid you having to make several trips to the store because you have the wrong parts. If you are repairing a Moen brand faucet, it is a good idea to buy a "puller" tool to remove the old cartridge. There are different types of cartridge removal tools; a cheap plastic design is available or more expensive heavy metal. For the owner, the cheaper plastic should work very well. You can accomplish faucet repair without one, but using the removal tool makes life a lot easier. (When I make repairs, the lowest priority is to save a few cents on parts. I much prefer to frequent a shop or supplier that offers a wide variety of quality parts and employs a competent and helpful staff. .)
3) WATER AT THE TAP. Have I insisted enough? Before disassembling the faucet, close the water supply. Usually, there are small chrome or brown valves inside the sink cabinet towards the back. If you are like any other Americans for whom I've ever worked, the sink cabinet will be full and these valves will be buried under every kind of bottle of cleaning and shampoo imaginable. Mix in a hair dryer, makeup, spare soap and toothpaste and … well, you have the idea. Dig through the debris and locate the valves. If the valves do not turn easily, you may need to find the main water shutoff valve of the house and turn off the water there. If you need help finding the main water valve, check out the article on how to do it on my website.
4) Once the water is off, close the drain plug on the sink. This little trick was taught by another plumber more than 30 years ago. The reason for this? Most likely, while disassembling the faucet, you will drop a small screw or seal and the closed cap will prevent the small part from disappearing into the drain. Brilliant. Before disassembling the faucet, if you want or need a detailed and illustrated breakdown of your faucet and its parts, you will usually find these illustrations on manufacturers' websites.
5) Remove the handle. There is often a removable plastic cover that covers the handle screw. Lift the cover and remove the screw. Some handles are attached by a set screw on the side of the handle instead of the top. Look at the handle above, with a little investigation, this should be obvious.
6) Once the handle is removed, you will see a type of fixture that fixes the replaceable parts in place. Sometimes it is a metal clip in the shape of a horseshoe that slides. On other occasions, it is a type of round threaded cap that unscrews itself. Remove the clip or the retaining cap
(Some brands of faucets have a sheath that surrounds the horseshoe clip.) This tube must first be removed and then the iron-shaped ring on horseback can be removed. is designed to be unscrewed or removed by grasping it with a pair of pliers and pulling it towards you. Once the sheath is removed, grasp the tongue of the horseshoe with pliers and slide it by pulling it to the side. )
7) Now you should see a plastic or brass cartridge that can be removed by pulling it. If it's a Moen faucet, it's when you use the removal tool. Follow the instructions found on the package of the tool. Be careful not to damage the faucet body itself during this process. Some faucet brands here contain a plastic or brass ball instead of a cartridge. Lift or pull this piece. Under the round ball, you should see two small rubber seats and springs. Remove them. (In this step, all removed parts must match the new parts you picked up at the store.)
8) Once old parts or cartridge removed, it's a good idea to use a flashlight and look inside the faucet where the old part had the habit of living. Do you see debris or pieces of the old cartridge? If so, use needle-nose pliers to remove it.
9) You can now install the new parts and walk up the steps as you put the faucet back, remembering to replace all the retaining clips and rings. If you still have pieces, disassemble the faucet and determine where they are going before turning on the water. Take your time and you should be fine.
10) It is the most important step. After refitting the faucet, the water is turned on again and you have tested it to make sure that it works well, show your work to your spouse or friends. Watch their reactions as they marvel at how the faucet works. Now, YOU are the hero, not the plumber you should have paid to do the repair.
The author assumes no responsibility for the work done by readers of his articles. Plumbing repair items are meant to be a useful general guide for the homeowner.