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How-To: Fixing a Leaky Faucet


A leaky faucet is a pretty common annoyance . . . but it needn't be! It's actually fairly simple to fix, so I figured this was an excellent start to your home schooling. So rather than letting water go to waste, and taking migraine medicine to remedy drip-drop-orchestra-induced headaches, just take a few minutes to conquer the inconvenience on your own. You'll just need a washer, faucet stem or O-ring, six-in-one interchangeable screwdriver, and eight-inch adjustable wrench or six-inch slip joint pliers. To learn the steps to saying sayonara to your leaky faucet, read more.

Here's how, from Barbara K!:

  1. First, check to see if the leak is coming from the faucet tap or the handle. If it's the former, you'll need to replace the washer. The latter, you'll need to replace the faucet stem or O-ring.
  2. Turn off the water by turning the knob under the sink.
  3. Drain out any remaining water by opening the faucet.
  4. Next, close up the stopper in the sink bowl and then place a towel in the sink to protect against scratches or chips.
  5. Now, take off the decorative top of the faucet handle.Unscrew the screw that is exposed, so you can then remove the handle.
  6. Remove the stem assembly by turning the locknut counterclockwise with your wrench, and then lifting the stem assembly out. Turn it counterclockwise to loosen the stem if it sticks.
  7. Then, take off the washer underneath.
  8. Pick up an exact match to your washer at the hardware store. Replace the screw with an exact match as well if it looks worn.
  9. Before replacing the stem, clean off any corrosion.
  10. Then replace the washer and screw with your new purchases, and reinstall the stem.
  11. Put the locknut, faucet handle, and decorative cap back on.
  12. Turn the water back on via the valve below the sink.
  13. Turn the faucet on and off, and then listen for any drips. Fini!
  14. If there are any drips, run through the steps again, making sure everything is securely tightened.

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