How to Fix a Leaky Faucet in 6 Steps

Drip, drip, drip.  The annoying sound of a leaky bathroom faucet dripping can keep you awake at night.  Worse, it wastes precious water.  Do not be intimidated if you do not know how to fix a leaky faucet.  You do not have to live with the annoyance of a persistent leak.  We’ll show you the simple and inexpensive steps on how to repair a leaky faucet.

Plumbing Tip: try to start any plumbing repairs early in the day to give yourself time to deal with any complications or extra trips to the hardware store.  It is a best practice to never begin a plumbing repair when the hardware store is closed.

Tools and Parts:

  • Replacement washers and O-rings
  • Adjustable C wrench
  • Screwdrivers, both Phillips and flat-head
  • WD-40 or other penetrating oil

How to Fix a Leaky Bathroom Faucet

Step 1

Turn off the water at the valve under the sink and then turn on the faucet to drain the water in the system.  Close the sink drain and place a rag or washcloth over the drain to catch anything that might drop. We recommend taping the wrench jaws with duct tape to avoid scratching your fixture. Now that all the safety and precautions are taken care of, let’s fix that drip!

Step 2

Remove the decorative sections of the handle knobs by prying with a flat-head screwdriver.  Next you’ll see a screw that mounts the faucet handle to the stem. Unscrew it and carefully remove the handle with the flat-head screwdriver. If it feels tough, apply the WD-40 or penetrating oil can to loosening it.

Step 3

Loosen the packing nut with the C wrench and then remove the stem. Some stems twist off from the valve and some just pop off.  Examine the stem and all other removed parts for any damage.

Step 4

If the stem and other parts look good, examine the O-ring and washer inside the valve seat.  If the O-ring or washers are broken, they could be causing your sink to leak

Step 5

Go to the hardware store.  Bring anything that needs to be replaced: stem, O-rings and washers.  It is very important to use the exact, correct parts and the best way to do this is to bring the original parts with you to the hardware store

Step 6

Now that you have your new parts, reassemble your faucet in the reverse order you dissembled.  First, washer, then O-ring, next stem, packing nut, screw and finish with the handle.  Turn the water supply back on, slowly turn on water and then check to see if you have fixed the leak. Now you know how to fix a leaky bathroom faucet.

If your faucet is still leaking, you might have missed a broken part or the faucet could have some corrosion issues.  Either try taking the faucet apart again and carefully inspecting each piece, or call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area, and we’ll be happy to come help.