Free Tips & Easy "How to" Instructions
Of all the common home maladies, the leaky faucet has reached iconic status. It has come to represent everything from a dysfunctional marriage to below-average craftsmanship, but sometimes, a leaky faucet is just a leaky faucet.
Most of us know to simply replace the washer or to tighten the faucet with a wrench, but there is an entire process you should go through to make sure you aren't doing a half-baked job. Even if you aren't the handiest person around, this is one job that just about everyone should be able to handle on their own. If not, you may want to consider going back to renting immediately.
Turn your water off. No matter how quick and easy you think this process is going to be, you have to remember Murphy's Law: what can go wrong likely will. Many a home has received pricey water damage under the guise of just replacing a washer and fixing a leaky faucet. In most homes, the water shut-off is located underneath the sink, but in some older homes, there is only one shut off for the entire residence and it is often located in the basement. Make sure you let everyone know that the water is being turned off so you don't catch someone in mid-shower.
Prep your tools and work area. You are still running the risk of soaking the immediate area around your sink, so lay out some extra dish towels on the edge of your sink and on the countertops around your work area.
You also want to tape up the tips of your tools so that you reduce the chance of any plumbing getting punctured along the way. Also consider plugging the sink so you don't lose parts, or your sanity, down the drain. This may seem like a lot of prep for what many of us consider an incredibly easy project, but it is the simple chores that can often lead to disaster so an ounce of prevention...
Disassemble the faucet.
If you are noticing leaks from around the valves and not from the faucet itself, remove the plastic cover and clean the screw underneath with a steel wool pad. Over time, corrosion and a bit of rust can lead to leakage here. You don't have to replace your entire sink, a simple cleansing with a scrubber pad should put an end to any leakage here.
If it is the base of the faucet itself that is leaking, don't worry, the fix is even easier. The problem here is probably that you have a faulty or worn O-ring. Simply unscrew the base of your faucet and gently remove the spigot. Check the O-ring and replace it if there are any signs of wear. Make sure your tools are wrapped in tape so you don't damage your finish.
Fixing a leaky faucet is a straight ahead and fairly simple proposition assuming you take the necessary precautions before you start. If you don't, you could find yourself in need of a snorkel.