advertise | privacy policy | terms & conditions
whole site search:
Already have an account? Sign In. New Here? Register.
How to Repair Leaky Kitchen Faucet

How to Repair Leaky Kitchen Faucet

by Ethan Hagan (email Ethan) | | August 1, 2011 | 11 Comments »

Drip… Drip… Drip… It really can drive you crazy!

Fixing a leaky kitchen faucet can seem like a big job, but even if you are not much of a plumber, there are some simple things you can try before calling the cavalry. Replacing a faucet can cost upwards of $250, and a simple repair might be all that’s needed to return you faucet to like-new condition.

The most common cause for small leaks is mineral deposits building up over time inside the faucet housing. A simple cleaning is the right fix. This post shares the steps to disassemble a kitchen faucet, give it a good cleaning, and put it back together. We’ve got a Delta brand kitchen faucet from about 6 years ago for the instructions, but these same steps with a few variations work on just about any modern faucet.

Delta Faucet

Steps to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Step 1: Shut off the water supply; drain excess water from the lines

Start by shutting off the water supply and turning on the faucet to drain any excess water from the lines.

Step 2: Find and remove the set screw

Delta hides a little set screw behind the blue/red button on the lever handle. Gently pull off the button with a small screwdriver, and remove the set screw with an Allen wrench. The handle lifts up and off.

Red/Blue Button Set Screw

Step 3: Remove the Chrome Handle

See that? That’s called a V-Ring, and the stick poking through is part of the valve assembly. All of this is held in place by the chrome cap with the small grooves around the perimeter. Use a large wrench or pliers to remove the cap- preferably something without grooves (aka smooth). Try not to damage or scuff the cap.

Lever Removed Cap removed

Step 4: Remove Inner Components

Pull up on the V-Ring, and it will lift straight out. Check out the notches on the sides for alignment. The ball valve also lifts straight out, and has a small knob used to align the ball valve.

Ball valve Ball valve removed

Step 5: Remove the rubber seals and springs

Beneath the V-Ring and ball valve are three holes, two of which are occupied by small springs and rubber seals. Hot and cold water enter the faucet through the left and right holes. The third hole leads to the spout. Using a small screwdriver, gently remove the rubber seals and springs behind them.

Ball valve and V-Ring Springs and rubber seals

Step 6: Scrub all components. Replace components that are too worn

Take all the parts and scrub them in warm water. Remove any build-up and water deposits. Be sure to check around the rubber seals, and both sides of the V-Ring.  Clean up the hub assembly (rest of the faucet) including the cap threads. Sometimes it’s necessary to replace the rubber seals and springs. Examine the ball valve for any defects too. Replacement parts can be found at most Big-Box stores.

Step 7: Reassemble inner components. Take care on alignment

Begin reassembling the faucet by working in reverse order. Make sure to align the long hole in the ball valve with the small knob. Likewise, align the V-Ring with the small notch.

Knob and Notch

Step 8: Reassemble outer components

Finish assembling your faucet and turn on the water. Presto! Our faucet is working, and hopefully yours is too.

Delta Faucet

Subscribe and never miss an article!

Free articles delivered conveniently to your inbox
(and no spam, we promise)

  • Enjoy this? Share it!

Conversation on This Article

11 Responses to How to Repair Leaky Kitchen Faucet

  • Joe responds...
    August 1st, 2011 11:43 am

    Wouldn’t it just make more sense to replace the parts while you are in there? Even if its just the rubber bits (which ARE going to wear). Sure, it costs a few bucks (less than $10 for most faucets), but how much is the time you spend disassembling and reassembling the faucet worth?

    Some kits even have new balls for only a few bucks more.

    [Reply]

    Ethan Reply:

    Hey Joe, Good thoughts but after doing it once, this is a 15 minute project. I’d rather clean things up than automatically replace em with toilets being the exception. When I work on a toilet, I usually spring for a new set of bolts / rubber washers every time.

    [Reply]

  • paintergal responds...
    August 1st, 2011 10:47 pm

    This is a great article to bookmark for future reference!

    [Reply]

  • Michael responds...
    September 13th, 2011 5:59 pm

    Excellent directions overall but I found it helpful to center the spring and seal around my Allen wrench, and use the Allen wrench to guide them back into position.

    Incidentally do you know how to recenter it so that it closes at 90 degrees. My faucet closes at about 100 degrees.

    Sincerely yours,

    Michael

    [Reply]

  • HANDYMAN51 responds...
    February 10th, 2012 10:48 pm

    re: Joe vs. Ethan opinions above

    All of my 15 minute projects seem to end up taking hours and a few trips to a store, so I’d probably side with Joe on this. ( no offense Ethan- really appreciate all of the work all of you put in to teach us and save us money)

    [Reply]

  • Roberto H. responds...
    March 14th, 2012 4:14 pm

    Do you have any How-to article about replacing a faucet?

    [Reply]

    Ethan Reply:

    Hi Roberto, We don’t have anything for installing a faucet right now, but I’ll add that to the list. Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  • Icarus responds...
    April 26th, 2012 12:22 pm

    Maybe I can do it for you. I bought a new faucet kit and will attempt to install it soon. I’ll take pictures as I go along and try to write something up.

    [Reply]

  • scoburn responds...
    June 27th, 2012 9:24 pm

    my problem is the screw that goes into the front….my handle is all loose and wiggly..I cannot find a screw set or screw that goes into the very front…to stabilize the knob that controls the water…any suggestions?

    [Reply]

  • cbadaracco responds...
    January 4th, 2013 11:31 am

    Great idea…ours just started a little leak. We’ll have to take a look at it this weekend. Will this also help with slow turn off? The water continues to flow (slowly) after we have turned it off for a short period before stopping.

    [Reply]

  • watchtime responds...
    February 22nd, 2013 6:01 pm

    ok fine, 10 minutes and my circa 1985 delta faucet works like new! it is still a current model and during my kitchen remodel it was not something i wanted to replace. i like the style and none of the new reasonably priced ones were made in USA. this one is.

    this article recently came in an email during this project. talk about timing! i had just finished completely redoing the plumbing, both copper and pvc, and just wasn’t going to reinstall a leaky faucet.

    thanks OPC!

    by the way, NONE of the parts were worn at all. turns out the chrome cap was loose, which is why it was leaking in the first place.

    [Reply]





Comment Policy