A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO REPAIRING A LEAKY KITCHEN FAUCET
My kitchen faucet had been drip, drip, dripping for a few weeks. I knew that a small constant leak could increase my water bill but I didn't want to call a plumber. I thought I could fix it myself even though the first time I ever attempted to repair a faucet, I couldn't get the handle off. I took a wrench to it and since the handle was plastic, I broke the handle off. I had to call a plumber that time.
The second time and the most recent time I had a dripping faucet I again had trouble removing the handle. What is it with these handles? Remembering my first experience, I started pouring vinegar on the handle to help loosen the screw that held the handle in place. I did this over several days until finally I was able to unscrew the screw that held the handle on. Vinegar removes built up soap and debris.
Rubber Faucet Seat and O Rings
OK, the handle is off. The next thing you need to do is turn off the water supply. Typically, the water supply turn off is under the faucet inside the cabinet. These handles can sometimes be stuck too!
I had already searched the Internet to see what type of faucet setup I had. There are four types: compression, cartridge (sleeve), ceramic disk, and ball type. You need to figure out which type you have. I have the compression type and I needed a new rubber washer seat for the “Hot” side. I went to Menards and told the salesperson what I needed. He gave me the parts (two come to a package and although I only needed one, I am saving the other one for when the “Cold” handle needs a new rubber washer seat. I was amazed at how easy this was once I removed the handle!
So, I put everything back together in the order that I took everything off (a very important step to remember) and hocus pocus there was no more dripping! I was elated and proud of myself. A few days later, the faucet started leaking at the base. Groan. Again, I looked up on the Internet how to resolve a leaking faucet base and it said to unscrew the cap (remember, after turning off the water under the cabinet). Here we go again with the un-screwing. Nothing would unscrew the cap. Not vinegar, not hot water, not boiling hot water, not hammering the cap, not using a wrench. NOTHING! Disillusioned, I called a plumber.
I told him all the tricks I tried to remove the cap. He took out his blowtorch. Aha! So I was on the right track after all! He told me that it might ruin the finish on the faucet and that he might then have to replace the entire faucet. The last thing I wanted was to have my faucet replaced, especially after I had done all that work to replace the rubber seat!! I told him not to worry about it because the faucet was indestructible! The blowtorch finally removed the cap with no damage to my faucet!! He was surprised and wanted to know what the brand name was of this “special” faucet. It is called, “American Standard.”
The plumber had to replace some “O” rings at the base which were worn and the reason for the leaking around the base. He asked me if I used my sprayer much. I said that I didn’t use it very much. I didn’t ask him why he wanted to know that. Once he put my faucet back together, I had no more leaks!
A few weeks later, I grabbed the sprayer because I wanted to rinse off the sink area. The sprayer didn’t spray. I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t spray. Then I remembered that the plumber asked me if I used it much so I deduced that he must have done something to it to render it useless. THIS IS WHY I LIKE TO DO THINGS MYSELF AND NOT DEPEND ON A REPAIRMAN “PROFESSIONAL”!!! I would have to remove everything under the sink and crawl under there to try and figure out why the sprayer didn’t work. You may wonder why I didn’t call the plumber up to ask what he did. The way I look at it, if someone comes to my house for repair work and screws something up, why would I want to call them back? He lost a customer and I will never call him back or recommend him to my friends. Some day when I have nothing to do, I will venture under the cabinet to try and undo what he did to my sprayer.
That's just how it goes. It seems that when you think it's going to be a difficult job, it turns out to be easy and when you think it should be an easy job, it turns out to be impossible. I hope my experience encourages you to take on some repairs around the house that you normally don’t do. It’s great for your self esteem and it makes you feel empowered. Try it, you might like it!
Joined:May 17, 2005
I'm a free-lance writer and I write about anything concerning your health. My blog is marcellarousseau.wordpress.com
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