Taking care of the day-to-day in your house sometimes need a more hands-on approach. There are many things that you can fix by yourself if you feel comfortable with the tools and familiar with the processes, and having these skills to count on can become very handy.
For the most complex topics it is always better to get a professional to help you, but if you want to try your hand on some of the simpler tasks that are common issues around the house and not as hard to fix, leaky faucets are a good place to start. Just make sure to have the right tools at hand and the number of a trusted plumber just in case you need it.
How to do it
You will need a wench, a screwdriver, replacement washers and O-rings. An important thing about replacement washers and O-rings is that they come in all sizes and you need to figure out which one goes for your faucet before starting. Taking a sample to the store is the easiest way to do it.
The next thing you need to do before actually starting is to turn your water supply off. This can be done usually by closing the knobs that are located underneath, which will immediately cut the water. Once you do this, you are ready to bring out the wench.
Depending of the kind of knob you have, you may need to remove some decorative parts. All you need to do is to pray it loose with a flat-headed screwdriver. Below that you will find a screw for eachknob, which mounts the handle to the stem. You will need to unscrew first and then remove the handle from the stem with the flat-head.
The next thing you will see is the packing nut. You should use the wench to pry it loose. Then you come about the stem and you remove that one too. The way to remove the stem will depend on your type of faucet, but usually they pop right out or you have to twist it off from the valve. When you are done make sure that none of the parts suffered any damage while you took them off.
Inside of the valve seat you will finally find the culprits (most likely) for your leak problem. Those are the replacement washers and O-rings we previously talked about. Remove them and replace them with the new units.
Then it is just a matter of returning the pieces to their original places, in inverse order than how we took them off: washer/O-ring first, then putting back the stem, then the packing nut, screw(s) and lastly handle(s). Go back to the water supply and turn it back on slowly to check if the leak was fixed.
It can happen that this process doesn’t actually fix your leaky faucet. This is because the washers and O-rings may not be the problem, although it doesn’t hurt to replace them for new ones anyway.
Instead, there are a number of things that can be wrong: the valve seat may be corroded, the seals may be worn out, there may be loose parts somewhere in there, or you may even be experiencing damage in your overall plumbing structure. If you suspect this may be the case, don’t let the problem get any bigger. Call for professional help and get your plumbing system into top capacity.