Sooner or later, any kitchen faucet will start to drip. Whether you’ve got a very old model or a modern fixture, dripping is inevitable. Fortunately you can easily fix a dripping faucet by yourself. It’s not something that I would ever call a plumber in to do, when it’s so simple to do it myself.
As long as you have a big wrench and a screwdriver, you can fix this. You just remove the old faucet cartridge and replace it with a new one from your local hardware store. You should be able to replace a cartridge on any faucet with just these three items.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Replacing a Faucet Cartridge
First, Turn the Water Off
You need to turn off your water supply before trying to fix any plumbing problem. First, locate the valve that controls your kitchen faucet’s water supply. Usually this is hidden away inside the cabinetry under your kitchen sink. If this valve is completely inaccessible, you can turn off the water supply for your entire house.
If your faucet is two-handled, make sure that you’ve turned off both the cold and hot water before you start to work on changing the cartridge.
Remove the Cover from the Knob or Handle
Your next job is taking of the knob or handle cover so that you can get at the screw holding the spout and handle together. Once you unscrew this, you can remove the whole handle. Slide the handle gently off, or if it won’t move, tap on it lightly to loosen it.
Loosen the Bonnet Nut
Because the cartridge or stem is built right in to the faucet, you need to loosen the bonnet nut before you can get into it. This nut is visible as soon as you remove the knob or handle. Use a big wrench to loosen the nut. Once you’ve loosened it, you can remove that piece just by twisting it.
Purchase Good Replacement Parts from Your Hardware Store
Now that you’ve removed it, bring the whole assembly including the bonnet nut with you to the store. Ask the staff to help you find the right replacement parts. You may need a new cartridge, washer, rubber or brass seat for the bottom of the fixture. Don’t worry, the guys at the store generally know exactly what you need as long as you bring in the old one, and they’ll find the right parts for you.
Put it All Back Together
Now that you’ve got the right replacement washer or cartridge, you can reassemble the whole faucet by doing all the steps in the opposite order. First, you’ll place the cartridge in the faucet, tightening the bonnet nut. Next, screw the cover and handle on, and you’re done. Turn on the faucet’s water supply, and you’ll be glad to see that the annoying drip is no longer there.
Try to keep one or two spare washers and cartridges on hand, as you’ll for sure be replacing them sooner or later. That way you won’t have to run out to the store each time, which is a great time saver. It’s also a good idea to have some on hand just in case the one you need isn’t in stock at the store right when you need it.