Repairing Cartridge Faucets

How to Repair a Cartridge FaucetCartridge faucets are not as hard to repair as they might look. As long as you have patience and the correct information to work with, you should be able to do it yourself.

A relatively recent innovation, cartridge faucets have rapidly become the most popular faucet type. They generally don’t develop problems even with a lot of use. The only part that may need to be replaced from time to time is the O-ring inside, which can become damaged over time. This rubber ring fits inside a round casing. It’s not visible until you remove the aerator. If the O-ring becomes damaged or broken, you’ll have to repair the faucet. If your faucet is leaking or dripping, you will either have to replace the O-ring or the entire cartridge, depending on the nature of the problem.

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Replacement O-ring


  1. First, shut off the main water supply to the faucet.
  2. Turn on the faucet to drain out the leftover water.
  3. Remove the faucet handle. Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw(s) holding the handle to the body of the faucet.
  4. Once the handle is off, the cartridge inside will be visible. Use pliers to take out the cartridge as well as the retaining clip.
  5. Remove the aerator that’s attached to the ring.
  6. Take out the damaged old O-ring and replace it with a new one.
  7. Put everything back together and turn on the water supply. Turn on the faucet to see if it is working properly without leaking. If the leak is gone, you’ve solved the problem successfully.

If you have an old chrome or brass fixture, be especially careful to protect the surface by laying down some cloth. If your efforts have not succeeded in stopping the leak, it may be the cartridge itself that is damaged or defective. In this case, buy a new cartridge and replace the old one. As before, turn the main water supply off before you begin working.