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How to Fix a Leaky Faucet by Replacing a Washer

Step # 1 Remove the Handle

This step may appear to be the simplest part but may turn out to be the most difficult. Sometimes you can when the faucet is long, get to the nut washer without removing the handle. If the stem is short and the handle completely covers the stem and cap nut you may have to remove the handle before getting to the nut.

Step # 2 Removing the Cap Nut

Wrap the nut in heavy adhesive tape because it may otherwise get scratched. If it is an under-the-handle cap nut make sure to keep a hold of thin plastic washer as these are a pain to replace.

Step # 3 Replace the Washer

Unscrew the spindle (to the left for right-handed faucets and to the right for left-handed faucets) and you will see the washer at bottom of the cup at the bottom of the stem. If the cup is missing or broken it needs to be replaced.

Remove the screw holding washer and the washer itself. If the bottom of the cup is rough, or parts of the old washer sticks clean it. Then insert the new washer and screw.

There are two shapes of washer – circular and flat / circular and round on one side. If you can tell what shape it is, get the same shape. If you can not determine the shape get both shapes and see which one works best. You can purchase an assorted box at a hardware store.

Select a washer with a diameter slightly smaller than space provided.

Step # 4 Checking the Seat

When the faucet handle is closed the washer presses against the seat which creates a watertight seal. However, if the surface is rough this means that cracks are present and you will not have a watertight seal.

The seat of the faucet is usually shiny but if you see channels which look darker this means that corrosion has taken place. If after a new washer has been installed and dripping persists you need to remove the seat for closer inspection.