Category: Plumbing

Plumbers: Replacing Faucet Handles

Plumbers Clearwater FL install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems in homes and businesses. They use their knowledge of water pipe systems and local codes and regulations to ensure safe and efficient installations. They also collaborate with construction teams and architects to ensure that plumbing is integrated seamlessly into new building projects.

Plumbing is a physical job that requires manual strength and stamina. It can also be hazardous, as plumbers often work with sewage and other toxic materials.

The faucet handle is the part that controls the flow of water. While the handle may seem like a small detail, it plays an important role in a sink’s functionality and aesthetic. The different types of handles available can enhance a sink’s design or match it with other fixtures in a home’s bathroom. For this reason, choosing the right faucet handle is vital to a homeowner’s satisfaction with their home’s fixtures. In the event of a leaky or dripping faucet, replacing the handle can solve the problem. This is a relatively easy DIY project that can be completed with basic tools.

Faucet handles are typically attached to a base via a screw that is hidden out of sight to add to the faucet’s appearance. Often, this screw is located underneath decorative caps that read “hot” and “cold.” When removing these caps, carefully apply pressure to the cap in order to pop it off. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the cap and expose the screw. Depending on the type of faucet, the screw may be in a different location. If the screw is difficult to loosen, spray it with penetrating oil several times a day for about a week.

A one-handle faucet cartridge has a metal stem that relays the handle movement to the bonnet bottom to start, stop or mix hot and cold water. A two-handle faucet uses a ceramic disk or a plunger to control the flow of water. A retaining clip holds a ceramic disk cartridge or a plunger in place.

Before beginning a faucet repair, turn off the water supply by turning the valves under the sink to the “off” position. Next, inspect and diagnose the faucet issue to determine what is causing it to leak or drip. Once the problem has been identified, purchase the replacement parts needed to fix it. Depending on the specific model, this may include new seals, O-rings or a cartridge. After obtaining the replacement parts, follow the instructions for your specific faucet model to complete the repair. When finished, turn the water back on and test the faucet to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Faucet Body

The faucet body houses the hot and cold water lines and the valves that control the flow of water from the spout. It may be constructed of metal (brass, stainless steel or chrome-plated brass) or plastic and is the part of the faucet that’s visible when you look at the sink. The faucet body is found in a variety of styles, such as one- or two-hole designs with or without sprayer heads, or bridge designs that join two separate valves to blend hot and cold water before it passes through the spout. The faucet body is also the base of the spout that projects from the faucet.

Corrosion of parts within the faucet may lead to deformation of the water inlet ports or to water leaks. A plumber often replaces the entire faucet, or parts of the faucet, to correct problems with water flow.

Before you begin a repair, shut off the water to the faucet by turning the shutoff valves under the sink. If you can’t find the shutoff valves, turn off the main water supply to your home at the meter.

Once the water is off, you can remove the handle held to the faucet body with a tiny screw on top or back of the handle. If there’s a decorative cap on the screw, remove it with a flat-head or Phillips screwdriver. Then, use a wrench or pipe wrench to unscrew the hex nut section of the valve stem assembly, which is typically located where it meets the faucet body.

If you have a cartridge-style faucet, remove the handle, then unscrew the dome assembly under the handle with a wrench or slip-joint pliers. Then, unscrew the metal handle adapter from the faucet, and lift off the handle. Use a wrench to unscrew the set screw holding the plastic handle retainer. Finally, use a wrench or pipe wrench to loosen the set screw on the bottom of the valve stem, and then remove it.

When you’ve removed the handle and the valve stem assembly, remove the spout to access the o-ring. This rubber seal prevents the valve seat washer from touching the metal valve stem and keeps the valve seats from sealing improperly. You may need to replace the o-ring if it appears worn or damaged.

Faucet Seat Washer

If you have a faucet that drips, it usually has one or more components that need repair. One of these is the washer, which creates a seal against the faucet seat. When the washer wears out, it no longer presses tightly against the seat, and the faucet continues to leak. The drip can also cause mineral deposits and discoloration in the sink and pipes. A plumber can replace or repair the washer or valve seat.

The first step in repairing a leaky faucet is to turn off the water supply. Look underneath the sink and locate the water shutoff valve. Turn the handle for hot and cold water to the off position. You can also close the drain plug in the sink to stop the flow of water.

Remove the screw or nut that holds the faucet cover and carefully pry it up. If the cover has a buildup of grime, it may be difficult to lift. After removing the cover, place an old towel or washcloth over the sink drain to prevent any screws or parts from falling down the drain and creating an even bigger problem.

Take apart the faucet, if necessary, to access the stem. You may need to remove the escutcheon and packing nut. Bath and shower faucets with a single-handle ball inside to control both the hot and cold water typically have a renewable seat that can be smoothed or replaced using a tool called a valve seat dresser or seat wrench (Fig. 1). If the faucet seat is not renewable, a replacement seat sleeve can be inserted in its place.

If the faucet is leaking from the handle, it is likely caused by the adjusting-ring tension or cam gasket. These can be repaired with a wrench or pliers. Leaks from the spigot are often caused by worn washer seats or cartridges. These can be replaced with new parts. A plumber can also use a valve seat grinder or dresser to smooth out a worn valve seat. This is done by inserting the tool into the hole and turning it with moderate pressure. The goal is to remove the sharp edges of the seat and improve its ability to hold a washer against it.

Faucet O-Ring

A worn-out O-ring can cause water to leak out around the faucet spout base. If you notice water at the base of your faucet, replacing the O-ring is a quick and easy fix.

Before beginning any repairs, make sure the water to your faucet is completely turned off. Locate the shut-off valves under the sink and turn them clockwise to close them. If your faucet has a diverter valve, you’ll also need to close that.

Most kitchen faucets have one or more O-rings that prevent water from leaking out around the spout base. If these rings become worn, you’ll see water at the base of your faucet spout every time you turn on the water. To replace these O-rings, you’ll need to remove the spout from its socket. You can do this by removing the coupling nut at the bottom of the spout with a wrench and working it up and out of its socket. Once you’ve removed the spout, use a utility knife to cut off any old O-rings and coat any new ones with nontoxic plumber’s grease.

You can find the right O-rings for your faucet by using our Faucet O-Ring Selector tool. After you’ve installed the new O-rings, you can reconnect the spout to its socket by screwing the neck back on to the faucet body. Remember to test the water supply valves before turning on your faucet.

If you’re repairing a cartridge-style faucet, bring the old cartridge with you to the hardware store or home center so you can find an exact replacement. Some cartridges have different lengths, so it’s important to match the replacement to your current faucet. Bringing the old faucet with you will also help you find the right size wrench for removing the handle screw. Before you install the new cartridge, you should apply a small amount of plumber’s grease to the O-rings to reduce friction and help them seat properly in the faucet body. When you’re ready to install the new cartridge, be sure to replace the little brass screw in the top of the cartridge shaft with a new one.

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