01 of 09
Repairing a Two-Handle Cartridge Faucet
Repairing a leaky faucet is one of the most common repairs in the home. However, due to the various types of faucets available, many homeowners don't know where to start or think the new style faucets are too complicated to repair. I'll show you how easy it can be in this tutorial and you'll save yourself $75 in plumbing bills in the process.
As we mentioned, there are several styles of faucets. This tutorial is on replacing a two handle cartridge type bathroom faucet.
Needed Tools and... Materials
Continue to 2 of 9 below.
- Allen Wrench
- Pipe Wrench or Channel-Lock Pliers
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
02 of 09
Turn Off Water Supply at Sink
The first step in the faucet repair is to locate the water shutoff to your faucet and turn off the water to the leaking faucet. The water shutoff is usually found directly under the sink and consists of a small valve and a small handle. If the valve is similar to the style shown here, turn the handle clockwise to tighten and shut it off. More modern valves may have a toggle style lever that needs to be turned so it is opposite how you find it when the valve is open and the water is running.
If... your house does not have local shutoff valves, then you'll need to go to the water main and shut off the water supply there (see how to shut off a water supply).
Once the water is shut off, then open the faucet fully releasing any pressure and letting the water drain out.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
Remove Handle Lever or Cover Plate
Since no one wants to look at an unsightly connection holding your faucet handle together, the handle body will be attached discreetly to the faucet cartridge. The connection may be concealed under a plastic cover plate as found on the top of some handles or on the side and under a handle as shown in this photo. In any case, in order to gain access to the attaching screw, you'll probably have to remove a cover plate or handle first.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
Remove Faucet Body
Once you have removed the faucet handle or cover plate, you can gain access to the screw holding the faucet body to the cartridge. The screw may be a Phillips head screw if found on top of the handle (under a plastic cover plate) or it may be a discrete Allen screw like the one shown in the above photo. Remove the screw and lift the faucet body off the faucet cartridge stem.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Remove Locking Nut Securing Faucet Cartridge
Once the faucet body is removed, you can then access the locking nut that is probably holding the cartridge down. Some models of faucets don't have a lock nut but most do. Loosen and remove the nut by using a pipe wrench as shown here or Channel-Lock type pliers.
Note the brass screw at the top of this cartridge. Its purpose is to reinforce the stem when the faucet body's Allen screw is tightened against it. You may need to remove this old screw and reuse it in the new cartridge as not... all replacement cartridges come with a new screw.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
Remove Old Faucet Cartridge and Purchase Replacement
Once the lock ring is removed, simply lift the old cartridge out. You may need to use some pliers since these can get stuck a little.
Now that you have it removed, it's time for a little trip to the hardware store to get a replacement cartridge. It's usually a good idea to bring the old faucet cartridge along as it makes finding a replacement a lot more fool proof. Sometimes the hardware store clerks just need to see the old one and can immediately show you where to find the replacement.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
The Faucet Cartridge - What it Looks Like
We know you've been wondering what this little guy looks like anyway. Well, here he is in all his glory. A simple little invention that makes plumbing simple and easy.
The faucet cartridge is self-contained with all the inner workings necessary to let your water flow and shut off easy and reliably.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
Replace With New Faucet Cartridge
Now that you have your new cartridge in hand, replace the little brass screw in the top of the shaft if necessary and then place the cartridge back into its housing. Be careful to align the cartridge according to the slots in the housing and the faucet cartridge itself. It's not hard, there is really only one way this will work anyway.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Reassemble Faucet and Restore Water Supply
Now all you have to do is reassemble the faucet by replacing the lock ring, tighten the faucet body down and replace the handle or cover plate. Restore the water supply and check for leaks. But don't worry. If you followed the directions in this tutorial you won't have any.
Now you can get that good night's sleep you've been trying for without the faucet taunting you any longer!