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Quickly Fix Leaky Cartridge-Type Faucets

We'll take the mystery out of cartridge-type faucets and show you how to fix them yourself. Regardless of where the faucet is leaking, you can make the DIY repair by following the steps in this story. It doesn't take any plumbing expertise, and it'll finally put an end to that annoying leak.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Quickly Fix Leaky Cartridge-Type Faucets

We'll take the mystery out of cartridge-type faucets and show you how to fix them yourself. Regardless of where the faucet is leaking, you can make the DIY repair by following the steps in this story. It doesn't take any plumbing expertise, and it'll finally put an end to that annoying leak.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Quick fix for leaky cartridge-type faucets

They sure don’t make ’em like they used to—and when it comes to faucets, it’s a good thing. In the old days, repairing a leaky faucet could be as simple as replacing a rubber washer, but more likely it involved struggling with corroded screws and stripped valve stems.

New faucets are easy to take apart, and replacement parts are readily available at most hardware stores, home centers and plumbing supply stores. Of course, there are still many different brands and styles, so it’s best to shut the water off, disassemble the faucet, and take the parts along to assure a perfect match.

If your faucet leaks from the spout, replace the seats and springs (Photos 1 – 3). If it continues to drip from the spout after replacing the seats and springs, replace the cartridge, too. If your faucet leaks around the handles, the O-rings on the cartridge are bad. Buy a new kit that includes a new cartridge and O-rings.

Kits containing faucet repair parts are readily available at hardware stores and home centers. We spent $3 for a set of seats and springs that fit both Delta and Peerless faucets. You’ll also need a small tube of plumber’s grease (Photo 3). Leaks usually develop on the hot side, but replace the seats on both hot and cold sides while you’re at it.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Allen wrench
    • Pliers

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Plumbers putty
    • New seats
    • New spring

You may also need a new cartridge and O-rings

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 4 of 4 comments
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January 22, 9:49 AM [GMT -5]

all steps were easy to follow. repair for Moen, Delta and some other brands have a lifetime warranty. Check online for a contact number and they will send you the part or parts free, saving you the cost of the parts and a trip to the box store.

October 22, 4:05 PM [GMT -5]

The Family Handyman instruction photos provided me with the detailed instructions I needed for rebuilding the Delta twin faucet set installed on the sink in our master bath.
The step-by-step guide was clear, informative, and well executed. I should have paid more attention to the orientation of the notches on the cartridge for both hot and cold prior to removing them. After a few tries, I finally figured out how to properly orient the handles.

My plumber quoted me $120 to do this job. I decided to tackle it myself after viewing your web site. Also, I elected to purchase all new Delta stems, springs, and seats, as well as the plumbers grease. My out of pocket costs (less Tax) was slightly over $39.00. The dripping at the faucet has now ceased thanks to your well written and photographed instructions!

October 21, 7:18 PM [GMT -5]

Your instructions are very easy for this type faucet. I have one the first Cartridge-type
faucets made, there is no name brand visible to me so I cannot give you the name
brand. I was told by friends that are pretty handy around the house that I need a special tool to take out the cartridge to repair it. After inspecting the faucet I fine this to be true, not as easy as you discribe in your quick fix. Could you send or email
instructions how to fix my older cartridge faucet? sonny Minnick sonny2021@hotmai.com....

July 15, 6:12 AM [GMT -5]

I have a shower faucet, single handle Delta, leaking around the handle. Do I assume the repair would be basically the same?
You say have plumber's putty (part of your list of items needed) but show putting a thin layer of plumber's grease on. Is the plumber's grease the same as plumber's putty?
Thanks - rstauffer

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