Quickly Fix Leaky Cartridge-Type Faucets

Whether your faucet leaks from the spout or handles, you'll find it easy to repair with these tips.

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

TIME

Instant!

COMPLEXITY

Simple

COST

Under $20

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