A leaky faucet is annoying, and an expensive annoyance at that. Overtime, faucet leaks, including small drops, can lead to wasted water, potential water damage, and higher water bills. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to fix a leaky faucet! Just follow these basic steps to put an end to the constant dripping.

Tools and Supplies

You’ll need a few tools to help you fix that leaky faucet. We recommend gathering up all your tools before you get started to help the job go quickly. The tools you’ll need include:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Scouring pad
  • Washers and seals
  • White vinegar


Now that your tools are ready, you can get started on fixing that leaky faucet

  1. Shut off the water
    Your first step when performing any work on the plumbing of your home will be to shut off the water. Simply locate the shutoff valve below the sink, and turn the handle clockwise. This should shut off the flow of water to the faucet.
  2. Remove faucet handles
    While this varies depending on your faucet, most faucets allow you to use a flathead screwdriver to remove any decorative caps. Taking these off should reveal the handle screws. Unscrew these, and the handles should come right off!
  3. Remove cartridge or valve stem
    Your next step will be to remove the cartridge or valve stem. If your faucet has a cartridge, you can simply pull it straight out of the faucet. If it uses a valve stem, you will need to unscrew it from the valve body.
  4. Inspect parts
    Now that you have the cartridge or valve stem removed, it’s time to carefully inspect the parts of the faucet looking for any damage.
  5. Replace damaged parts
    Once you’ve identified which part of your faucet is old or damaged, it’s time to replace them! We recommend taking the part that needs replacing straight to the hardware store. An associate will be able to help you identify a suitable replacement part.
  6. Clean the faucet
    Using the white vinegar, clean the faucet to remove any buildup of mineral scale.
  7. Reassemble
    With the faucet clean and all parts in working order, it’s time to put the faucet back together! Just reverse the order in which you took the faucet apart. Don’t forget to turn the water supply back on!

By following these steps, your faucet should be back to normal. If you find that you’re still plagued by a leaky faucet, it may be time to call in the professionals. At First Chicago Plumbing, we can help you figure out the source of that leak. Just give us a call at (773) 661-7969.