Can you give me a step-by-step guide to changing a washer? Read this Leaky Faucet Washer Replacement Step by Step Guide, then, you can fix the leaking faucet by yourself without calling a plumber service.
Faucet Washer Replacement
Leaky faucets are one of the most common issues homeowners encounter. Fixing these leaks yourself may be easier than dealing with unreliable plumbing contractors, and certainly cost less than hiring a franchise service company. Repairing a leaky faucet is relatively simple, but you may want to consider “replacing the faucet” with a newer faucet. Newer faucets have ceramic disc cartridges and other washerless designs which allow for years of drip free operation. One thing you can be certain of, if you decide to replace worn washers, eventually they will break down again in some cases sooner than later.
These older faucets rely on a rubber washer compressing on a metal seat to form a seal which prevents water from passing to the spout, when water beings passing through the spout with the handle in the off position, you have a drip. These leaks will typically occur on the hot side of the faucet because the hot water will soften the washer. The constant compression of the soft washer on the metal seat causes the washer to wear. Regardless of where the leak occurs, it is always best to replace all the seats, washers, and brass washer screws at the same time. The seat is soft brass and may be worn or have a burr that is damaging the washer, with everything apart it makes sense to change the seat as well. In some cases the seat will not be removable, but most are. Removable seats will have a square or hexagonal hole through the center of the seat to accept a stem wrench. The parts are inexpensive, and there isn’t much additional labor involved in changing all the parts discussed above.
Before beginning be sure you know where the water main shutoff valve is located. You shouldn’t need to turn the water off to the house, but just incase you have a problem it is good to know. Time to replace an old faucet? Start saving up to 40% on Brand Names for Your Kitchen and Bath.
1. Turn off the water.
Below the sink there should be two angle or straight stops which supply the faucet. When turned clockwise these valves should stop the flow of water to the handles. Turn the faucet on while the angle stops are closed, there should be no water flowing. In the case water is still flowing you may have bad valves, which replacing isn’t as easy as replacing washers. You may need to turn off the water main before you proceed.
2. Remove the Handles.
Once the flow of water through the faucet stops you can begin to dismantle the handles. More often than not the handles are secured by screws which tighten the handle to the stem which you can not see at this point. The screw is often concealed by a button or other decorative cap that simply pushes into the handle. There may be a small notch in this button where you can gently pry with a small screwdriver or knife blade to remove it.
Once the button is removed the screw which secures the handle to the stem should be visible. Loosen the screw to remove the handle. In some cases, the handle screws in tub and shower faucets may be too badly corroded to remove with a screwdriver, and may require the use of an easy out or in more serious cases the screw can be drilled out.
3. Remove the stem.
Below the handle there will be a nut which is threaded into the valve body, often referred to as the packing nut. Remove the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise. Once the packing nut is removed you can place the handle back on top of the stem, you do not need to reinstall the handle screw at this time, and spin the stem counterclockwise to remove it from the valve body.
With the stem removed some investigating is required. First, what washer will you need? The washer is secured by a small brass screw at the very bottom of the stem. Second, what seat is required? Look inside the valve body where the stem used to reside, there will be a small circular brass ring. This is your seat. Removable seats will have a squre hole through the center which will accept a seat wrench. Fit the seat wrench into the seat and turn counterclockwise to remove it. Third, should the stem be replaced? Your local plumbing supply will have many replacement faucet parts available. Bring the seat and stem with you if you need help identifying the parts..
If the seat can not be removed there are resurfacing tools available. There are few problems with this scenario. First, resurfacing the seats isn’t very effective, and more than likely, you do not own a resurfacing tool. At this point if you are willing to purchase additional tools, and parts, and can’t guarantee how long this repair will last I would recommend purchasing a reasonably priced faucet. You will be happier long term.
If any part of the old washer is missing it may have fallen down into the valve body when the water was turned off. You may want to open the valves below the sink ever so slightly with the stems removed to clean any debris out of the valve body. Debris left in the valve stem may interfere with the new washers seating properly, and may cause a different leak condition even though you successfully replaced the seats and washer. You will have to remove the stem again to remove this debris from the valve body.
4. Replacing the washer and the seat.
With any luck you have returned from the plumbing supply or hardware store with new seats, washers, and brass screws for each handle, or alternatively new stems. If you have a complete new stem you can simply rethread it into the valve body and reassemble the handle. If not fit a new seat onto the stem wrench and lower it into the valve body. Tighten the new seat by turning the stem wrench clockwise. Install a new washer on the bottom of the stem and secure with a new brass screw. Thread the stem into the valve body. Repeat for each handle and turn the water on below the sink to test. If successful you shouldn’t have any dripping water. Turn the handles on and off to be certain of proper operation.