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Faucets play the key role of dispensing water in the house and save you the hassle of fetching it using buckets and containers. They are designed with a valve that regulates the flow of water. When the valve opens, the water flows, and when the valve closes, the water stops. But in case the faucet valve gets damaged, can it be repaired?
A faucet valve can be repaired in a few simple steps. You can do it yourself without calling a plumber. First, you’ll have to determine the type of valve your faucet uses and then follow the procedure to repair it. Sometimes, the faucet valve could be too worn out and require a replacement.
Today, most faucets use valves to control water flow, unlike when faucets had rubber washers that acted as water stoppers.
These newer faucets have different types of valves, including a ball valve, a compression valve, a ceramic disc valve, and a cartridge valve. This article discusses each of these valves and how you can repair them depending on the one you have.
Faucets are made of strong corrosion-resistant material so that they can last for a long time. However, over the years, the material weakens due to continuous use and can get corroded.
You may notice that something is wrong with your faucet when you notice constant leaks, funny rusty taste in the water, or looseness when trying to close the tap.
When you notice constant water leaking at the base of the faucet, whether the faucet is on or off, the problem is with the faucet valve. The faucet valves can go bad for many reasons depending on the faucet type you are using.
For instance, if you are using a ball valve faucet, you may notice some leaks if the rubber O-rings or the spring rubber seals dry out.
This means they are not flexible enough to support the ball valve, and so it sinks and allows some water to flow even when the faucet is turned off.
Also, if you have used the faucet for some time, the springs tend to lose their strength and weaken with time. That means that the rotating ball valve may not have enough support to control the water as it would be expected.
On the other hand, ceramic disc valves and cartridge valves mostly used in areas that require hot and cold water can get bad when mineral deposits like calcium settle on them.
In the case of compression valves, the rubber washer may have worn out, or there is a stem packing all around the rubber O-ring or the valve stem.
You’ll notice that in all these cases, the faucet valves do go bad, and you can either fix them or replace them with new ones depending on the extent of damage and the type of faucet you are using.
As mentioned earlier, you can easily fix a faucet valve depending on its type and the kind of damage it has. Let’s look at different types of faucet valves and how to fix them.
You’re likely to find a ball-type faucet in most areas because it is the most commonly used type of faucet in today’s plumbing industry. It has a single handle that you use to control the ball valve inside the faucet.
Around the ball valve, rubber O-rings and spring-loaded rubber seals are positioned there to support the valve. You can feel the movement of the valve when you turn the faucet handle.
When you notice some leaking from this kind of faucet, you should know that the primary cause of the leak could be a result of dried-up seals. It could also leak when the springs lose their flexibility and weaken or when the ball valve cracks.
Another cause of the leak could be when the O-rings dry out at the base of the faucet or when there is a build-up of the mineral deposits.
You can tell what the problem is by checking the position of the leak. For example, if the leak is happening at the base of the faucet (at the bottom of the spout), then the O-rings are worn out, which could be the reason for the leak.
On the other hand, if the leak is at the tip of the spout, the problem is at the valve, and the water is passing through even when the faucet is off.
At this point, there are three possibilities: the springs are worn out, the rubber seals are loose, or the ball valve is damaged.
First, you’ll need to inspect the whole faucet so that you can identify the real problem. Disassemble the faucet for a clear visual inspection. Once you have identified the problem, bring out a faucet repair kit and get to work.
Other materials you may need include an Allen wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, heatproof plumber’s grease, a utility knife, and an extra valve ball in case you need it.
Ensure that the repair kit you choose is the same model as your faucet.
Also, ensure that the water is turned off so that you can have an easy time fixing the faucet valve. If you have not disassembled the faucet, then it’s time to do so carefully.
Start by removing the faucet handle using an Allen wrench, and then use channel-lock pliers to remove the faucet’s top cap.
You can now disassemble the ball assembly as you pay attention to how each one of them is positioned and the direction they are facing.
This includes the cam, the cam washer, the valve seals, and the spring rubber seals. The flat blade screwdriver comes in handy in helping to remove these parts.
As you remove them, you can inspect the ball valve for any cracks or any mineral build-up that could be making it fail. This will help you determine whether to replace the ball or clean it and use it as it is.
The next step is to remove the spout so that you can replace its O-rings and then fix it back. It’s not complicated. You’ll only need to coat the new O-ring with the heatproof plumber’s grease and fix it into the groove. Once it’s in place, put back the spout and press it in until it’s well-positioned.
If the valve seal is worn out, you can install new ones from the repair kit. Fit in each spring into a rubber seal and drop them into the faucet body.
Once you are done, you may need to position them correctly using the tip of the flat-end screwdriver.
If the ball valve had a problem like cracking or too much mineral deposit build-up, you could replace it with a new ball. Position the ball correctly by aligning the ball’s peg with the slot provided in the faucet housing.
You can now put back the cam washer and the cam following each other and press them hard to fit into their place. With that done, you can reassemble your faucet and run a test on it. Turn on the water and turn it off as you observe any instances of leaking.
Cartridge faucet valves are commonly used in the bathroom where they can have two handles: one for hot water and one for cold water.
Cartridge valves are new in the market, and so if you have a pretty old valve, it could be a compression valve.
If your faucet has had leaks, then something is wrong with the faucet valve. Before you start fixing it, ensure that you have turned off the water on the main shutoff valve.
For this repair exercise, you’ll need Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a plumber’s grease, a pipe wrench, an Allen wrench, and new cartridges in case you need to replace them.
The first step is to remove the faucet handle so that you can reach the cartridge inside. Ensure that you pay attention to how the handle is installed so that you’ll have an easy time putting it back. You can use Phillips screwdriver or an Allen wrench, depending on the type of the handle and how it is installed.
In most cases, you’ll find that the cartridge has a retaining nut inside it whose purpose is to support the cartridge shaft when the faucet’s body is tightened hard against it.
You will need to remove this retaining nut with the help of a wrench.
You can then remove the old cartridge and fix it in the new cartridge. As you remove the old cartridge, it’s important to check how it is fixed so that you can fix the new one in the same way.
You can then put back the retaining nut and reassemble the faucet.
Most new cartridges do not come with accompanying retaining nuts, so you can clean them properly, ready for reuse after removing the old retaining nut.
If you are unsure of the type and size of cartridge you have, you can carry the old cartridge to your nearest store and get a similar one. This is important so that you can get one that fits in correctly.
Once you have finished installation, you can turn on the water and test how the new cartridge is working. If you put back everything correctly, it should work excellently without any leaking incidents.
Unlike the ball and cartridge faucet valve, a disc faucet valve is a little complicated, thanks to its unique design. That means the repair procedure is also different and not as straightforward as the others.
When you look at all the faucets on the outside, they all look similar, and it would be hard to tell which one is a ceramic disc faucet.
A ceramic disk faucet operates through a forward and back motion as well as a right-left rotation. It has a special cartridge fitted with ceramic discs such that one disc is completely fixed while the other disc is moveable.
When you move the handle, the discs slide within the cartridge, and the holes on the discs align to let the water flow through them.
Most people prefer this faucet valve because it requires less attention and lasts for a long time before needing any kind of repair.
Unlike in other faucets where you can replace the one part that is damaged, a ceramic disc faucet valve calls for a replacement of the whole cartridge.
In your repair exercise, you’ll need a screwdriver, a pipe wrench, an old toothbrush, an Allen wrench, a utility knife, a Heatproof plumber’s grease, a new O-ring, a new cartridge in case you need to replace the old one.
The first step is to turn off the water at the main valve so that you can have an easy time fixing it. Open the faucet to let the remaining water in the pipe flow out and relieve any pressure build-up.
You can then remove the faucet handle that is attached to the faucet body and the cartridge. Some have a plastic cap that you can easily remove, while others will call for the use of a Phillips screwdriver or the Allen wrench.
After loosening the mounting screw, you can pull the handle until it comes out.
The next step is to remove the disc cartridge so that you can inspect it properly for any damage. Some disc cartridges are held together with screws or a mounting ring so that they can remain in position.
Be sure to remove these holdings before you remove the cartridge discs carefully.
You can now check for any damages in terms of cracks, rust, etc. In the event where the ceramic disc is broken, you’ll need to replace it. If the disc is not damaged, you’ll only need to clean it thoroughly with clean water, and it will be good again.
After fixing it, you can now reassemble the faucet and test it to ensure no more leaks.
Compression faucet valves are the oldest types of faucet valves and are commonly found in old homes.
They are designed to use a washer for shutting off and allowing water to pass. When the faucet handle is turned, it compresses the washer and blocks the water from passing.
When the handle is turned on, it releases the compressed washer allowing the water to pass through.
When replacing the washer, you’ll need materials like channel-type pliers, Phillips screwdriver, a flat-blade screwdriver, waterproof plumber’s grease, and replacement stem washer and O-ring.
Before you start with the repair, ensure that you shut off the water from the main supply and let the remaining water flow out.
Then you can proceed to remove the faucet handle so that you are able to expose the inside parts of the faucet.
In these old types of faucet handles, you’ll find many screws holding the handle in position, so you’ll need a screwdriver to drive them out. You can use other tools depending on the design of the faucet handle and its complexity.
After removing the handle, you can now remove the valve system cover so that you can expose the washer. The cover is usually well secured with screws, so it may take you some time to unscrew it.
The washer is positioned at the bottom end, so you must locate it and remove it. Like other parts of the valve system, the washer is held in position by brass screws which can be removed using the flat-blade screwdriver.
Once you have removed it, inspect it properly to see whether there are any damages to it. You can also scrub it well to remove any mineral deposits that might have built upon it.
You can also clear any residual rubber pieces so that if you choose to install a new washer, they can fit in a clean space.
If you are unsure what size or type of washer you have in your faucet, you can carry the old washer to the hardware store and find a similar one. You’ll buy the washer as a complete repair kit with new O-rings.
With the new materials, you can now replace the O-rings and the washer and coat the O-rings with the heatproof plumber’s grease.
The grease serves to block any loopholes that may cause any more leakages.
Once the new washer and O-rings are in place, you can now reassemble the faucet, putting the things in their right position. Be sure to screw it back like it was in the beginning.
The last step is to test and see whether there will be more leaks from the faucet. Therefore, turn on the water supply and try turning the handle on and off.
A leaking faucet can waste so much water in the long run. So, the only remedy is to repair the faucet valve so that there is no more leaking.
These DIY methods discussed in this article are easy, cheap, and time-saving because you’ll spend at most 2 hours repairing them.
The goal is to keep your faucet functioning optimally without creating a bigger mess.