How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

Do you have a leaking faucet? WaterSmart Systems & Plumbing is here to help. Read on to learn how to repair a leaking faucet. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact WaterSmart and one of our expert plumbers will be happy to perform the job. We have been in business for 25 years, and offer top notch plumbing services - no job is too big or too small. Contact us today!


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How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

A leaking faucet can cause a spike in you water bill and, at worst, lead to major water damage and extensive home repairs. Your best bet is to get on top of the issue right away. It’s a relatively easy fix, but be sure to reach out to an expert if you need help.


Preparing to fix a leaking faucet

Turn off the water supply

Look underneath your sink for the pipes that run up into your sink. Along those pipes, there will be handles that you can turn to shut off the water supply to your sink. Twist clockwise to shut off.

Plug the drain

Use a sink plug if you have one or a rag if necessary. This is to prevent losing a screw or washer down the drain while you’re working on the faucet!

Determine what type of faucet you have 

There are two basic types of faucets that we will examine in this article. A compression faucet has two screw handles, one for hot and one for cold.

ball faucet contains a ball bearing and has one central, swivelling arm that you can swing from hot to cold as desired.

Before you start, you should also gather some tools you may need, including a screwdriver, wrench, and pliers.


Determine what type of faucet you have before you start fixing your leak.


Compression Faucet: How to Fix

  1. Take off the screw cover using a screwdriver or Allen wrench. This is usually decorative and indicates which side is hot or cold. Once the cover is removed, you should be able to reach the set screw, which you can remove with a screwdriver of hex wrench in order to loosen the handle and pull it free.

  2. Use a wrench to remove the exposed nut. You will then find the stem, which sits on top of the O-ring. The O-ring sits on top of a seat washer. The seat washer is usually made of rubber, which can get worn out after a while.

  3. Pull out the stem. This will expose the O-ring, which will be thinner, and seat washer, which will be thicker. If the handles are leaky (as opposed to the faucet), replace the O-ring. Take the old one to the hardware store and use it to find a replacement.

  4. Replace the seat washer. Since these washers vary in size, you might need to bring the old one in with you to a parts store to find an exact match. Coat the replacement in plumber’s grease before installing it.

  5. Reassemble each handle.

This handy video will help further illustrate the steps for how to fix a leaking faucet.


Ball Faucet: How to Fix

  1. Buy a replacement kit. Ball faucets have several parts that will need to be replaced and some that require special tools. All of the stuff you need, including tools, should be available in the plumbing section of most hardware stores.

  2. Remove the handle and use pliers to remove the cap and collar. Also, loosen the faucet cam by using the tool provided in the replacement kit, then remove the faucet cam, washer, and ball. This will look like a "ball and socket" joint - a movable (usually white) rubber ball plugs the socket, stopping up the water and releasing it.

  3. Remove the seals and springs. To do this, you will need to reach into the mechanism itself, probably using needle-nose pliers.

  4. Replace the O-rings. Cut off the old ones and coat the new ones in plumber’s grease before installing.

  5. Install new springs, valve seats, and cam washers. These should all be included in your kit, and should be essentially the reverse of the process you recently completed.

  6. The leak should now be repaired so you can go ahead and reassemble the handle. 

This process is a bit trickier than above, but here’s another handy video that outlines how to fix ball and other single handle faucets.

Have a leaking faucet? Trust WaterSmart to fix it!

Since 1994, WaterSmart Systems & Plumbing has consistently offered its customers in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, and surrounding areas innovative, quality products and excellent service.

We are a full plumbing service company that you can trust, and also offer water softener installation and repair, as well as clean, environmentally-friendly bottled water options.

We value our customers and care about getting you what you need when you need it. 


At WaterSmart Systems & Plumbing, we take our role in providing our customers with an adequate supply of clean drinking water seriously.

“I would highly recommend WaterSmart for your plumbing needs - we called them for some help with ours! I spoke to Greg when I called, he was kind and knowledgeable and even tried trouble-shoot the issues to propose some solutions over the phone - which to not only showed their expertise but also their care and honesty in trying to truly help their customers.“ (Amina Rauf)

Read more customer reviews here

If you have questions about your plumbing, water quality or the type of water you need, drop by one of our locations or give us a call to find out how we can help. 

If you are concerned about your water supply or general plumbing, don't hesitate to contact us immediately.

Trust WaterSmart: We know good water, and we know how to make sure you get it.