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Repair a Leaky Single-Handle Faucet

Leaking bathroom or kitchen faucets can cost money and try your patience. Learn to repair three types of single-handle faucets – ball, cartridge and ceramic disc.

Tools & Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Locate the Leak

A leaky spout means damaged parts inside the body. A leak at the base indicates damaged seals around the body.

Disassemble the Old Faucet

Step 1

Home's main water valve.

Turn off the water with the shut-off valves. If they’re stuck, shut off the main water valve for the house.

Step 2

Faucet parts in order on a towel to protect the sink.

Move the faucet handle to the “on” position to relieve any remaining pressure and release any water in the line. Close the drain and place a towel in the sink to protect the surface and catch any dropped parts.

Good to Know

As you disassemble the old faucet, lay the parts in order on a flat surface and snap a picture for reference. Then, put those parts in a plastic bag and take them to the store with you when shopping. You may require only one part, but it may be best to buy a kit and replace everything, including a new aerator if yours is damaged.

Step 3

Removing the aerator from a leaking faucet.

Remove the aerator and inspect it for damage. If it’s stuck, soak a towel in white vinegar and wrap it around the aerator, securing it with a rubber band or string, for an hour. Then, gently remove it with a towel and pliers.

Replace a Ball Valve

Step 1

Removing set screw from leaky single handle faucet handle.

Loosen the set screw and take off the handle. Use a wrench to remove the cap.

Step 2

Removing ball valve from the faucet.

For leaky spouts, remove the cam, washer and ball.

Step 3

Removing seats and springs from a leaky faucet with a small screwdriver.

Use a small screwdriver to remove the seats and springs.

Step 4

O ring replacements.

To repair leaks at the base, remove the spout and replace the O-rings. Add a little plumber’s grease and replace the spout.

Step 5

Install new seats on new springs. Replace the ball, taking care to line up the holes. Replace the washer and cam. Reassemble the faucet. Turn the handle to the “on” position.

Replace a Cartridge

Step 1

Removing the cap, screw and clip to replace a cartridge.

Remove the cap and take out the screw and clip. Take off the handle and trim ring.

Step 2

Inserting new cartridge into the faucet assembly.

Unscrew the retainer nut and pull out the old cartridge. Install a new cartridge.

Step 3

Reassembling the faucet after repair.

Reassemble the faucet, avoiding over-tightening, and turn the handle to the “on” position.

Replacing a Ceramic Disc

Step 1

Removing handle with a hex wrench.

Remove the handle and trim ring.

Step 2

Removing the retainer nut and cylinder.

Unscrew the retainer nut and pull out the cylinder.

Step 3

Replacing the cylinder to repair a leaky faucet.

Install a new cylinder and reassemble the faucet. Turn the handle to the “on” position.

Water Supply

For all faucets, turn the water supply valve back on slowly. Too much pressure can damage the new parts. Let the water run freely for a few minutes to flush any debris from the new components.


If your aerator shows buildup, soak it in white vinegar to remove deposits. Rinse it thoroughly and screw it into the faucet. If your aerator is damaged, install a new aerator.