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How To Fix A Leaky Kitchen Faucet With Two Handles

The drip, dripping from a kitchen faucet is no fun. It can be annoying, but the good news is that the problem that you can fix it in a short time.

We will show you how to get it done quickly, cheaply and in record time.

The tools you will need include:

  • Replacement Parts
  • Allen wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver

First things First

Before you start, check to see exactly which part of the faucet is leaking. Some leaks can be from the spout or the base of the tap.

Turn off the Water

Stop the water supply either from the vale under the sink or the valve to your home.

After the water is off, let the water drain from the faucet to help release the pressure in the pipe.

Next, use a cloth or a filter and cover the drains so that the small parts do not go down the shoot.

Take note of the parts and how they fit together.  You can take a picture, or lay them on a towel or cloth in the order you took them off. It will help you re-assemble them in the same order.

Make a Check

Now the parts are off, check inside the valve for damaged or corroded parts.

Clean up

Debris and mineral deposits can block the holes in the pipe.

  • A few scrapes with a penknife or screwdriver can clear them quickly
  • Clean the area with a cloth and use some vinegar to help loosen any build-up present

Reassemble the parts and slowly open the shut-off valve to switch the water on. Let the tap run to release any build up of air in the pipes.

Check for the flow in the pipeline

If it is slower than usual, you may need to take the aerator out and clean it.

Matching your replacement faucet

All faucets are not the same. Some may be:

  • Rotary shaped
  • Cartridge-style
  • Ceramic

Make a note of the faucet’s make and model number beforehand. If you’re not sure about a replacement faucet, take the old part to the store and match it up with a new one. Some models may vary. Look for the best possible fit.

How to install a rotary ball faucet

Some rotary faucets have a brass or plastic ball that rotates in a socket to regulate the water temperature and flow.

  1. If there’s a leak near the base of your faucet handle, you may need to detach the handle and tighten the ring.
  2. Turn it until it stys firmly in place. If the spout is leaking, the seats and springs may need replacing.


  • Align the strings in the grooves, then connect the rubber seats.
  • Position the pin and ball in the slot and secure them in place
  • Attach the lug to the plastic cam. Ensure the groove is inside the valve
  • Position it on the ball

After you thread on the cap, re-inforce it with a spanner. Check for any leaks by allowing the water to run for a while.

If the ball is leaking, tighten it with a spanner until the leaking stops. Re-attach handle.

How to install a cartridge faucet

Over time leaks may occur at the hot or coal mixer or the spout.

The O-rings may need replacing, or the full cartridge is damaged. Match it with a new one at your local store.

Loosen the cartridge with a spanner to remove it. Put a little pressure on the handle until it comes off.


For this type faucet, reassemble the parts in the opposite order. Before you insert the cartridge, pull the stem up.

Next, align it with the brass retainer clip. If it shifts, give it a few twists to steady it.

  1. Rotate the cartridge with needle-nose pliers or plastic spanner. Slip the brass clip into the slot to help to secure it into position.
  2. Locate the notch above the stem of the faucet, and turn the notch towards you.
  3. Put the rest of the parts together and re-connect the handle.

Helpful Hints:

  • Check the directions for the stem in your manual
  • Test the faucet to see if it is working correctlyor if there are any leaks
  • If the hot and cold water is in the opposite order, take off each part and turn the stem until it sits in place

How to install a ceramic type faucet

Ceramic style faucets have discs inside the tap that regulate water flow. The valve is usually durable but may need fixing at some point.

Splits or cracks may be difficult to detect, so it’s safer to replace the seals and re-attach the faucet.

  1. As you switch the water on, let the faucet remain open to allow pent-up pressure to get out.
  2. A full blast of air pressure may burst the ceramic parts.
  3. When the water flow evens out, turn the faucet off.

If the spout is leaking

Wear and tear on the O-rings may cause the spout to leak.

  • Take out the cartridge and handle, then pull the spout out
  • Match it up with a replacement at the store or buy a new kit if available


A clogged diverter valve may slow down water flow in the sprayer.

Look for the diverter close to the spout.

Give the sprayer a thorough clean with vinegar or change it if needed.

How to fix a leaky single handle kitchen faucet

  • Single handle faucets come in three basic types:
  • Ceramic discs
  • Cartridge
  • Ball

Your tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Replacement Faucet Parts
  • Tongue-and-Groove

Get to the source

Leaking water will damage the inner parts of the pipe. To fix the leaks:

Locate the shut-off valves and switch the water off. If this fails, turn off the water supply to the house.

Release the pressure and excess water

Turn the handle to the “on” setting, and let the air and water out of the line. Secure small parts by placing a cloth or towel to keep them from slipping away.

Helpful Hints:

As you remove each part, be careful to stack them in the same order to reassemble them later. You may need to take some of them to the store to match up with replacements.


  1. The aerator: Take it out and examine it for wear and tear or damage. Have some vinegar on hand to help loosen it up if it’s hard to come off.
  2. The ball valve:
  • Use a wrench to loosen the screw and take the handle off
  • Take out the cam, washer, and ball if the spout is leaking
  • Lift off the seats and springs with a small screwdriver
  • If there is a leak in the base, take out the spout and change the O-rings
  • You may replace the spout if needed
  • Set it in place with some plumber’s grease

Replace each part as needed, including:

  • The ball
  • The seats
  • The springs

Line up the holes, so the balls fit snugly in place.

Insert the washer and cam.

Put the faucet back together, and return the handle to the “on” position.

How to replace the cartridge

  1. Remove the handle and the trim ring.
  2. Detach the nut and remove the old cartridge. Replace it with the correct part.
  3. Put the faucet back together, and switch the handle to the “on” setting. Tighten it as needed.

How to replace a ceramic disc

First, take out the handle and the trim ring.

Loosen the nut and take out the cylinder.

Insert the new cylinder and out the faucet back together. Switch the handle to the “on” setting.


  1. The water supply: Gradually switch the water supply back on. Let the tap flow for a few minutes. The water helps wash away any material from around the parts.
  2. The aerator: If there’s debris or dust around the aerator, use some vinegar to loosen it up. Give it a good wash and screw it back into position. If it’s beyond repair, change it.

How to fix a leaky two-handle kitchen faucet

There are three main types of two-handle faucets:

  • Cartridge
  • Compression or reverse compression
  • Ceramic Disc

Your tools:

  • Faucet Replacement Parts
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers

Helpful Hint:

Disc parts and cartridge parts are easy to spot. Ceramic disc parts tend to swivel to open the pieces on the base. The cartridge parts stay in place.

First, check the source of the leak. Turn off the water valves and check to see which side of the faucet is leaking.

  1. If one side continues to leak while the valve is off, it may be the other line.
  2. When you find out which line is leaking, turn the water supply off.
  3. If you have any problems closing the valves, turn it off from the house ’s water source.
  4. You may need to replace both the hot can cold taps if the valve is hard to shut off.

Dismantling the damaged faucet

  • Switch the handle to the “on” setting to let the water in the pipe escape
  • Seal the drain and protect delicate parts with a towel or rag
  • Take out the aerator and check for any damage
  • If it needs cleaning, use some vinegar to break up the debris around it
  • After some time, twirl the aerator with a towel and some pliers

As you dismantle the faucet, line the parts up to replace them when needed.  Match them up at your local store to ensure you get the best possible fit.

Repairing ceramic disc faucets

Ceramic faucets bear a cylinder with small discs at the base that help regulate water flow in the line.

First, undo the screw and take out the handle.

Next, take out the cylinder by slackening the nut or mounting screw.

Position the new cylinder in place and put the faucet back together.

Turn the faucet handles in the “on” setting.

Let the water run gradually to wash away any residues.

How to fix compression and reverse-compression faucets

Replacing this type of faucet involves changing the O-rings, gasket or washer. Next, check the valve seat in the tap for any defects.

Remove the screw by detaching the handle from the temperature gauge cap.  Separate the handle from the base.


While the faucet is off, you can check to see if the seats and springs inside the cartridge need changing.

  • Next, disconnect the screw with a wrench and remove the valve stem.
  • Take off the washer, screw, and damaged O-ring from the stem.
  • Apply some grease to the stem and insert the new O-ring and washer. Reattach the screw.
  • Use a wrench to take out the valve seat and install a new one.
  • Put the faucet back together. After switching the “on” tab, let the water run to normalize the pressure.

How to fix a cartridge faucet

  • First, unscrew the handle. Take out the nut or clip as needed.
  • Take your time and pull the handle out and install the new one.
  • Put the faucet back together.
  • Turn the knobs on and let the water run.

Check the aerator

Your last step is to fix the aerator. The aerator helps keep the air and water flow well-balanced in the pipeline.

  • After you put the faucet back together, let the water flow for a while to wash away any remaining material from the new parts.
  • Replace the aerator if damaged, or clean any blockages. A good soaking or wipe down with vinegar will work wonders.
  • Remember to wash it thoroughly before re-installing it.


At-home plumbing fixes don’t have to be daunting. You can solve niggling leaks and faults in a few simple steps. Checks, diagnose, then dismantle your parts. Next, clean, change and tighten as you go. As you put the faucet back together, test the water flow, and presto! There’s no more leak.

Alex Anderson
Alex Anderson
Our lead experts-analyst, Alex Anderson, has reviewed hundreds of electronics devices, automotive gadgets, and other products in more than 10 years. He a journalist, software trainer, and sometimes Web designer. Alex writes news stories, columns, and reviews for us and other popular sites and publications.


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