HOW DO I … stop a faucet from dripping?

  • Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 5:52 p.m.

You gotta love homeownership; thereís never a dull moment. Makes you second guess renting sometimes. The honey-do list never seems to get shorter; it just rotates like produce at the grocery store.

The weekends are never long enough to get caught up. The tub faucet developed a drip recently. You donít think much of it at first, with the drip, drip, drip, until your grandson closes the drain plug one evening and by next morning there is a pool of water 4 inches deep in a large garden tub. Then you realize just how much water is dripping out.

Fortunately, the fix isnít too much trouble. This faucet is a Delta faucet, and they are pretty simple to repair.

First, feel the water to determine if it is cold or hot; this way youíll know which line to work on. Turn off the water to the appropriate line and drain the pressure by turning the faucet on.

Itís a good idea to turn on several other faucets in the house and open a spigot to the outside so the line can empty out. Having the other faucets open prevents the line from creating a vacuum, which can drive you crazy when youíre trying to make such a repair.

Have a towel ready to daub any water that may overflow from the valve when you take it apart. Usually there is a screw holding the knob in place, in my case it was a crystal-shaped knob. Once the screw is removed the knob will pull off the shaft.

In my case, there was a nut that needed to be removed counterclockwise, which allowed the shaft to be pulled out. Taking a flashlight and looking down into the valve I could see the seal, a black rubber gasket with a shoulder creating a pocket into which a spring fits.

To remove the rubber seal, take a small pic or needle-nose pliers, pinch the rubber seal and pull it out.

The spring will be seated into a recessed hole in the valve and, even though itís probably fine, the new rubber replacement seals come with new springs, so you can choose to replace the spring or just leave it in place. If you decide to replace the spring, drop the new one down into the recessed hole.

The next step is to get the rubber seal to seat properly. You will need to get the new rubber seal to fit flat enough over the spring so the shaft cartridge will to fit back properly. This can be a challenge, but keep working it.

After tightening the nut snugly over the shaft and reinstalling the knob and screw, it is time to test the repair. Ease the valve open so the water pressure doesnít slam too hard, which could cause other plastic fittings to break if they are fragile.

Keep in mind the open faucets in other rooms will be spitting air and water if you donít shut them off before opening the water supply. If you remembered to close the faucets first, go back and slowly bleed them off to get the air out of the line.

Donít forget to go turn off the open spigot. This should get all the air out of the line so it doesnít scare you out of your wits in the morning when you go to brush your teeth.

Once you check this off your honey-do list, donít get too excited for next weekend, there will be something else to replace by then.

Watch the paper for the dates and time for the upcoming Home Show, where among other things, I will be hosting several do-it-yourself demonstrations at the Do-it-Yourself Pavilion.

JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified ďAging in PlaceĒ Specialist and certified Green Professional.

If you have any projects that you would like discussed in an upcoming article, email me at jdn.dm@comcast.net.

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