Is there anything more exasperating than a bathroom faucet leaking at the base? That continuous drip-drip sound and the persistent puddle forming around the base of the tap can be truly frustrating. However, we’re here to assist you in resolving the issue.
In this informative and actionable guide, we’ll delve into the common causes behind this problem and offer step-by-step instructions on how to fix a bathroom faucet leaking at the base.
Why Is My Bathroom Faucet Leaking at the Base of the Handle?
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s understand why your bathroom faucet might be leaking at the base. Typically, there are two primary culprits:
- Worn-Out O-rings: Most bathroom faucets rely on O-rings to create tight seals wherever waterproofing is necessary. These O-rings, usually made of rubber, can dry up and crack over time. When this happens, water may seep down the faucet body while running and escaping from the bottom. This escaping water is what leads to the pooling around the base of the faucet, creating that frustrating puddle.
- Faulty Cartridge: Although less common, a worn-out cartridge within the faucet can also cause leaks. The cartridge, responsible for controlling water flow through the faucet, may wear out, allowing water to slip through when it shouldn’t. Often, this issue accompanies other worn-out components, such as tired O-rings, leading to water puddling around the faucet’s base.
Now that we know the possible causes, let’s move on to fixing the problem.
How to Fix a Bathroom Faucet Leaking at the Base
Install New O-Rings
- Step 1 – Prepare the Workspace: Turn off the water supply valve under your sink before starting. Then, begin by safeguarding your workspace. Cover the sink drain with a towel to ensure no small components are lost during the repair process.
- Step 2 – Remove the Handle Cap: Carefully eliminate the faucet handle cap, if it’s present, using either a flathead screwdriver or your fingernail. Be mindful not to damage the finish while doing this.
- Step 3 – Unthread the Handle Screw: Unscrew the handle by turning the screw counterclockwise using a Philips screwdriver. Sometimes, you might encounter a hex screw, necessitating an Allen key for removal.
- Step 4 – Handle Removal: Gently remove and set the faucet handle aside.
- Step 5 – Loosen the Valve: With the screw removed, use pliers or a wrench to loosen the valve from the faucet body. Secure the pliers or wrench around the valve’s base and rotate counterclockwise.
- Step 6 – Valve Extraction: Lift the valve away from the faucet’s base.
Replace the Cartridge
- Step 1 – Prepare for Work: Before beginning, ensure the water supply is turned off (if you attempted to replace the O-rings earlier). Drain any remaining water from the lines and place a towel over the drain to avoid any mess.
- Step 2 – Handle Removal: Start by removing the faucet handle. This involves taking off the decorative cap and unthreading the screw. Pull the handle upward to detach it from the faucet.
- Step 3 – Locate the Retaining Nut: Identify the retaining nut situated on top of the cartridge. Use either a pipe wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers to remove this nut and set it aside for later use.
- Step 4 – Remove the Old Cartridge: Take note of the cartridge’s orientation and use pliers (either tongue-and-groove or needle-nose) to extract the old cartridge from the faucet’s body carefully. It may be helpful to take a picture for reference.
- Step 5 – Grease and Insert the New Cartridge: Apply a small amount of plumber’s grease to the O-rings of the new cartridge using your finger. Insert the new cartridge into the faucet body, ensuring proper alignment.
- Step 6 – Reassembly: Follow the reverse steps to reassemble the faucet. This includes replacing the retaining nut, securing it firmly, reattaching the handle, ensuring it’s properly secured, and then replacing the decorative cap.
- Step 7 – Test for Leaks: Turn the water supply back on and check the faucet for any signs of leaks. Ensure there is no standing water around the faucet before conducting this test.
Installing a New Faucet
In some situations, replacing the entire faucet is the most viable option. This is typically the case with older faucets that have seen decades of use, as most bathroom faucets tend to wear out after 15 to 20 years. If you’ve already attempted O-ring and cartridge replacements without success, consider investing in a new faucet. Fortunately, you can find budget-friendly bathroom faucets for under $100, making it a cost-effective solution to persistent leakage issues.
Can’t Fix Your Bathroom Faucet Leaking at the Base? It’s Time To Call A Plumber
If your bathroom faucet is still leaking at the base despite following our troubleshooting steps diligently, it might be time to seek professional help. At Custom Plumbing, we understand the urgency of plumbing emergencies, and our dedicated team is available 24/7 to assist you with your emergency plumbing services.
Whether you’re in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, Buckeye, Cave Creek, Chandler, Avondale, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, El Mirage, Apache Junction, Mesa, Tempe, or Goodyear, our expert plumbers are committed to delivering top-notch services tailored to your specific needs. Contact us at 602-866-2665!