A leaking bathroom faucet can seem like a minor issue, but it could wind up costing you big. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the leaks in an average American home can add up to over 10,000 gallons of water per year. Fixing a leak in a bathroom faucet made by a manufacturer such as American Standard is not a difficult job. No special tools are required, and you could wind up saving money both on plumbing and water bills.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Flat head screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench
- Wire brush
- Silicone grease
- Pipe thread compound
Identify where the faucet is leaking. Feel the water at the leak. If the water is warm, the hot side of the plumbing is leaking. Cold water means the cold side has sprang a leak.
Locate the water supply shutoff valves for the sink. These are usually located beneath the sink. The valves can be shut off by turning the round or oval handles clockwise. Open the faucet to allow any water inside to run out.
Pry off the faucet handle screw cover with the edge of a flat head screwdriver. The cover may be disguised as the "Hot" or "Cold" label. Remove the faucet handle screw with a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the screw and set aside. Pull the handle straight up to remove.
Remove the first hexagonal nut, referred to as the "packing nut," with the adjustable wrench. Pull straight up off the threads to remove. Unscrew the valve stem by turning the second hexagonal nut with the wrench. Lift the valve stem out of the valve socket.
Examine the valve stem. Replace it if it is cracked or broken, as this may be causing the leak. Clean off any lime deposits or debris with a stiff wire brush.
Turn the stem over. Check the rubber washer at the bottom. This needs to be replaced if it is cracked or torn, as that could also be causing the leak. Unscrew the retaining screw at the bottom. Remove the rubber washer. Replace with a new washer. Secure with the retention screw. Dab a few drops of silicone grease onto the bottom of the washer.
Spread pipe thread compound on the threads of the valve stem. Insert the stem into the valve socket. Tighten with the wrench. Slip the packing nut over the end of the stem and tighten.
Replace the faucet handle. Insert the faucet handle screw into the handle and tighten. Press the faucet handle screw cover back into place.
Restore the water supply.
Tips and warnings
- Take your old stem and washers into your hardware or plumbing store when purchasing new ones to ensure you have the right size.
- The above steps are just a guideline. Always follow the specific instructions for your particular American Standard bathroom faucet model.
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