Fixing a kitchen faucet by yourself can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment, not to mention that doing so will save you money. Fixing a double handled gooseneck kitchen faucet is no more difficult than fixing any other kind of faucet, especially if the problem is in the head, rather than in the taps. In most instances it's as simple as removing a few parts, cleaning them and putting them back together.
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Things you need
- Plumbing tool kit
- Faucet parts
Examine the faucet. Faucet head problems come in just three basic varieties: leaks, damage or flow problems. Faucet heads most often leak under the cabinet rather than at their base. Damage can be anything from a bent or dented gooseneck, to one that has been broken off completely. Flow problems usually mean a weak discharge or one that is misdirected.
Pinpoint the problem. If the problem is a leak, it will usually occur under the cabinet, which will mean removing all of the other things that are stored down there, drying the area thoroughly and then making an inspection with a flashlight. If the leak is too slow to see, put a paper towel underneath it to identify where the leak is coming from. Most leaks originate with the taps, not the head. If the problem is damage to the head or neck, it's generally obvious, and in most cases, the solution will be to replace the part that has been damaged. Flow problems are almost always related to lime or calcium build-up in the aerator.
Choose a course of action. In most cases, regardless of the particular problem, faucet repair is something most homeowners can handle on their own if they so choose. If not, a professional plumber can be called to come in and fix it instead.
Get the proper documentation for your faucet. Although it's not always possible, if you can get the original documentation that goes with your faucet you'll have a far easier time with the repairs. Not only will you know where everything is, you'll know which tools and parts will be needed ahead of time so that you won't have to run back and forth to the hardware store several times.
Get the right tools. Every faucet is different and some require unique tools. Some gooseneck faucets, for example, require a 1/16-inch Allan wrench to remove the faucet handles.
Get the right parts. While some parts, such as washers or O rings are the same for many brands of faucets, other parts, such as cartridges for compression faucets, are unique to not just a particular manufacturer, but to a particular faucet. This is true also for goosenecks; while some are interchangeable, others are not. If you need to replace the whole neck, take it with you when you go to the hardware store to make sure the parts that will screw into the works underneath are identical.
Remove the faulty part. If the problem is a leak, and you're sure it's due to the head, the only way to fix it is to remove the whole gooseneck. For most models, do this by grasping the gooseneck with both hands and turning it in a counterclockwise direction until it separates from of the sink housing. The same approach can be taken if the gooseneck is bent or broken.
The majority of problems with faucet heads are due to the aerator, which is the little metal screen that is screwed onto the mouth of the faucet head. Most of them can be unscrewed by hand. Simply grasp it with the thumb and forefinger and turn it in a counterclockwise direction. If it's on too tight, try covering it with a cloth towel and then applying a light touch with a pair of pliers.
Clean or replace the part. If the problem is the head leaking, replace the washer or O ring where it connects to the fixture. If the gooseneck is broken, also replace the washer or O ring before screwing a new gooseneck into place. If the problem is with flow, soak your aerator in vinegar for 24 hours and then scrub it with a toothbrush.
Reinstall the part. If the problem is with the gooseneck, screw it back in after replacing the washer or O ring, or do the same for a new gooseneck. The aerator goes back on the same way it came off. Reach up under the faucet mouth and screw it back into place.
Tips and warnings
- With any faucet maintenance, if something doesn't turn that seems like it's supposed to, it's likely that you're either using the wrong tool or turning it the wrong way.
- Never use pliers on bare metal when working with plumbing.
- Whenever repairing any faucet part that has a washer or O ring, always put a new one on, even if it doesn't seem like it needs it.
- Take leaks under the cabinet far more seriously than leaks that drip into the sink, because water underneath can cause rotting and mould build-up.
- Tightening nuts, screw, bolts or aerator housings too much can cause damage to the fixture, usually requiring more repairs.
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