Archive for Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fix-It Chick: Fixing a drippy 2-handled faucet

February 11, 2017


If your double-handled bathroom faucet is dripping, grab an adjustable wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver and get under your sink.

Step 1: If life is good, there will be two shut-off valves, one for the cold water and one for the hot. Turn the water on in the sink, reach under and twist each valve handle clockwise until the water flow has stopped completely.

Step 2: Remove the faucet handles by prying up the plastic or metal button on top of each handle and remove the handle screw. Pull the handle straight up and off to expose either a metal or a plastic faucet stem.

Step 3: Use an adjustable wrench to remove the retaining nut or bonnet that holds the faucet stem in place.

Step 4: Place the handle back on the stem and turn the stem in the same direction you would to shut off the water. With a little luck, the stem should come out easily.

Step 5: If the stem appears to have the remains of a flat rubber washer on the end, held in place by a screw, it will need to be replaced with a new beveled head washer.

Step 6: Otherwise, a new set of seats and springs, which are located in the faucet base just below where the stem sat, are in order. If this is the case, use a towel or wash cloth to soak up the excess water and pry the little black rubber circles up and out of the base. A dental pick works best, but a small screw driver will usually do the trick in a pinch. The spring is located beneath the seat.

Step 7: Take the stems, seats and springs to the hardware store and find the necessary replacement parts. If the stem is worn or cracked it should be replaced too, otherwise a beveled washer or a pair of seats and springs should solve the problem.

Step 8: Install the new washer or the new seats and springs. Replace the stem and hand-tighten the retaining nut. Do not use a wrench to tighten the nut or something may break.

Step 9: Reattach the handles, pop the buttons in place, open the shut-off valves and pour yourself a nice tall glass of water.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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