A leaky faucet is the most common household plumbing problem. A house call by a professional northern California plumber will cost plenty, so it makes sense to fix it yourself.
You may spend more time finding the correct parts than working on the faucet. To prevent multiple shopping trips, remove the worn parts – perhaps even the whole faucet – and take them with you to the store. Hundreds of faucet types have been made by many different manufacturers. It is possible to have an unusual model with parts that are hard to find.
If your facet has a brand name inscribed on its body, look for a repair kit to match. Otherwise dismantle the faucet to find out its type. In some cases only inexpensive O-rings and washers are needed. Other times a main part – a cartridge, stem, or ball, for instance – needs to be replaced. Usually replacing the inner workings results in a faucet that works as smoothly and is as durable as a new faucet.
If parts are hard to find or expensive, or if the faucet is unattractive, you may be better off replacing the whole facet rather than repairing it. This will depend on the type and age of the facet, replacing may take less time.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG: To save getting frustrated, place a towel into the sink (to catch any small parts that may fall) and place a cloth next to you on the counter and lay the parts out in the order you remove them. When reassembling, simply reverse the order – faucet parts are small.