How To Fix A Leaky Double-Handle Kitchen Faucet?

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Do you have a leaky kitchen or bathroom double-handle faucet, and you want to know how to fix it? Well, you came to the right place because we researched this question and have the answer for you.

Here are the simple steps to repair a leaky double-handle kitchen faucet:

  1. Turn off the water valve to the leaking water supply.
  2. Remove the handle of the problematic cartridge.
  3. The cartridge will be exposed once the handle is removed. Remove the cartridge using an adjustable crescent wrench.
  4. Take the cartridge to your local retailer and get a matching replacement cartridge. You will have to specify if you need a cartridge for the cold water line or a cartridge for the hot water line.
  5. Install the replacement cartridge.
  6. Put the handle back in.
  7. Open the water valve and test the faucet for any other leaks.

The instructions above are summarized so that you can get a brief look at what needs to be done. The detailed instructions are in the sections below.

Read on!

Repairing a faucet - How To Fix A Leaky Double-Handle Kitchen Faucet

How to replace a leaky double-handle kitchen faucet?

A dripping faucet

We will discuss the steps that we provided above in more detail in the succeeding sections. Let’s start by listing the tools that you will need for this task.

What tools do I need to repair a leaky double-handle kitchen faucet?

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Adjustable crescent wrench
  • Rags
  • Sink plug

What to prepare before fixing a leaky double-handle kitchen faucet?

Old stainless steel faucet and kitchen room double sink closeup with two dials and tile backsplash in home or apartment

Here are the things that you need to prepare before you can proceed to fix your leaky faucet.

Plug the sink drain

Faucets have small parts that can accidentally fall and get lost into your kitchen sink’s drain. Plugging your kitchen sink will prevent this from happening.

Determine which water stem is causing the leak

Close the valve for the hot water line and check to see if your faucet is still leaking.

If your faucet stopped leaking, then you need to repair the hot water side. If your faucet is still leaking after closing the hot water valve, then you need to repair the cold water side.

It is entirely possible that both sides need to be repaired. Do the same check by shutting off the cold water valve.

If you don’t have a shut-off valve under your sink, you’d have to repair both the hot and cold water cartridges to be on the safe side.

Relieving faucet pressure

Open the faucet to let the excess water out. This will also let any built-up pressure out of the faucet.

How to remove the handle of a double-handle kitchen faucet?

silver bathroom faucet

  1. Use the flathead screwdriver to gently pry off the cover of the handle. The exact location of this cover is different for each manufacturer and faucet model. Most of the time, this is located at the top or back of the handles.
  2. Once you’ve removed the cover, use your Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the handle.
  3. Set the screws and handles aside so you can reinstall them later.

How to remove the cartridges in your faucet?

  1. Use the crescent wrench to remove the bonnet nut from the cartridge. Set it aside to be reinstalled later.
  2. Unscrew the cartridges with the crescent wrench and pull them out.
  3. Use the rags to drain any excess water inside the cavity that holds the cartridges.

What to remember when getting replacement cartridges from your local supplier?

It is important to specify whether the cartridges will be used for hot or cold water.

Additionally, you will need to specify if you’re using round handles that turn in the same direction. Cold cartridges in this configuration use the hot water cartridges to have the same directional movement.

On the other hand, faucets with lever handle usually open and close in opposite directions. You need to use the appropriate cartridge—hot for the hot water side and cold for the cold water side.

How to install the replacement cartridges?

Plumber fixing water tap ceramic cartridge valve in a bathroom

Before reinstalling the new cartridges, you will need to replace the seats and springs. If your faucet does not have this part, you can go ahead and skip to the installation of the new cartridges.

  1. Check the bottom of the shank where you took off the old cartridge. If you see a round rubber at the bottom, that is the seat that you will need to replace. Pry off the rubber seat, including the spring under it with a small flathead screwdriver. Replacement cartridges often come with a replacement seat and spring. So you don’t have to worry about purchasing a separate set of seats and springs and getting the size right.
  2. Put in the replacement seat and spring. In some models, there will be a slight click once the spring is in place.
  3. Screw the replacement cartridges back in. If you’re replacing both cartridges, make sure that you are putting in the right cartridge on the appropriate side. Use the crescent wrench to tighten the cartridge.
  4. Reinstall the bonnet nut to keep the cartridge secure. Use the crescent wrench to tighten it in place.

How to reinstall back the handles of the faucet?

  1. Clean the handles briefly and put them back into the appropriate faucet.
  2. Tighten the screw with the Phillips screwdriver to keep the handle in place.
  3. Put the covers back. If you removed both handles, make sure you put back the correct cover on the right handle. Most covers have a hot or cold label, so this is important to avoid confusion.
  4. Open the shut-off valve and let the water flow for a minute. This will get rid of any debris or dirt from the newly installed parts.
  5. Check for leaks. If your faucet is still leaking and you only replaced one cartridge, that means you will have to replace the other cartridge as well. Follow the same steps to replace the other cartridge, the seat, and the spring to fix the leak.

How to tighten a loose faucet handle?

You might have noticed that you have loose faucet handles while replacing the cartridges. This is a common issue with faucets with lever handles.

This issue is easy to fix. Just follow the steps below.

Tools needed

You will need the same set of tools from the repair that you did in the previous section. You should still have most of the tools out.

In addition to those tools, you will probably need a basin wrench.

The TEKTON 11-inch basin wrench is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.

How to tighten a loose faucet handle?

  1. Clear all items from under your sink because you will have to work there on your back.
  2. Get a pillow or a soft mat that you can put under the sink so you can work on your back comfortably.
  3. Place a rechargeable lamp under the sink and point the light towards the faucet assembly.
  4. Look for the lock nuts that are keeping your faucet handles in place. Use any of your wrenches to tighten the lock nut.
  5. Some lock nuts have a separate set of Phillips screws that keep the lock nut in place. Tighten these as well with your Phillips or flathead screwdriver.
  6. Do the same thing for all the lock nuts for your faucet.
  7. Test the faucet handles to see if they are now secure and no longer wobbly.

Is it bad to leave a wobbly kitchen faucet?

Repairing a faucet

A wobbly kitchen faucet can lead to a ruptured water supply if not addressed. The unnecessary movement of the faucet fixture can cause your waterline to rub against a rough surface. This will lead to a weakened line that is prone to leaks.

Additionally, a wobbly faucet creates friction for the threads of the shank that can damage it. Damaged threads make it difficult to keep the shank secure.

Do you need to caulk around the faucet?

If your faucet has a rubber gasket, then that gasket will perform the function of a caulk. However, if your faucet has a missing gasket or does not have one, then you will have to seal your faucet with caulk.

Sealants come in different colors that you can match with your sink. Keep in mind, however, that not all sealants are caulk. However, they are collectively referred to as caulk.

Conclusion

Fixing a leaky double-handle kitchen faucet is as easy as replacing the cartridge. The only part of the step that will take time is bringing your cartridge to your local supplier or Home Depot and waiting for them to find a matching part.

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