How to Fix a Leaky Ball-style Faucet
Water faucet leaks can be annoying to say the least, but they can also cause corrosion on fixtures if relentless dripping goes unrepaired. Cheaper builders’ grade faucets are generally ball style spigots which feature a ball joint that is rocked back and forth for hot or cold water. With ball-style spigots, the usual culprit for a leaky faucet is the inlet seat spring. These springs will lose their tension over time and start to wear and compress. Although they are not as prone to leaks as compression faucets, leaks can happen due to sediment buildup and worn springs and seals.
Before fixing a bathroom sink faucet, close the drain stopper to prevent any parts from falling down the drain during your repair. Keep your parts bag handy as well so you don't lose anything while removing the faucet assembly.
Step 1 – Shut Off the Water Source
Make sure the water is turned off by shutting off both the hot and cold valves underneath the sink area. After closing the valves, it’s always a good idea to verify that the water is indeed off by turning the handle of the faucet.
Step 2 – Remove the Faucet Head
Remove the front cap on the ball by prying it off gently with a screwdriver to access the screw on the faucet handle. Unscrew the round faucet handle with your Phillips head screwdriver and reveal the ball joint.
Step 3 - Remove Ball Joint Assembly
Using your Allen wrench, loosen up the ball joint head and it should slide off of the mount for you. When unscrewing any of the parts, pay careful attention not to scratch the finish of your faucet. With the Allen wrench again, loosen the base cam assembly to remove the entire ball joint.
Step 4 – Remove Inlet Seat and Spring
Once the ball joint is removed, you can now access the inlet seat springs. Take your needle nose pliers and pry the seat spring off of the inlet. Place it inside your parts bag and take the specific size spring to the hardware store to find a match for the new parts you will need in order to complete the repair.
Step 5 – Install New Inlet Spring
Place your new inlet spring back inside the seat and use your needle nose pliers or your hand to work the seat back into holes. Make sure it is seated properly and not kinked or crooked in any way to avoid possible leaks in the future.
Step 6 – Reinstall Ball Joint
Reinstall your ball joint by taking a dab of plumbers grease and working it over the openings on the ball base. Place your ball joint back into the inlet by finding the groove on the base and making sure it gets seated over top of the inlet pin on the one side.
Step 7 – Reinstall Cam Assembly
Find the groove on the side of your new cam assembly and align it down over the ball joint base. It’s important to apply pressure and make sure this stays aligned while screwing it down over the sink head or you will have problems with your sink not sealing properly. Once screwed on, tighten up the cam assembly using your adjustable wrench.
Step 8 – Reinstall Ball Joint Mount
With an Allen wrench, reinstall the ball joint mount by sliding it down over the ball joint and tightening up the head by turning it clockwise.
Step 9 – Reinstall Faucet Handle and Sink Cap
Replace the round faucet handle over top of the ball joint mount and reinsert the screw. Tighten it once more with your Phillips head screwdriver, and replace front sink cap by snapping it back in place.
Step 10 – Reinstall Aerator and Turn Water Back On
Turn your water valves back on underneath your sink and replace the tap aerator onto the underside faucet tip by hand tightening it counter-clockwise. After turning the water back on, let your faucet run on hot and cold in order to flush out any grease residue that may have been left behind.