If you are thinking about repairing a faucet yourself, and you have a two-handle faucet, then there are a few things you should know before you begin to attempt this repair. Two-handle faucets can be found in bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and even basement bars. Repairing a two-handle faucet can sometimes require an experienced plumber, but if you are willing to try, following a few simple steps can really help you to get the job done.
Step 1 - Identify Your Faucet
The two handle faucet comes in three types, the seat-washer faucet, the diaphragm, and the washerless faucets. The faucet known as the seat-washer is typically the most common, and can be discovered by turning your handle. If the handle turns all the way around, then it is a seat-washer stem faucet. Other types will only turn around one quarter of the circle. Once you have identified what kind of faucet you have, you can repair it following these simple tips.
Step 2 - Turn off the Water and Begin
Before you begin to mend the faucet, make sure the water is turned off. You will usually find a shut-off valve under the sink, but if this is not visible, you may need to turn off the water at the mains, either outside or at your meter. Once the water is off, remove the handle. Most sink faucets are held on to the basin via a screw through the top. This is sometimes covered by a cap, shaped like a button. You can also find handles which have been screwed on to the sides of the sink, but wherever the screw is, begin by unscrewing it, and then pull the handle completely away from the sink.
You may find that the faucet is stuck to the sink, either through years of use, or by a layer of caulking. If so, try using a handle puller, which prevents damage to the valves and valve stem, but if this is not possible, gently tap on the base of the handle while twisting the faucet.
Step 3 - Remove the Faucet
You can now remove the faucet. Depending upon what type of faucet you have, you can unscrew the locknut or stem sleeve. If you have the washerless or diaphragm faucet, they will simply pull out of the sink. A seat-washer stem will have to be pulled out after the stem sleeve, using a screwdriver to unscrew any fittings. You may have to roll it clockwise or anti clockwise, but it should be easy to remove after a few turns.
Step 4 - Fix the Faucet
The best fix is always to change all of the removable parts, such as seals, washers, gaskets and O rings. These should be removed, and new ones fitted in. They are cheap, and the stem itself will last for decades if you regularly change these parts. Even a washerless faucet has a washer, so check all of these. If you see any damaged parts, such as a split pipe, or a broken washer that was recently replaced, you should remove these parts and use similar items in their place. If it is the stem itself which is damaged, take it to a local showroom, or the supplier where you purchased the stock from, and ask them for a replacement.