The bathroom faucet started to drip a few weeks ago, not only wasting water but echoing that steady and annoying drip, drip, drip, drip… So to save the sanity of my family I decided to fix it. By shutting off the water supply valves underneath the cabinet I was able to determine that it was the hot water that was leaking and decided it was probably just a seal. So off to my local DoIt-Best hardware store where not only do that have seal kits, but also dumdums for Jeremiah.
Before starting the repair it is important to shut off the water to the faucet, normally this is just two valves located on the water lines running up to the faucets, though I have seen faucets that have no shut off valves except the main water supply line coming into the house. Once the water was shut off I could start taking apart the handles/valves.
First I removed the caps that cover the screw holes in the handles. The sharp edge of a knife should be able to slide between the cap and the handle and lift it free.
Using a long Philips screw driver I reach down the uncovered holes and unscrew the handles from the valves. With the handles removed I unscrewed the collar that hold the white valves to the body of the faucet. Then simply pull out the valves. Next it is time to reach down in and pull out the seal and seal spring.
The valves operate by being open on only half of the bottom, as seen below on the right. Then the water supply comes up through the seal offset to one side, so that when the valve is rotated to open side water flows through and when rotated to the close side the water is shut off. The spring below the seal is used to apply constant pressure and a good seal.
After looking at the old seal and valves I don’t see anything wrong with the seal, but there is a rather large amount of calcium built up on the hot water valve (The white crust on the valve on the left in the picture). This build-up is the result of hard water and forms a type of crust that I believe was preventing a good seal. So I carefully cleaned the build-up off the bottom of the valve.
While I suspect the build-up was the problem and not the seal, I already have the seals and they were less than two dollars so I will go ahead and put new seals and springs in both sides. Now it is just a matter of working backwards. Getting the seals down and in position is a bit of a trick but with a little patience I was able to get them in place.