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How to Repair a Cartridge-Type Faucet

Cartridge faucets are so named because inside their handle is a movable brass or plastic cartridge. Master plumber Ed Del Grande gives step-by-step instructions on how to repair a cartridge-type faucet.

More in Plumbing

a new cartridge usually fixes a cartridge faucet
  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove the Handle

After turning off the water under the sink, remove the old cartridge.

Tip: Check to see whether a solid-brass replacement cartridge is available. Brass cartridges far outlast plastic.

First remove the decorative cap to expose the screw holding the handle in place. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screw, then remove the handle and decorative sleeve.

cap removed to expose screw holding handle

Step 2: Remove the Retaining Clip

With the handle out of the way, use needle-nose pliers to remove the retaining clip holding the cartridge in position. Carefully slide out the old cartridge.

remove retaining clip and slide out old cartridge

Step 3: Replace the Cartridge

Inspect the old cartridge. If it has more damage than a broken O-ring, you'll need to replace it.

Drop in the new cartridge and push it firmly into place.

Carefully replace the retaining clip and sleeve.

Reattach the handle and secure it with the screw.

Step 4: Check the Water

Check the flow of water to make sure that the hot- and cold-water adjustments work properly. If hot water flows out when the handle is turned to cold, remove the handle and rotate the cartridge 180 degrees. Reattach the handle and check your results.

If everything works properly, replace the decorative cap and you're done.

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