Learn how to fix common problems with kitchen and bathroom faucets.
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Although the anatomy of a faucet may seem complex, most problems are caused by worn washers or cartridges, or a worn valve seat in the body of the faucet (the part at the base where the valve sits). Below are other areas in which leaks may occur. Spout O-rings can cause leaks, as well as O-rings on valve bodies. In certain cases, faucet reseating may also be necessary.
Most modern faucets do not have gland packing; inside the valve there is a threaded section with an O-ring. This creates the gland seal. To replace gland O-rings, see below. If your faucets do have gland packing, use teflon and follow the technique shown opposite for replacing packing in a stop valve.
When gaining access to gland O-rings it may be necessary to remove a circlip (a type of seal) positioned around the spindle of the valve. It is normally a case of trying to remove the washer unit first, without removing the circlip.
If this doesn't work, try removing the circlip to see if that allows the washer unit to be unscrewed. On a traditional gland, plumber’s putty can be used to seal leaks, although teflon works best.
If you are replacing an O-ring at the base of the spout, remove the grub screw at the back of the spout, then twist the spout to release (Image 1).
Lifting the spout off allows you to gain access to the O-ring at the base of the spout (Image 2).
Identify the worn-out O-ring, then cut it off or pry it off with a screwdriver (Image 3).
Roll on a replacement O-ring to renew the seal. Align the marker with the groove in the faucet body for reassembly (Image 4).
Remove the valve. Damaged O-rings on the visible part of the valve can simply be cut away and replaced (Image 1).
To gain access to gland O-rings, turn the spindle and valve body in opposite directions. This should allow the washer unit to unscrew (Image 2).
On the washer unit there will be a further O-ring or O-rings that may need replacing. Cut away damaged rings with a utility knife or break loose with a screwdriver. Roll on a replacement and reassemble the valve. Put the valve back in the faucet body and reassemble the faucet (Image 3).
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009