Two typical reasons the kitchen sink is dripping are because you have loose nuts or washers that went bad. That is as long as it’s a compression faucet. In that case, the fix is pretty simple. Unless, you forget to turn off the water. The shut-off valve is normally found right under the sink. In some cases, it might be hiding inside a floor cabinet. Turn on the faucet. Nothing should come out. You want to be positive as you don’t want to become a character in some screwball comedy.
Identify The Faucet. Which kind of faucet do you have? The four kinds of faucets are: disk, compression, ball and cartridge. The ball, disc and cartridge faucets are “washerless.” They don’t use either neoprene of rubber washers. The compression model is just your basic washer-faucet. It does have a washer inside which is usually the culprit when it comes to leaks and drips. Ball-type faucets are pretty complicated. It uses a lot of different parts which makes it a type of brain-surgery project. Best bet: Just purchase a replacement kit. If it’s an older faucet, you may have to take a more expensive route and replace the whole fixture. Disc-type Faucets on the other hand are the modern, single lever faucets. They employ a pair of ceramic discs that slide across each other to handle not just the water’s temperature, but also the speed which the water flows. If a disc-type is leaking, one of the seals is damaged. Find the set-screw. Loosen it just enough to take off the handle. Under the removed arm is the escutcheon cap. Take that off, placing it aside. Unscrew the mounting screws and pull-out the cylinder. The neoprene seals could be worn. Or it could be as simple as there’s a little sand under their collar. Either clean them or replace them and put everything back together.
Still leaking? You may need to replace the cylinder. Same process as the above, only now you’re taking out the old and dropping in the new. For cartridge faucets, remove the decorative cap on the handle, take out the handle screw, push the handle back and pull it off. You might run into a threaded retaining clip that keeps the cartridge in place. Get out the needle-nosed pliers to extract it. Pull the cartridge up-and-out. Expose the spout. Chop-off the old O-rings, coat the new O-rings with plumber’s grease and put the thing back together. It only costs about $15 to replace the entire cartridge. Match the new one with the old.
A Compression Faucet Fix. Grab a handful of different sized washers, a screwdriver that will work with the existing screw and an adjustable wrench. If you have any Teflon® tape, bring it along to help with the merger of the packing nut and what lies below. With your wrench, tighten the packing nut. Turn the water back on. Has the dripping stopped dropping? You’re done. But it’s never that easy. Turn-off the water again. Rotate the packing nut, this time, counter-clockwise. Extract the entire valve unit. Twist and turn it until it breaks free.
Replace The Washer. We’re scrutinizing the valve unit when we notice the old washer, looking all haggard. There’s a screw holding the scraggly, soon-to-be, ex-washer in place. Remove the screw that’s in bad shape and replace it with the new washer. When everything is copacetic – the new washer is in its place – rescrew the screw. It’s time to put everything back together. Make sure when you replant the valve, it is pointed in the same direction it was before you started messing around. Tighten up the packing nut.
Dripping faucets can use a lot of water for no purpose other than annoying you with clock-like sounding drops. Unrepaired, it’s not only noisy, it’s costing you money. The fix you perform will pay for itself in the long run.