Step One: What You Need
You'll need plastic wrap, a terry-cloth towel, a flat head screwdriver AND a Phillips head screwdriver, heat-resistant lubricant, an adjustable wrench or pliers, a utility knife, and a new washer or O-ring like the one that needs to be replaced.
Step Two: Opening Up the Handle
Shut off the water by tightening the valve located under the sink. Turn on both faucets to let the pipes empty completely. Then, place a folded piece of plastic wrap over the drain and cover the sink with a terry cloth towel to protect it. If there's a cap on the handle, gently pry it off with a flat-head screwdriver. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, take off the screw that holds the dripping handle in place.
Step Three: Checking the Washer
Using your wrench or pliers, loosen the nut that holds the stem. Once you have it off, remove the stem. First check the washer. It's the little disc screwed to the bottom of the stem. If it's cracked or seems a little brittle, replace it. Take it to the hardware store and find a matching one.
Step Four: Checking the O-Ring
Now check the O-ring. It's like a little rubber band that circles the stem. There might be more than one. If any of them look broken or otherwise damaged, carefully cut them off with a utility knife. Replace the O-rings with matching ones from the hardware store. It’s a good idea to coat the stem with a bit of heat-resistant lubricant first. You can use the flat head screwdriver to help guide the O-rings into place.
Step Five: Putting It Back Together
Now reassemble the faucet by reversing the previous instructions. Remove the towel and plastic wrap and turn the shut-off valve back on. Now you should have a non-leaky faucet to save money and your sanity.
For more fix-it advice, read my book “Room for Improvement.” Whatever your project, AOL Coaches are here to help, so check out what else we have to offer.