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How to Troubleshoot a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

How to Troubleshoot a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

The kitchen faucet is the most frequently used faucet in the home. For this same reason, it’s also the faucet that will give homeowners the most problems. With this in mind, we will address some of the most common leaky kitchen faucet issues that naturally come with its use.

The most common causes are either a clogged aerator or a defective cartridge, but before assuming either of those scenarios check the other faucets in the home to rule out the possibility of low water pressure.

  1. How to check for low water pressure:

One at a time, fully open the hot and cold faucet valves. Service technicians and plumbers sometimes make the mistake of forgetting to re-open these valves after finishing a job.

  1. How to clean your aerator:


  • Lay a towel over the drain to prevent any pieces from falling down it as you work.
  • Remove the aerator from your spout or sprayhead(side sprays do not have an aerator; if this is the case for you go to the next step.)
  •  After the aerator has been removed, check the water flow once again.If the water flow has significantly improved, it can be assumed that the obstruction was in the aerator. Go to step 4 to learn how to clean your aerator.
  • If you do not see a difference in the water pressure, jump to the next section How to clean and replace your faucet cartridge. In any case, removing and cleaning the aerator should be done at least once every six months.
  • Once you have removed the aerator, carefully disassemble the aerator and rinse each part with water, removing any debris that has accumulated. Re-assemble the aerator and check to see if this has improved the water flow.
    1. How to identify what kind of faucet cartridge you have:

    If you were able to rule out the aerator as the problem, the next step would be to check and replace the cartridge and/or washer. There are three kinds of cartridges: compression, washerless, and ceramic. We must first determine what type of cartridge you have.

    If you have to turn the handle more than one revolution to completely shut off the flow of water, then you know the faucet includes a compression cartridge. Jump to the Compression cartridge section.

    The only way to tell whether you have a washerless or ceramic cartridge is to remove your faucets handle. If the cartridge residing within the handle is held in place by a retention nut, then jump to the Washerless cartridge section.

    If there is no retention nut holding in the cartridge, then go to the Ceramic disk cartridge section.

    1. (a) How to fix a compression cartridge:

    Once you have your cartridge out, you can easily remove the washer by removing a screw holding the washer to the bottom of the stem. You will also need to remove the seat, which will require a seat wrench. All of these parts are generally readily available, and the cost should be under $15.

    When you have removed the washer and seat, make sure you can locate the appropriate replacement.

    Apply Teflon tape to the seat and thread the seat into the faucet body, being careful not to cross the thread.

    Attach the washer back onto the valve stem and re-insert valve stem into the faucet.

    1. (b) How to fix a washerless cartridge