How to Repair a Ball Faucet
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Fixing a leaky single-handle faucet is not very complicated and is less expensive than a purchasing a new one. With a few tools and some replacement parts, you can stop that drip and avoid a call to a plumber. This guide will teach you how to fix a leak from a single-handle ball-type faucet by replacing worn-out seats and springs that control water flow and temperature.
- Close the shutoff valves for the hot- and cold-water lines under your sink to turn off the water supply. If there aren’t individual shutoff valves under the sink, shut off the water supply for the house.
- Turn on the faucet and leave it open, allowing the remaining water in the line to empty into the sink.
- Plug the sink drain or cover it with a towel to protect the sink and also prevent any tools or small parts from falling into the drain as you make your repairs.
Tip: As you remove parts, place them in order on the towel lining the sink to make reassembly easier.
- Carefully pryoff the screw cover, the decorative cap that indicates direction for hot and cold.
- Once the cover is removed, you should be able to reach the set screw.
- On some models, the set screw is located on the bottom side of the faucet handle.
- Remove the set screw by using either a Phillips screwdriver or a hex wrench (also known as an Allen wrench), depending on the model. This will loosen the handle.
- Lift the handle from the faucet assembly.
- If the adjusting ring is loose, tighten it with needle-nose pliers and test the faucet after turning back on the water supply.
- If this quick fix doesn’t fix the drip or if the adjusting ring was already tight, use the needle-nose pliers to remove the ring.
Wrap a cloth around the dome-shaped housing to protect the finish and use tongue-and-groove pliers to loosen and remove the cap. Take care not to apply too much pressure and damage the housing.
Tip: If the dome is still stuck after trying to loosen with pliers, soak the cloth covering the finish in vinegar and allow it to soak into the dome for a few minutes before trying again. The vinegar can help loosen deposits that may have built up.
- Remove the plastic cam, the rubber packing washer and the metal ball valve assembly.
- Make careful note of the position of the ball when you remove it, as you’ll want to return it to the same position when reassembling the faucet.
Tip: Replacement seats and springs are available individually but also come in repair kits that contain other components of the assembly. Take your parts to The Home Depot and an associate will help you find the pieces you need.
- With the ball removed, the valve’s seats will be visible.
- The seats are the circles themselves and the springs are located underneath the seats.
- Use a towel to soak up any water that remains in the faucet stem.
- Insert a hex wrench through a rubber seat. Tilt it slightly to catch the spring underneath and lift them out.
- Repeat for the remaining seat and spring. Discard the old seats and springs.
- Replace each set with new seats and springs.
- Replace the ball valve into the proper position and place the packing on top.
- Align the tab on the cam to the slot on the faucet.
- Place the cap on top of the cam.
- Apply downward pressure to the ball and packing assembly with your thumb to keep the cam in place as the cap is screwed on.
- Hand-tighten the cap.
- Use needle-nose pliers to screw on the adjusting ring until the ball feels snug in the faucet when the rod is moved back and forth.
- Attach the handle and tighten the set screw. Replace the screw cover.
- Remove any debris or towels from the sink.
- Turn the water supply lines back on and check for leaks.
- If the faucet still drips, speak to an associate at The Home Depot near you or call your local plumber.
- Run both hot and cold water through the faucet few for a minute to remove any air bubbles or debris from turning off the water supply.
Tip: Now is a good time to unscrew the aerator from the opening of the faucet and clean it to remove any buildup from its screen that restricts even water flow.