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How to fix a leaky faucet

Difficulty- Easy – Moderate Time- Minutes to hours

Parts- See list at end Tools- See list at end


Before you get started, identify where in the world the leak is coming from. A leak from the stem can be an extremely easy fix (that is what our problem was). A drip from the faucet can be more complicated but completely DIY worthy. You might want a bucket, and some rags to keep this job clean.

Stem leak:

Grab up your tools and be prepared to shut your water off to your pipes. A simple leak from the stem of the faucet can be done by tightening the packing nut located at the top of the faucet.

Faucet drip:

A faucet drip can be more complicated and may require more tools. The most common reasons for a faucet drip are that the valve seat or washer are compromised in some way. This may be contributed to trauma to the area or an imperfection during creation that may cause a notch or a bur in the seat which will make a proper seat impossible.

The second reason is that the washer is compromised. You may be able to resolve this by cleaning both the seat and the washer as sediment build up due to age may also cause the leak. You may need to purchase a new washer or cut a new seat by using a special tool (listed at the end of this article).

Another reason is that the packing material has deteriorated and become compromised.

If any of these are the problem, you will first need to turn off the water to your pipes then either remove the faucet or remove the stem washer in order to gain access to the seat and washer to clean or replace them.


Faucet valve washer Valve packing rope


Seat cutting tool Channel lock pliers

Watch this video from This Old House that shows packing, seating, washer replacement in a spigot.

As always, I hope that our videos and articles can help you finish your DIY project. Subscribe to your YouTube channel and follow us here! Have a great DIY day!

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