Quick Guide: How to Fix a Leaky Compression Faucet (5 Steps)

We understand that paying a plumber for a repair is frequently an unexpected and unwanted expenditure.

Therefore, you may be looking online attempting to figure out how to fix a leaky compression faucet on your own.

If your compression faucet leaks from the spout, then replacing the washer can fix this problem. Incase your compression faucet drips from the handle, then the first thing you should do is tightening or changing the packing nut.

Even the smallest drips and leaks may add up to a large amount of water loss and bills over time.

It’s important to understand how to fix a leaking compression faucet, which is the most popular kind of kitchen faucet found in houses, in order to prevent wasting time and financial resources.

Let’s see them in our detailed guide.

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How to fix a leaky compression faucet

What is a compression faucet ?

There are two primary kinds of faucets available: those that have washers and those that do not have washers (washerless faucets).

In the world of faucets, compression faucets are the most simple washer style faucets which has been around since the invention of indoor plumbing.

When it comes to wash basins, compression faucets are often used in laundry rooms, however they may also be seen in kitchens and bathrooms, particularly if the fittings are older ones.

Compression faucets, which feature two distinct knobs for hot and cold water, are the least expensive form of kitchen faucet available on the market.

However, they are also the most prone to leaking and needing maintenance during their lifetime.

When you twist each lever on a compression faucet, a washer or seal expands and shuts against the valve seat at the end of the trunk, allowing or restricting water flow across the faucet body.

This may seem complicated, but it all quickly becomes clear that a worn or broken washer or seal within the handle may allow water to flow when the taps are turned off. This is a common occurrence.

Why is your compression faucet leaking ?

Why your compression faucet is leaking

  • Compression faucets, however, are much more susceptible to leaks than other faucet kinds, and they also need more care.
  • Since leaks are so frequent, it’s crucial to understand the reasons and how to fix a leaking compression faucet.
  • A worn-out washer is the most typical cause of a compression dripping faucet.
  • The washer within the faucet turns off the flow of water whenever the handle is adjusted.
  • It may wear down over time. Whenever the washer stops working, the water flow continues, causing the faucet to overflow.
  • To prevent a leak with this sort of plumbing fixture, it’s usually necessary to replace the washer.
  • Leaks may also be caused by a faulty O-ring.

Step by Step Guide: How to fix a leaky compression faucet

Step 1: Cutoff the Water Supply

  • Search under your kitchen sink for a little cutoff valve that shuts off the water supply.
  • Close the valve by rotating the lever clockwise.
  • The water system for the house should be turned off at the home’s primary cutoff valve or at the water meter if there aren’t any shutoff valves beneath the sink to do so.
  • Once the water has been turned off, completely open the faucet to relieve any pressure or leftover water that may have built up in the line.

Step 2: Take off the faucet handle

  • A screw hidden behind a decorative cover connects the handle portion to the faucet valve stem assembly.
  • With older faucets, the cover is often metallic, and bolts are screwed into the handle.
  • Grasp the cap with pliers and detach it to obtain access to the screw that holds the faucet handle in place.
  • Incase your cap is plastic, pull it off with the help of a little flat-blade screwdriver.
  • Metal caps on certain faucets may be pryed off as well.
  • What’s the greatest approach to figure it out?
  • It’s most likely a screw-off cap if the metal top has grooves around the circumference.
  • The cap will most probably prick off if it is narrow or has a smooth border.
  • With the help of a Phillips screwdriver, you can unscrew the screw that secures the handle to the valve stem.
  • To take off the handle from the valve stem, you should lift it upward.
  • If somehow the handle becomes stuck, you might have to release it using a compression faucet handle puller.

Step 3: Disassemble the Stem Assembly

  • After removing the handle, you will see a cover well above the valve stem assembly.
  • Using pliers, loosen the clamping knob that keeps the stem assembly cover in place.
  • Even when no cover is present, check for a hex-nut piece of the valve stem assembly, which is normally found in the area where the assembly joins the faucet body.
  • To release the valve stem assembly, grab it with pliers or an adjustable wrench and rotate it counterclockwise.
  • Remove the valve stem assembly from the faucet body by unscrewing it completely.

Step 4: Change the Old Washer

  • Find the old washer, which should be resting on a valve seat near the base end of the valve assembly.
  • It would be kept in place by a screw, and it would most certainly be worn out or distorted in some way.
  • Loosen the brass nut that is keeping the washer in place.
  • Remove the rubber washer from the valve seat by inserting a tiny flat-bladed screwdriver into the opening in the washer and prying it out with it.
  • Remove any deposits or leftover rubber from the tip of the washer holder to ensure that the new washer settles smoothly into the valve seat when it is installed.

Step 5: Apply Plumber’s Grease

  • It is possible that you may need to purchase an array of washers, which are generally given together as a faucet repair kit.”
  • Additionally, a replacement for the rubber O-ring that surrounds the valve stem assembly is available upon request.
  • Now, you have to insert the new washer into the valve seat, and tighten the washer with the help of a brass screw to prevent it from moving.
  • If you find a damaged O-ring, then you have to replace it with a new one.
  • Next, you should apply a thin layer of waterproof plumbers grease on the exterior side of the O-ring (whether it is old or new).

Step 6: Examine for Leaks

  • Using pliers, insert the valve stem unit into the faucet body until it is firmly fastened in place.
  • Finally, you have to reattach the handle and cap to their previous positions.
  • Next, switch on the water system and look for leaks in the faucet.
  • If your compression faucet still drips, then contact a professional plumber to fix your problem.

Also read: How to fix a leaky shut off valve

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Repair Compression Faucet Handle

Repair Compression Faucet Handle

  • If you have a compression faucet leak from the handle, the first thing you should do is tightening or changing the packing nut.
  • Incase this does not work, you would have to change the packing, which would be a seat washer, an O-ring, or in some instances twine, that is looped all across the compression stem to prevent the compression stem from moving.
  • Don’t forget to cut off the supply of water before beginning any changes, and to release both the cold and hot water faucets to enable the water to flow out of the faucet.

Also read: How to fix a leaky delta faucet

Video Guide: How to Repair an Old Compression Faucet

Video Guide: How to fix a leaky kitchen faucet


We hope you enjoyed our post about how to fix a leaky compression faucet! We know that it can be frustrating when the faucet starts to leak and drips constantly, so we wanted to provide some helpful advice on how to fix it yourself.

Related Questions

What is usually the cause of a leak in a compression faucet?

Damaged washers might be the cause.

The washer that lies against the valve seat is another major source of spout leaking. It is also possible for a faucet to drip if the washer is placed wrongly or is the improper size. This is most often seen in compression faucets.

What is a common failure part in a compression faucet that is leaking out of the spout ?

Rusted Valve Seat

As a component of the compression system, valve seats are used to link the faucet and the spout. The buildup of water particles over time causes the valve seat region to erode, which results in a leaking faucet as a result. This rusting causes leaking along the spout’s perimeter.

Why does my faucet drip after I turn it off?

Whenever your faucet continues to leak water after it has been turned off, it may be due to a loose or defective seat washer. Because of prolonged usage, the seat washer screw might become loose, resulting in the faucet dripping water or buzzing. Plastic valve cartridges in modern faucets might have to be changed on an as-needed basis.

What is the most frequent failure part in a typical faucet?

The valve is the component that fails very often. Debris from the water going through the faucet accumulates and worsens the valve, causing leaks to occur as a result.

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