Top 5 DIY Plumbing Fixes Every Homeowner Should Know

Repairing a bathroom sink faucet.
Repairing a bathroom sink faucet.

Plumbing Fix #5: How to Fix a Dripping Faucet

If you’re sick of the constant sound of a dripping faucet, take control of the situation and repair it yourself! Depending on the type of faucet you have, the process of fixing a leaky faucet is fairly easy.

Repairing Leaking Compression Faucets:

These older type faucets use a rubber washer to stop the flow of water, which can wear out over time.

To replace the washer on a compression faucet:

  1. Turn off the water to the faucet at the shutoff valve.
  2. Remove the decorative cap on the faucet handle.
  3. Remove the screw under the cover in the faucet handle.
  4. Pull the faucet handle off to expose the valve.
  5. Use a deep socket wrench to remove the valve from the faucet.
  6. Remove the screw holding the washer on the end of the valve.
  7. Replace the washer with a new one of the same size.
  8. Apply Teflon plumber’s tape to the valve threads.
  9. Screw the valve back in the faucet.
  10. Tighten the valve with the wrench, being careful not to over tighten it.
  11. Put the handle and screw back on the valve.
  12. Press the decorative cover back on the end of the handle.
  13. Turn the shutoff valve on, and check the faucet for leaks.

Watch our video on How to Repair a Leaky Tub Faucet to find out more.

Repairing Leaking Cartridge or Ball Faucets:

These types of valves are found on newer, single lever faucets. Unlike compression faucets, cartridge and ball faucets have more parts, making them harder to repair.

    • Cartridge Faucets: Pry off the decorative fixture, remove the handle, and replace the entire valve cartridge.
  • Ball Type Faucets: Ball type faucets have many parts, so it’s often easier to buy a repair kit instead of trying to replace one part. Purchase a repair kit that fits your faucet at a home center or plumbing supply store, and follow the instructions included.

Watch our video on How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet to find out more.

Barbara Johnson works in real estate and enjoys finding her clients the perfect homes. In addition, she shares her home improvement and gardening tips with others through blogging.


  1. please, can you help me to fix my plumbing problem due to when I shut or cut off any of FAUCET at my home I hear some loud noise on or in PIPES.

    • Hi Joe,
      That’s called water hammer, and it’s caused by the sudden change in pressure when you turn off the faucet. It can be prevented by installing a water hammer arrester or water expansion tank in the water line near your hot water heater. Watch our video on How to Prevent Water Hammer in Pipes to find out more.

  2. Dan,

    I’m 86 years old and unable to do most of the jobs at home anymore but I enjoy very much reading your emails. If they apply to our grown children and their families, I send the emails to them or discuss the projects with them. Thanks for the good that you do.


  3. sometimes in winter my bathrooms cold water freeze up and nothing comes out until the weather get a little warmer what is the main cause even my toilets freeze up the kitchen water always works why? thank you

  4. What a good read this was, having been working with some of the best plumbers in La Mesa, CA, I can say with confidence that all of the tips that you gave is what I’m sure any professional plumber would agree. Knowing how to turn off the water heater is very important and giving problems. The best thing would turn it off and have a licensed professional inspect the water heater for any damages or malfunction. Water heater repair is very common in residential plumbing.

    All of the tips were great!

  5. Danny,
    You refer to a hot water heater……. Is it not a cold water heater?
    Or better yet just a water heater!

  6. This is some really good information about plumbing. I liked what you said about when you do have plumbing issues you should turn off your water. That is a good thing for me to know because I am about to purchase my first home.


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