Faucet Repairs can you do it
Faucet repairs can be very difficult with so many different kinds of faucets available but there is nothing to stress about! We will walk through the different kinds of faucets to make things simpler.
To start off, there are typically three main kinds of faucets in your house. They are kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, and tub and shower faucets. These faucets are the ones used every day!
Many people struggle with repairing faucets but I want to show you that it is not that difficult. There are several things that you need to know about your faucets to make them easy to identify. These keys will make life much simpler on you if you have to go to a plumbing supply house to get whatever repair parts you need. These keys will remain the same whether you have a kitchen faucet, bath faucet, or tub and shower faucet.
#1 What Brand Faucet Do You Have?
The first thing that you need to know is what brand your faucet is. This does not always happen though. You may have moved into your house and do not know what brand faucets that you have or you may have just forgotten what brands you have. We can still figure out what you have from knowing the following.
#2 How Many Handles Do You Have?
The second thing that you need to know is how many handles does your faucets. Your kitchen and bath faucets will have either a single handle or two handles. Your tub or shower faucets can be single handle, two handles, or three handles.
Graphic of different handled faucets
#3 Do You Have A Cartridge or Stem?
The third thing that you will need to know is whether your faucet has a cartridge or a stem. Typically if you have a single handle faucet, you will have a cartridge which is the picture on the left. If you have a two or three handle faucet, then you have a stem which is the picture on the right.
When you have a cartridge or stem go bad, the faucet will begin to drip out of either the aerator in the spout, the shower head or the tub filler in the tub.
Cartridges typically must be completely replaced because there is nothing that can be replaced on or inside of it. Delta Faucet , Moen, and Kohler are some of the major brands that use cartridges in their tub and shower valves. Moen uses their cartridges in all of their single handle faucets.
On stems, brass and some plastic, typically have a washer on the back of them head on by a screw that needs to be replaced when the faucet begins to drip. Some faucets have a brass seat underneath of the stem that is removable. When this seat has been roughed up, it can rip up the washer on the stem and cause a leak. This seat needs to be replaced as well.
Plastic stems most commonly do not have a washer on them. Usually they have a seat and spring underneath it that uses pressure to turn it on and off when the stem is rotated. Delta Faucet's stem with seat and spring are the main example of this style. There are several company's like Gerber, Price Pfister, and Glacier Bay that also use this technology in many of their faucets as well.
Graphic of Delta Stem with Seat and Spring!!!!
Your stem could also be a ceramic stem. This can be brass or plastic on the outside and white ceramics on the inside. A ceramic stem will not have a washer on it with a screw. Instead there will be a thin rubber washer with a hole in it where you can see the white ceramic pieces inside of it. The rubber washer is solely a buffer so that the ceramics are not scratched when the stem is installed.
Ceramic stems are not a new technology even though they seem to have become more popular now. These stems are in a lot of faucets now but there are some drawbacks to them. The ceramic discs in these stems can scratch very easily when they come into contact with sand, dirt, or grit in the water lines. They can also be scratched very easily if they are touched by your hands so that is part of the reason that you can not by the ceramic disks to repair the stems separately. The third drawback of a ceramic stem is the price. They can run anywhere from $10 up to $60. This can be jaw dropping to homeowners that purchase the faucets for close to $30 to $40.
#4 Is Your Cartridge/Stem Broached or Square?
The fourth thing that is good to know about your faucet is to know whether the stem is squared or broached at the top (where the stem enters the handle). Even if the stem is broached, you will need to know more because there are several different sizes of broaching. Counting the "teeth" will give you another key piece of information.
Graphic of different broached stems
#5 There Is Nothing Universal About Plumbing!
The fifth and final key that you should know is that plumbing, not just faucets, are like cars. You can not put a GM motor into a Ford engine. It just will not work correctly. There is nothing universal about plumbing. You can not just run to Lowe's or Home Depot and just pick up any stem or plumbing repair part to fix your faucet. It may take some searching and you may even need to call your local plumbing supply store. These local specialized plumbing stores carry much more of a variety and more in depth stock of stems and repair parts that some stores do not have on their shelves.