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How to fix a leaky cartridge faucet?

Fixing a leaky cartridge faucet is a common plumbing repair that can save you money on your water bill and prevent further damage to your fixtures and home. Cartridge faucets are known for their reliability, but over time, they can develop leaks. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to fix a leaky cartridge faucet:

Tools and Materials You Will Need:
* Adjustable Wrench
* Phillips-Head Screwdriver
* Replacement Cartridge
* Plumber's Tape
* Rag or Towel

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing a Leaky Cartridge Faucet:
1. Turn Off the Water Supply:
Locate the water shut-off valves under the sink and turn them off. If there are no shut-off valves for the faucet, you may need to shut off the main water supply to your home.
2. Remove the Handle:
Most cartridge faucets have a decorative cap or cover on the handle. Use a flathead screwdriver to carefully remove this cap, revealing a screw underneath. Remove the screw with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
3. Remove the Handle:
Once the screw is removed, gently lift off the handle from the faucet. This will expose the cartridge.
4. Remove the Cartridge Retaining Clip:
Some cartridge faucets have a retaining clip that holds the cartridge in place. Use pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove this clip, if applicable.
5. Pull Out the Cartridge:
Carefully grasp the cartridge stem with pliers or adjustable wrench and pull it out of the faucet body. If the cartridge is stuck, you may need to use some gentle rocking and twisting motion while pulling.
6. Examine the Cartridge:
Inspect the cartridge for any visible damage, cracks, or worn-out rubber seals. If you see any issues, replace the cartridge with a compatible one from your local hardware store. Be sure to bring the old cartridge with you to ensure a proper fit.
7. Clean and Lubricate the Cartridge:
If the cartridge appears to be in good condition, it may simply need cleaning and lubrication. Use a clean rag to wipe away any debris or mineral buildup. Apply plumber's silicone grease to the cartridge's O-rings and seals. This will help ensure a proper seal and smooth operation.
8. Reinstall the Cartridge:
Carefully insert the lubricated or new cartridge into the faucet body, making sure it aligns properly. Push it in firmly, ensuring it sits flush with the faucet.
9. Reassemble the Faucet:
If your faucet had a retaining clip, reattach it to secure the cartridge in place. Then, reattach the handle, screw it back in, and place the decorative cap or cover over the handle.
10. Turn On the Water Supply:
Slowly turn on the water supply valves or the main water supply to your home. Check for any leaks at the base of the faucet or around the handle.
11. Test the Faucet:
Turn on the faucet and check for leaks. If there are no leaks and the faucet operates smoothly, you've successfully fixed the leaky cartridge faucet.
12. Adjust the Temperature Limit Stop (if applicable):
Some cartridge faucets have a temperature limit stop that controls the maximum hot water temperature. If you notice that the water is not getting hot enough or is too hot, you can adjust this stop by removing the handle and adjusting the setting according to your preference.

If you follow these steps carefully and the faucet continues to leak, it may be an indication of a more significant problem, and you may need to consult a professional plumber for further inspection and repairs. However, in many cases, fixing a leaky cartridge faucet is a straightforward DIY task that can be completed with basic tools and a replacement cartridge or some cleaning and lubrication.
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