If you have a leaky sink valve, there is a good chance you can fix it yourself. While it is tempting to call a plumber at the first sign of trouble, this particular problem requires very little special knowledge. If you can operate ordinary tools, you can replace the damaged parts in your compression valve, leaving your sink as good as new and preventing you from losing money on your water bill. These sink repair tips should help you make sure that your valve part replacement works without a hitch.
1- Setting Up
Before you do any work on your valve, you should shut off your sink's water supply. Use the shutoff valve below your sink to do this, making sure to close it all the way. If there is not a shutoff valve below your sink, you should use the main water shutoff for your home.
Make sure the water is completely shut off by opening the faucets you will be working on fully. This will reveal whether you have successfully shut down the water. It will also let any water that is already in the pipes drain out, which is an important step. Finally, cover your sink's drain completely. If you have a mechanism to do this, use it, otherwise you should simply put a rag into the drain to prevent any part of your faucet from falling in.
At this point, you can put on your eye protection, as you are ready to begin.
2- Opening the Faucet
Begin by removing your faucet's cap. You can pry it off with a knife or prying tool. Next, you must remove the faucet's handle. Do this by unscrewing the screw holding it in place. It should be visible now that you have removed the cap. Once you have done this, you should be able to simply lift off the entire faucet handle and set it aside.
3- Removing the Valve
You should see a nut at this point. It is called the stem nut, and you should remove it using your adjustable wrench. Once you have done this, removing the valve should be a simple task. Attempt to gently pull it out. If it does not come out easily, it probably needs to be unscrewed. Try rotating it to the left or to the right as you pull. It should come out without difficulty.
4- Replacing Worn Out Materials
At the bottom of the valve that you have just removed, you should see a washer and possibly an O-ring. However, the O-ring may not be present, so if you do not see one do not worry. The washer and possibly the O-ring will be secured by a screw. Remove this screw, remove and set aside the washer and O-ring if present.
Take your washer and O-ring to a hardware store and buy exact replacements. Finish up by placing them onto your valve and reassembling it by following the above directions in reverse.
5- Finishing Up
Test out your sink valve by turning the water back on and trying your faucet. Be sure to unblock the drain before you do this.