Faucet Types and How to Repair Them: Ball and Disc

Faucet Repair Basics - Compression and Cartridge Faucets

Repairing a Ball Type Faucet

In a ball faucet, moving the ball opens and closes passages inside the ball that control water flow. Since there are a lot of parts inside a ball faucet, they are more prone to leaking than other faucet designs. Ball faucet repair kits contain replacement parts but not usually a ball mechanism, since the ball itself is so rarely the cause of any problems. However, replacement balls are available.

  • The first step in repairing a ball type faucet is to remove the handle. It is usually held on with a small setscrew on the underside. A small screwdriver or an Allen wrench will be required.
  • If your leak is coming from under the handle, you may get lucky and be able to fix it by simply tightening the locking collar that holds the ball in place. You can actually leave the water supply turned on to try this repair, but if it doesn't stop the leak, you will need to turn off the water and disassemble the faucet.
  • First take off the domed cap, then remove the cam and cam washer to get access to the ball itself. Lift it out, making note of how the slot in the ball fits onto the pin in the faucet body (it needs to go back in the same way).
  • Inside the faucet itself are two valve seats (little rubber rings), behind which are small springs. These should be replaced. You can get them out using a small screwdriver and replace them with parts from the repair kit. Springs go in first, followed by the rubber valve seats. Also replace the O ring around the ball itself.
  • Now reassemble the faucet, ball first (making sure it's aligned with the pin in the faucet body) and the other parts in reverse order of how you removed them. Be sure to tighten the collar ring that holds the ball in place. Reattach the handle and spout and turn the water back on.

Repairing a Disc Faucet

Since they have so few parts, disc faucets are generally the most leak free. However, if they do leak, it is usually due to the discs being dirty and just needing to be cleaned, or a disc that is cracked and needs to be replaced.

  • First remove the faucet handle, usually held on by a setscrew on the underside. Then remove the decorative escutcheon and the cartridge mounting screws and lift out the disc cylinder.
  • Take off the neoprene seals on the bottom of the cylinder and clean the cylinder openings with a plastic kitchen scouring pad. Rinse the cylinder in clean water.
  • Now put the seals back in place and reassemble the faucet. Important - Before you turn the water back on, make sure the faucet is in the open position. A sudden blast of water onto the discs could crack them.
  • If your disc faucet still leaks, you will need to replace the disc cylinder itself. Shut off the water and disassemble the faucet. Lift out the cylinder and replace it with the new assembly. Reassemble the faucet, turn it to the on position and turn the water back on.

Faucet Repair Basics - Compression and Cartridge Faucets

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with articles published in both the United States and Canada. He has written on a wide range of topics, but specializes in home maintenance and how to's.