A leaky kitchen faucet can be a major annoyance, not to mention a waste of water. If your faucet is dripping or spraying, the culprit is likely the cartridge, a small but essential component that controls the flow of water. Replacing a kitchen faucet cartridge is a relatively simple DIY project that can save you time and money compared to calling a plumber.
Understanding Your Kitchen Tap Mixer
Before starting, it’s crucial to understand the type of kitchen tap mixer you have. Common types include single-lever, dual-handle, and pull-out spray mixers. Each type might have a slightly different cartridge system.
Tools and Materials
- Adjustable wrench
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Replacement cartridge (make sure it matches your faucet brand and model)
- Turn off the water supply. Locate the shut-off valves under the sink, one for hot water and one for cold water. Turn them clockwise until they stop to shut off the water flow to the faucet.
- Open the faucet to release any pressure. Turn on the faucet handle and let the water run until it stops. This will relieve any pressure in the lines and prevent water from spraying out when you remove the cartridge.
- Remove the handle. Look for a small cover or screw under the handle. Use the Allen wrench to remove the screw and then pull off the handle.
- Remove the decorative cap. Underneath the handle, you should see a decorative cap. Pry it off gently with the flat-head screwdriver.
- Unscrew the retaining nut. Use the adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the nut holding the cartridge in place. Be careful not to overtighten the nut when you reinstall it.
- Pull out the old cartridge. Grab the cartridge and pull it straight out of the faucet body.
- Install the new cartridge. Insert the new cartridge into the faucet body, making sure it’s lined up correctly. The cartridge should have two small plastic tabs that fit into corresponding slots in the faucet body.
- Screw on the retaining nut. Tighten the nut snugly with the adjustable wrench. Don’t over-tighten it, as this could damage the cartridge.
- Replace the decorative cap and handle. Push the decorative cap back into place and screw on the handle. Tighten the Allen screw until the handle is secure.
- Turn on the water supply. Slowly turn on the shut-off valves under the sink. Check for leaks around the cartridge and handle. If you see any leaks, tighten the connections slightly.
Replacing a kitchen faucet cartridge is a quick and easy way to fix a leaky faucet. With the right tools and a little patience, you can save yourself the time and expense of calling a plumber. We had to learn and apply how to do this this weekend. Specifically this youtube video helped to see it visually: