Overview

compression faucet assembly diagram
Photo: Paul Perreault
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Most leaky compression faucets need new seat washers. Pry off the decorative cap on the handle, remove the handle screw, pull off the handle and use a crescent wrench to unscrew the packing nut. After unscrewing the stem, remove and replace the seat washer held in place by a brass screw. Pop the stem out of the packing nut and replace the O-ring, the culprit for leaky handles. Reassemble the faucet and tighten the packing nut.

If your faucet continues to leak, the seat may be pitted. Remove the stem and grind smooth the valve seat with a valve-seat dresser, a tool you temporarily screw down into the faucet.
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    Tools List

    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver, for removing the screw that holds the handle in place)

    • faucet-handle puller
      Faucet-Handle Puller, in case the handle won't budge and you need more force to remove the screw. See how Richard uses this tool)

    • adjustable wrench
      Adjustable Wrench, to loosen the packing nut)

    • needlenose pliers
      Needlenosed pliers, to pull out the stem assembly)
    • round file
      File, to file away the pitted wall of the stem)
    • faucet seat wrench
      Seat Wrench, to remove the seat and check it for burrs)

    Shopping List

    1. Seat Washer, the rubber disk on the stem's underside

    2. Washer Screw made of brass

    3. Nickel/Copper-Alloy Retainer Bowl to rebuild the stem

    4. Pipe Joint Compound to reseal the seat