Leaky faucet causes higher bills and irritations. It is an issue that every homeowner faces. Though it looks minor, it can be expensive if you don't know how to fix it on your own.
In the old days, repairing a faucet was easy. However, today, we have different types of cartridge faucets that are modern and require some kind of plumbing knowledge and expertise if you wish to repair them. For example, the repair procedure of a double handle cartridge faucet is a tad more complex and different than a single handle cartridge faucet.
In addition, it comes in different styles and brands. For that reason, you need to have a bit more knowledge about it to repair it.
How Double Handle Cartridge Faucet Works
Before you plan to repair your double handle faucet, you must comprehend how it works. There are different types of them, such as compression, cartridge, ball, and disc.
But, here we are talking about cartridge model which has a hollow metal cartridge that seals the faucet. In double handle cartridge faucet, you do not pull the handle up and down or move back and forth like the single handle version. Its function is simple and more like a compression model, which doesn't require too much force to adjust the water temperature.
Each handle has its own cartridge that controls the flow of the hot/cold water.
So, if your double handle faucet is leaking, check which side is leaking - hot or cold? You need to repair that side only which is leaking; no need to replace or repair the cartridge of both handles if one is working properly.
Required Tools for Fixing Double Handle Cartridge Faucet:
These are the recommended tools for this project that resolve the small plumbing problems. There is nothing complicated about them; you can use them without any hassle.
- 4-in-1 Screw Driver
- Adjustable Wrench
- Allen Wrench
- Faucet Repair Parts
- New Seats
- New Spring
- Plumbers Putty
It is pertinent to have all these tools and materials before starting the repairing procedure and to avoid last-minute shopping trips.
Double Handle Cartridge Faucet Repair Procedure
Step #1 - Find the Leak
Sometimes, the location of the leak baffles you.
The simple thing you can do to identify the leak is to turn off the water supply valves from under the sink. First, turn on the cold-water valve, if it is not leaking, turn it off and turn on the hot water valve instead. If it starts leaking, it means the issue is in the hot water valve. In case both valves are leaking, you need to repair both of them.
In some situations, there can also be an issue with the valve. It can be stuck and cause leakage. If that's the case, you perhaps need to change the entire valve.
Step #2 - Remove the Faucet Handle
After finding the leak, determine how the faucet is installed, so that you can disassemble it. Usually, you need a thin blade screwdriver to open the cap of the handle. In the latest models, manufacturers often hide the screws under the caps to beautify the handle.
Remove that screw and take off the handle.
Bear in mind some handles can have screws on the side or rear too. You can remove them with an Allen wrench. Once the screw is removed, pull up the handle carefully and take it off from the faucet body. If it can't be removed easily, look for other screws. Some handles can have more than one screw to keep them fixed on their place.
Step #3 - Pull Out the Cartridge
This is the most important step.
Cartridge won't be directly exposed after pulling out the handle. There can be a lock ring or lock nut as well. You have to remove them first through a screwdriver or pliers.
Now pull out the cartridge. It is an easy task; you don't need any kind of tool for that. Just simply jiggle it a little bit and pull it out if it is a little bit stuck.
Next, take it to your local home improvement store to buy the exact replacement. New cartridges often come with the O-ring. Therefore, it is better to get some plumber grease for them so that they can be inserted into the body easily. Applying grease on the new cartridge O-rings is particularly a good idea if it was difficult to remove the old one.
Step #4 - Install the New Cartridge
The new cartridge isn't the only thing that you should opt for. You should also replace the seats or springs, or any other small components that are fixed with the cartridge.
While installing the new model, ensure you are inserting it in the same orientation as the original one. If you won't do that, it won't align with other parts of the faucet and won't work well. Push it all the way into the housing and replace screws on top of its shaft.
If your faucet is modern or has decorative parts, reinstall them too. Next, replace the handle on it and secure it with the original set screw and turn on the water to check for leaks.
There is one thing you should remember. After installing the new cartridge, slowly turn on the water supply. Don't test it in front of immense level pressure. You need to give it some time to adopt the changes of the valve.
The initial too much pressure can damage the new cartridge.
Repairing procedure of a double handle faucet is quite simple if you know how to deal with the single handle models. The only difference is you have to canvass the leaks and damage on both sides and repair them according to the exact requirements.
If you don't have the tool or kit to follow this repair procedure, they are widely available at hardware stores. You can even order them online too if you perceive what tools you exactly need; they are economical and help you in the long term in the plumbing related issues.