Repair Procedure of a Single Handle Cartridge Faucet

Don't know how to fix single handle cartridge faucets? No issue. In this post, we are going to reveal how to fix them yourself. We know, for a non-technical kind of person, this situation can paralyze with fright, but with right tools, it can be easy.


You can do it all by yourself______

If you don't have any idea regarding cartridge faucet, first allow us to explain a tad about it. It is a special type of fixture that has a hollow metal or plastic cartridge insert that seals against the spout.

It is so common that you have probably seen it dozens of time but don't recognize it. You often find them in the kitchen and the bathrooms as their main purpose is to control the water flow at different temperatures. 

For example, apart from turning the water on and off by raising or pushing down the lever, the single handle cartridge faucet also facilitates in making the water hot and colder.

All you need is to push it slightly toward left and right.

Though the cartridge faucets come in single-level and two-handle versions, today we are specifically discussing repairing procedure of a single handle cartridge faucet. 

You don't need to spend a lot of time and money on a new faucet. Just a few simple sets of instructions and the right tools can make the entire repairing process easier for you. If it can't be repaired, you have to opt for the new one.

Bear in mind, the structure of some faucets are complex and they require only a professional assistance. However, these below instructions will apply to most situations. 

Before we begin and reveal the actual steps, it is a good idea to keep the tools on your counter. You need to know which tools and materials can assist you in repairing your single handle cartridge faucet.

  • Old toothbrush
  • Heatproof silicone plumber's grease
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaner to remove Mineral build-up
  • Pipe wrench or channel-type pliers
  • Allen (hex) wrench
  • Replacement cartridge valve
  • Utility knife

Is it necessary to have all these tools? Well, not exactly. But, these tools, can assist in fixing or reinstalling the cartridge faucet.

All of them have their own specific function that facilitates in each step.

Step #1 - Turn Off The Water Supply

Turn off the water supply first, as you don't want it to flow on the floor or waste it in the sink. Usually, you can stop the supply from under the sink.

There is a water shutoff option that consists of a small valve. Just turn it off through the handle to cut the water supply.

Step #2 - Remove The Handle Screw

Removing the handle can be a bit tricky. You need an Allen wrench for that.

Since mostly there is an exposed Allen-head set screw on the side of it. We said it's tricky because the professional manufacturers often hide the screw that holds the handle.

Remove the handle with the help of Allen-wrench; in order to remove it properly, you have to lift the handle a bit. It won't let your struggle with it.

Step #3 - Remove The Faucet Cartridge

After removing the handle, there will be exposed disc cartridge.

You can't just pull it out straight away. There can be a retainer nut, retainer clip, or screw that holds it in place. Most cartridges have the retainer nut. You have to unscrew it first by turning it in the counter-clockwise direction. 

Keep in mind, if you are dealing with a new or expensive cartridge faucet, there can be some additional decorative items that you need to remove first. However, in most traditional faucets, you will see the cartridge only after removing the handle.

In case there isn't any retaining nut, it means it is a complicated cartridge faucet. 

You have to unscrew the decorative collar first and bracket attached to the cartridge by a Phillips-head screw. After removing these two things, there can be a ring inside it too that orient the movement of the handle. 

After taking out these additional things, you can see the retainer nut that holds the cartridge in place.

Next, lift the cartridge out of the faucet body. You can use Pliers for it if you have to, but make sure it is protected. Besides, notice the orientation of it so that you can reinstall it in the same manner.

After removing it check what's the actual cause of damage. If it isn't working properly due to dirt or grease, you can clean it with an old toothbrush and a cleaner. 

Reinstall everything again in order to test it again. 

If it's working correctly, congratulation! 

However, in case nothing is changed, and the leakage problem is still there, it means rubber seals are damaged, which can't be repaired. 

You have to buy a new cartridge from the local home improvement store.

Step #4 - Install The New Cartridge

The new cartridge often comes with a kit. It includes a square-topped plastic removal tool. Though, before you opt for the new cartridge, it is better to take the old one with you so that you can get the exact replacement from the store.

Before installing the new one, don't forget to clean the inside of the faucet body thoroughly. 

In case you don't have the specific cleaner for it, you can use vinegar as well. 

In addition, lubricate inside the valve body. This will not only extend the life of the cartridge but also keep the rubber seals in good shape in the long run.

Now, gently place the new cartridge inside the faucet body. Make sure it is aligning with the notches and holes of it. It can happen by pushing it down until it is fully seated. 

Next, replace the nuts, screws onto it to keep it in place.

Once it is done, reinstall the faucet handle on top of it by tightening the set screw with an Allen wrench.

Turn the water valves back on to test for leaks.

Concluding Thoughts

So, that's how you repair a single handle cartridge faucet.

By following the above steps, it can be done instantly. Even a beginner without any technical knowledge can repair it rather comfortably with the right set of tools. In case you find the hot and cold water controls are reversed, it means you have installed it backward. 

Just repeat the process and rotate the cartridge 180 degrees before reinstalling it.

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