Part III

Everything... and the kitchen sink

Your therapist will explain that it’s late at night when most people notice the things that really bother them.

When it’s quiet.

When you wish you were sleeping.

When you notice the faucet is dripping.

The faucet is dripping. In daylight that’s not a big deal. At 4 a.m. it’s as bad as your worst nightmare.

OK. Maybe your nightmares aren't that bad. But you do have a dripping faucet. Are you going to call a plumber or are you going to fix it yourself?

You’re going to fix it yourself. It just isn’t that difficult.

Mike Frentz has figured all this out. For example: There are basically only two styles of home faucets – kitchen or bath. The difference is the kitchen faucet, perhaps like the faucet on your laundry tub, has a spout that swivels. Most bathroom faucets have spouts that are fixed in place.

That’s half of what you need to know. In order to fix a faucet, you have to be able to accurately describe where the leak is coming from – the end of the spout, the base of the spout, or the base of the handles.

The other half of what you need to know is that faucets, bathroom or kitchen, either use washers or are called washerless faucets.

Washerless faucets really aren’t washerless. Mike says the difference between the two is that washerless faucets are just designed differently. They tend to slice off the water by not letting it flow from the source to the spout. Regular faucets work with a compression seal – you turn the handle, the water source is squeezed off.

You now have all the information you need to size up the problem, get the right parts, and fix the dripping faucet.

Anywhere from 15 minutes for replacing a simple washer, up to 2 hours if you need to replace the series of parts that make a washerless faucet work properly.

An adjustable wrench
A pair of channel lock pliers (trivia digression – Mike says these used to be called water pump pliers. On the old Ford Model T’s, the water pump used to come loose and drivers would carry a pair of these to tighten it back down).
An eighth-inch Allen wrench.
A small pocket screwdriver.

Tell ‘em apart:
The older your faucet, the more likely it has washers. Newer faucets like Delta and Peerless (Delta owns Peerless) are going to be washerless.

Single Handle Washerless Faucets

Shown, single handle kitchen faucet without spray.

Items are shown in order of assembly.
1. Handle
2. Cap with adjusting ring
3. Cam Assembly
4. Ball
5. Seats
6. Springs

Looking down into the opening of a Delta faucet where the above parts were removed. Two hole, one right, one left is where the seats and springs go. Remember large end of springs go in first and the seats slip down over the spring.

What to look for

Mike says if water is dripping from the spout, it means the seat washer in the handle is worn out and needs to be replaced. Mike recommends using flat washers wherever possible because beveled washers cause the seat (the apparatus on which the washer sits) to wear out faster.

Leaking around the handle means the O-rings/packings needs to be replaced. An O-ring is sort of a sub-category of a washer and keeps water from coming up around the handle by forming a more stable seal.

O-rings also are used to seal the base of the spout.

a) Turn off the water – not to your entire house, just to that particular fixture.

b) Look for a fastener, either a small screw or an access point for a small Allen wrench. It could be under the cap of the handle, for example.

c) If the base of the spout is the problem use the adjustable wrench or the channel lock pliers. Counterclockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten.

d) Remove the handle or spout.

Now just stop for a moment and look at the way things are assembled. Match up the pieces with the photos accompanying this article.

This is important, particularly with a washerless system. Your goal, washer or washerless fixture, is to use that small pocket screwdriver to gently remove the washer from the seating, and bring the washer into Frentz and Sons so Mike can match it up for you.

Mike can also determine, by asking a couple questions, if the problem goes further than that. In either case, the dollar amount of the parts you’re looking for is probably less than $10, total, in most instances.

Faucets with conventional washers

Shown, deck mount laundry tub faucet

Items are shown in order of assembly.
1. Handle Screw
2. Handle
3. Bonnet nut
4. Stem with o-ring
5. Bib washer
6. Bib screw

Locking down in the hole that the stem came out of you can see the seat.

In some cases, a bib washer is just 25 cents. The point is that Mike is going to stop you from buying a new fixture piece by piece, and instead will recommend just purchasing a new faucet because in the long run it will not only be less expensive, but a better fix.

In other cases, such as replacing the seats and springs (that’s what the washer assembly is called in a washerless faucet), it might run you about $6.

This isn’t tough.

An o-ring will be easy to see, wrapped around the stem. Just slip the end of the screwdriver under it, try not to snap it, and lift it off the end of the stem or spout. In a newer washerless faucet, the washers are smaller in circumference and thicker than regular washers. You’ll still want to carefully remove them with that small screwdriver. In washerless faucets, the seats and springs are located underneath a metal ball with a stem on it – depending on the position of that ball in relation to the holes where the seats and springs are, the water either flows or is cut off.

Check the descriptions on the accompanying pictures. Please note that the parts in the pictures are in order of assembly, or disassembly, as the case may be.
Finally, the parts Frentz and Sons sells are original, factory Delta parts. Mike just packages the parts himself because purchasing the parts on a printed card with the Delta name costs almost twice as much per package. When he orders bulk and packages it himself, Mike can pass the savings along to his customers.