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Compression Faucets

If you have a compression faucet, it will have two handles - one for the hot water and one for the cold water. In order to control the pressure of your water, compression faucets use a system of seals and washers.

Fixing A Leak
The most common plumbing problem is the leaky faucet. If your compression faucet is leaking, it is probably being caused by an old stem washer. Washers in the hot water tap tend to wear out before those in the cold water tap. However, your washer may also be malfunctioning if your valve seat (the place where the spigot rests) is rough. If you are constantly replacing the washer in one of your spigots you may want to look into repairing this valve seat. This can save you a lot of time and energy. If the leak is coming out of one of the handles, you probably will need to replace the rubber O-ring that's inside. This may require extra plumbing tools and supplies.

Fixing a Compression Faucet


  1. Shut off the water going to your faucet by turning off the sink's shut off valve. This should be located underneath the sink. If you can't find it, you can shut off the main water supply to your house. Turn both sink faucets into the open position to get rid of any sitting water.


  2. Take off the decorative covers on both faucets. Remove the screws with a screwdriver.


  3. Remove the faucet handles.


  4. Using a smooth-jawed wrench or a pair of adjustable pliers, take out the retaining nut. Don't damage this nut.


  5. Put the handles back into position, and use them to twist off the remaining stem assembly. If you see any worn threads, get new ones.


  6. Take a look at the valve seat, which is the hole where the stem assembly sits. A rusted valve seat should be replaced.


  7. You will need a special seat wrench to take out the seat. Push the wrench into the valve seat and turn it counterclockwise. The seat should lift out. Be sure to buy the same valve seat as a replacement. Before installing it, coat it with joint compound or wrap plumber's tape around it.

    Note: If the seat valve won't come out, resurface it with seat-dressing tool. You can buy this inexpensive product at any plumbing store. Select a coarse cutter head that is just a bit smaller than the seat valve, and place it on the dressing tool. Push the head into the valve seat, but do not force it. It should fit fairly tightly. Press the tool directly downwards, being careful not to push at an angle. Turn the handle clockwish two or three times. You will then need to switch the coarse cutter head to a finer cutter head. Repeat the entire process.


  8. Take off the stem screw.


  9. Put in a new stem washer. It should be the same size and shape as the original washer.


  10. Take off the O-ring from the threaded spindle and put on a new one. If your faucet has no O-ring, it probably has packing string instead. Packing string looks like dark twine and must be scraped off. Wrap some more packing string around the stem, just under the retaining nut. The string should be wrapped in a clockwise motion.


  11. Using vaseline or heatproof faucet grease, completely coat the spindle threads (and packing string).


  12. Rebuild.