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Plumbing and Faucet Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Plumber St. Petersburg FL is responsible for ensuring that the water and waste systems in homes and businesses function properly. They install and repair pipes that supply water, carry waste away, and connect appliances to these systems.


Plumbing is a highly skilled career that requires critical thinking, physical strength, and manual dexterity. Plumbers typically receive their training through an apprenticeship, which lasts up to four years.

A faucet handle allows you to control the flow of water through your kitchen, shower, or bath sink. Typically, these handles are made of porcelain or metal and come in various styles and colors to complement the aesthetic of your home. They are usually easy to maintain, but sometimes they can become loose or broken and need replacement.

The first step in fixing a loose faucet handle is to shut off the sink’s water supply. This can be done by locating the shut-off valves under your sink and turning them clockwise until they are completely closed. Once the water is turned off, you can then begin examining and diagnosing your leaky faucet. Common problems include leaking, low water pressure, or the inability to turn the handle. Once you have determined the problem, you will need to gather the necessary repair parts.

To replace your faucet handle, first remove the old one by unscrewing it from the valve stem. The screw that secures the handle is likely covered by a decorative cap or button, which you will need to remove with a flathead or Phillips screwdriver. Once the cap or button is removed, you can use an Allen wrench to remove the set screw. After removing the handle and cover plate, you can then reassemble the valve stem by tightening the cartridge retaining nut.

Using a small amount of plumber’s grease, you can then lubricate the new cartridge and put the handle back on. After ensuring that the handle is seated properly and aligned, you can then tighten the handle screw and replace the decorative cap or cover (if applicable). Once all the parts are assembled, you can return the water supply to your sink and test the faucet for proper function.

Lever handles are the most popular faucet handle style, available in single- and double-handle configurations to suit any type of kitchen or bathroom design. They are the most versatile as well, fitting both compression and cartridge faucets. For homeowners with a more contemporary barnhouse aesthetic, cross handles are a great choice. These handles feature a sleek appearance and twist operation, making them a popular choice for bathroom and laundry room faucets.

Faucet Seat

Located at the base of the faucet, the valve seat is the piece that opens and closes to allow water through when you turn the handle on and off. Over time, it can wear out, causing a leak around the handle. Replacing the valve seat is an inexpensive alternative to replacing the entire faucet and can help save you money on water and energy bills. To replace the valve seat, first remove the faucet stem by turning it counterclockwise. Then remove the cap on the faucet body, applying penetrating oil if it is stuck. Then you can access the screw on the bottom of the stem that will need to be removed with pliers or your fingers. Once the screw is removed, remove the old washer and seat.

The next step is to clean the valve seat. You can use a file or even a razor blade to smooth it out, but do not use harsh abrasives because you can ruin the soft brass. You can also purchase a faucet seat grinding tool, which is an inexpensive way to even out the worn surface and create a seal that won’t leak.

Once you have a smooth, uniform surface on the valve seat, it’s time to reseat it. This is done by inserting the custom tool into the hole and twisting it to apply pressure. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as you could ruin the valve seat. After you have twisted the tool into place, shine a flashlight through it and look for dark spots. If you see any, reinsert the tool and give it another try.

When the adjusting ring is tight, it will have a hard time rotating and may feel stiff or jammed. If this is the case, loosen it by using a spanner wrench and turning it counterclockwise. After the adjusting ring is free, you can install the new washer kit and seat. If you’re replacing a washer, be sure to get an exact match for your faucet. It will make the installation process go much more smoothly and ensure a tight seal.

Faucet Cylinder

Cartridge faucets operate from a small cartridge that’s easy to replace when it malfunctions. The faucet’s cartridge is a plastic cylinder with notches on the side and a stem on top. It’s usually located in the faucet body and is accessible by removing the handle or other components that restrict water flow when the cartridge is replaced. A leaking cartridge can waste water and cause water damage, so it’s important to fix a leaky cartridge quickly.

Before you begin a cartridge repair, shut off the water supply valves to your home’s plumbing. You’ll find the water valves under your sink, typically a single handle for hot and cold waters. Then, remove the handle to expose the screw holding it in place. This screw may be a decorative cap, a screw on the bottom of the faucet handle or an exposed Allen-head set screw on the handle body. You’ll also need to remove the decorative collar and cartridge retaining nut (if applicable).

Once you have removed these parts, you should be able to see the cartridge assembly. A small cartridge kit, with a new washer and spring, can be purchased from most hardware stores or home centers for $3 or less. The new washer and spring fit on the cartridge seat, replacing the original parts that were damaged or worn out. The seat may be pitted, which is easy to fix by grinding it with an emery cloth or simply sanding it down with a sander. Afterwards, spread plumber’s grease over the seat and washer to help prevent future leaking.

Using needle nose pliers or an adjustable wrench, you can then firmly grasp the cartridge with your fingers and pull straight up to remove it. This will probably take some effort, and you might experience a little water leaking from the faucet during this process. Once you have the old cartridge removed, clean any mineral deposits off it with a vinegar solution and lubricate its O-rings with plumber’s grease. You’ll need to lubricate the O-rings again after reassembling the faucet, since they can dry out and crack over time. Reassemble the faucet in reverse order of disassembly, and test it for water flow and leaks before turning the water back on.

Faucet O-Ring

The O-ring is a small rubber part located inside the faucet spout to help prevent leaks. Often, a drip or water leak from this area is caused by an old and worn O ring. Fortunately, replacing this part is an easy and inexpensive repair. However, if you notice that water is leaking from another area of the faucet, it may be time to call your plumber for an inspection and professional repair.

A dripping faucet is an obvious sign that it’s time to replace the O-ring. However, you should also check other parts of the faucet to make sure they are in good working condition. If you find that the handle is loose or wobbly, this could indicate that it’s time to change the cartridge. Lastly, water leaking from the base of the faucet is also an indication that the O-ring needs to be replaced.

Faucet O-rings are located under the spout and can be easily accessed with a little wiggle and pull. If you’re not confident in your ability to do this, a professional plumber can usually fix the problem with minimal fuss.

Before beginning your faucet repair, shut off the water supply to the sink by turning the valves under the sink in a clockwise direction. This will ensure that no more water gets into the piping while you’re working on the faucet.

The next step is to remove the handle and escutcheon cap. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the disk cylinder mounting screws and lift the cylinder out of place. Once the cylinder is removed, you can remove the washer and sleeve with needle-nose pliers. Once the old O-ring is removed, install a new one and apply a thin layer of plumber’s grease to help it seal better.

If you are unable to find an O-ring that matches the old one, take the old one with you to your local hardware or home center store and ask the staff for assistance in finding a replacement. When you’re ready to reassemble the faucet, turn the water back on by turning the shut-off valves under the sink counterclockwise.