This is a Hammer

Faulty Faucet Causes Homeowner Headache

Q: We self-installed a kitchen faucet last year, an expensive single-lever unit with a faucet that curves up several inches high so that there’s plenty of room for pots and pans underneath. For several weeks now, whenever I turn off the water, a thin stream of water continues trickling out of the faucet for several minutes. I make sure to push the lever all the way down when I turn it off, but that doesn’t fix it. How do we repair this? – Joyce G., Burlington, Vt.

A: If you saved the manufacturer instructions or warranty card, dig that paper out and look for a customer service number.

The most likely problem with the faucet is a faulty cartridge, and in a unit that was only purchased about a year ago, that part should be covered in the faucet’s warranty. Contacting the manufacturer through the number given on the manual or warranty card will connect you with a troubleshooting department that can walk you through additional steps to determine whether a replacement cartridge is needed.

If you can’t find those documents, go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the faucet model – a manual may be available online along with a contact number. Or, if it’s out of warranty but you have the receipt, contact the store where you bought the faucet; some home-improvement stores have return or parts replacement policies in place for many of their items, particularly pricier ones.

If the manufacturer (or the store) agrees that it’s a cartridge issue and is covered, it will send you a replacement cartridge. A new set of O-rings also should be included; if not, you’ll want to purchase the correct-size rings for your faucet model at the home-improvement store.

The beauty of a cartridge faucet is that compared to older valve-type faucets, replacement is almost a breeze. You don’t have to struggle with re-seating the valve stem – praying that you haven’t ground the re-seating tool around too far. Instead, you just pop in the new cartridge and replace the faucet seals. You shouldn’t have to worry about servicing that faucet again for several years.

There are a number of online videos that detail the replacement of a kitchen faucet cartridge, which should help you with the repair.

HOME TIP: Purchase a set of O-rings or seals for each type of faucet in your home, and tape the bag of replacements to the side or back of each sink cabinet so you have them on hand.

Send your questions or comments to, or write This Is a Hammer, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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