How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with Two Handles Easily

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The steady drip of a leaky faucet can be more than just an annoyance; it can lead to significant water waste, higher utility bills, and potential damage to your home. But fear not! Learning how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles is a task that most homeowners can tackle on their own, without the need for professional help. With a little patience, some basic tools, and the right knowledge, you can save money and the environment by addressing this common household problem.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles, from identifying the source of the leak to testing for success. By the end, you’ll feel confident in your ability to repair your faucet and prevent future issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify the source of a two-handle faucet leak by evaluating water temperature and examining components.
  • Gather necessary tools and materials, shut off water supply, then remove faulty handle to access internal parts.
  • Replace damaged parts with new compatible ones. Reassemble faucet, turn on water supply & check for leaks.

Identifying the Source of the Leak

Before you start the repair process, pinpointing the leak’s origin in your two-handle faucet is a must. Is it the hot side or the cold side that’s causing the problem? Identifying the problematic handle will help you address the issue more efficiently and avoid unnecessary work.

The subsequent sections delineate two crucial steps to precisely identify the leak’s source: evaluating the water temperature and examining the faucet components.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with Two Handles Easily

Bathtub Faucet Leaking Single Handle

If you've noticed your bathtub faucet leaking single handle, it's essential to address the issue promptly to prevent water wastage and potential damage. A leaking single-handle bathtub faucet can be a common household problem, often caused by worn-out seals or cartridges. In this guide, we will explore the steps to diagnose and fix this issue, allowing you to enjoy a leak-free and efficient bathtub faucet once again.

Check Water Temperature

The first step in identifying the source of the leak is to check the temperature of the leaking water. This can be done by turning off one of the water supply valves under the sink. If the water stops leaking, then the side that was turned off is the one causing the issue. If the leak continues, the other side is the culprit.

The temperature of the leaking water can give you valuable information about which handle is responsible for the leak. For instance, if the leaking water is hot, it’s likely that the hot side handle is the problem. On the other hand, if the leaking water is cold, the cold side handle may be at fault.

Inspect Faucet Components

After figuring out the problematic handle, proceed to scrutinize the faucet components for any observable signs of wear or damage. Pay close attention to the O-rings, gaskets, and washers, as these are the most common culprits for a leaky faucet.

In some cases, you may find that the cartridge itself is faulty. This can be indicated by a leaky cartridge faucet, difficulty in achieving the desired water temperature, or water leakage from the faucet. If you suspect the cartridge is the issue, you may need to replace it with a new one.

Preparing for Repair

A person gathering tools and materials for a faucet repair

Having pinpointed the leak’s source and inspected the faucet components, you can now gear up for the actual repair procedure. The upcoming sections will outline the requisite tools and materials for the task, and the significant action of halting the water supply to curtail further damage.

Shutting off the water supply is a crucial step in the repair process. Make sure to turn off the lights.

Gather Tools and Materials

Before starting the repair, assemble all the required tools and materials. A toolkit for this repair should include:

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hex/Allen wrenches

The right tool can make or break a DIY project.

Additionally, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • Teflon tape
  • Replacement O-rings
  • Faucet grease or plumber’s tape
  • Replacement washers

Make sure all your tools and materials are in good condition and easily accessible before you start the repair.

Shut Off Water Supply

Before embarking on any repairs, it’s paramount to stop your faucet’s water supply. This can be done by turning off the shutoff valves located under the sink or at the main valve. To turn off the shutoff valves, rotate the handle clockwise until it stops moving, or adjust the lever so it’s perpendicular to the water pipes.

After shutting off the water supply, open the faucet fully to release any pressure in the water lines and allow any remaining water to drain out. This will help prevent water damage and make it easier to work on your faucet.

Removing the Faulty Handle

A person removing a faulty handle from a faucet

Having stopped the water supply and prepared your tools, the next step is to eliminate the faulty handle to gain access to the internal components for repair or substitution.

The subsequent sections will steer you through the process of finding and removing the handle screw, along with detaching the handle itself.

Locate and Remove Handle Screw

To remove the handle screw, first identify its location. Some handles may have a brass screw on the side or rear, while others may have decorative caps (usually plastic) that conceal a screw for securing the handle.

Use the following steps to remove the handle from your faucet:

  1. Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry off the decorative cap from your faucet.
  2. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the handle screw.
  3. If the handle has a setscrew, use an Allen wrench to remove it.

Lift Off the Handle

With the handle screw removed, carefully lift the handle away from the faucet body. This will expose the cartridge and retaining nut, allowing you to inspect and repair the internal components of the faucet.

If the handle is stuck, use a pair of pliers to gently grip it and lift it off. Be cautious not to damage the handle or faucet body in the process.

Fixing the Internal Components

A person removing a retaining nut from a faucet

With the defective handle eliminated, it’s appropriate to tackle the leak’s root cause by repairing the faucet’s internal components to fix a leaky faucet.

Upcoming sections will assist you in removing the retaining nut, taking out the old cartridge, and replacing any broken parts.

Remove the Retaining Nut

To remove the cartridge retaining nut, use a wrench or pliers to loosen and remove it. Ensure you have a firm grip on the nut to avoid any damage to the faucet components.

Once the retaining nut is removed, inspect the area for any debris or corrosion that may have contributed to the leak.

Extract the Old Cartridge

With the retaining nut removed, it’s time to carefully pull out the old cartridge. Note its orientation, as you’ll need this information for assembly. To remove the cartridge, firmly grasp the top with pliers and pull it straight up.

If the cartridge is stuck on the cartridge shaft, try gently wiggling it as you pull to help dislodge it.

Shower Knob Leaking

If you've noticed a persistent issue with your shower knob leaking, it's crucial to address it promptly to prevent water wastage and potential damage. A leaking shower knob not only leads to higher water bills but can also result in mold growth and structural damage to your bathroom. To tackle this problem effectively, you'll need to identify the source of the leak, which could be due to a worn-out washer, faulty valve, or damaged cartridge. Once the cause is determined, you can either repair or replace the affected components, ensuring a watertight and efficient shower system that saves both water and money.

Replace Damaged Parts

A person replacing a damaged part in a faucet

Once the old cartridge is removed, replace any damaged or worn parts, such as O-rings, gaskets, and washers, with new ones. Ensure that the new parts are compatible with your faucet in terms of size and shape. Use the appropriate tools, such as a wrench and screwdriver, to install the new parts.

Applying plumber’s grease to the new O-rings and other parts will ensure smooth operation and help prevent future leaks, making it an essential tool for any plumbing project.

Reassembling the Faucet

Once the worn out component is replaced or mended, you can proceed to put the bathroom faucets back together.

The forthcoming sections will guide you in installing the new cartridge, fastening the retaining nut, and reattaching the handle.

Install the New Cartridge

To install the new cartridge, insert it into the faucet body, ensuring proper orientation based on the old cartridge’s position.

Ensure that the tab on the cartridge is facing the correct direction, as this will ensure proper operation of the faucet.

Secure the Retaining Nut

A person installing a new cartridge in a faucet

Replace and tighten the retaining nut to secure the cartridge in place. Use a wrench or pliers to firmly tighten the nut, being careful not to overtighten and cause damage to the faucet components.

Ensure that the nut is secure and doesn’t move when you try to move it.

Reattach the Handle

Finally, place the handle back onto the double handle faucet body, ensuring it’s properly aligned with the stem and the faucet spout. Secure the handle by tightening the set screw or screw cover back into position.

With the handle reattached, your faucet should now be fully reassembled and ready for use.

Testing for Success

Before celebrating your success, it’s necessary to test the mended faucet to verify that the leak has been resolved and no new problems have emerged.

The upcoming sections will lead you through resuming the water supply, checking the water supply lines for leaks, and affirming the success of your repair.

Turn On Water Supply

Restore the water supply by turning on the shutoff valves under the bathroom sink or at the main valve. Rotate the handle counterclockwise or adjust the lever so it’s parallel to the water pipes to open the valves.

If the valves are difficult to turn, a rag, tongue and groove pliers, or a pipe wrench can be used to improve grip.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

If you're wondering how to fix a leaky faucet, you're in the right place. A leaky faucet can be both annoying and wasteful, but the good news is that it's a common household issue that you can easily address. With a few basic tools and some simple steps, you can put an end to that persistent drip and save on your water bill. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of fixing a leaky faucet, whether it's a dripping kitchen or bathroom fixture. Don't worry; you don't need to be a plumbing expert to tackle this common problem effectively. Let's get started on solving that pesky leak!

Check for Leaks

Now that the water supply is restored, run water through the faucet to verify that the leak has been resolved and no new leaks have developed. Pay close attention to the faucet handle, spout, and valves, and look for any water dripping or pooling.

If you notice any remaining leaks, double-check your work and ensure all components are properly installed and tightened. If necessary, consult a professional plumber for further assistance.

However, if the faucet is now leak-free, congratulations! You’ve successfully fixed your leaky two-handle faucet, saving both water and money while gaining valuable DIY experience.


In this step-by-step guide, we’ve demonstrated how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles by identifying the source of the leak, preparing for the repair, removing the faulty handle, fixing the internal components, reassembling the faucet, and testing for success. With a little patience, the right tools, and a solid understanding of the process, you can tackle this common household issue and become a more self-sufficient homeowner.

Remember, addressing a leaky faucet not only saves water and money, but also helps protect your home from potential damage. Armed with this knowledge, you can now confidently face any leaky faucet that comes your way and restore peace and quiet to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common cause of a leaky dripping two handle faucet?

The most common cause of a leaky two handle faucet is a worn-out washer or gasket, a loose O ring, or corrosion in the valve seat.

These issues can be easily fixed with a faucet repair kit.

Why is my faucet leaking from the base and under the sink?

Your leaking faucet is likely caused by a worn out washer or gasket, a loose O ring, or corrosion in the valve seat. These issues are common and can be easily detected and fixed with most faucet repair kits.

How do I temporarily stop a dripping faucet?

To temporarily stop a dripping faucet, tie a string around the faucet, making sure it goes around the aerator or over the spout.

The string will collect the dripping water and direct it down the drain.

Why does my faucet drip after I turn it off?

Your faucet is likely dripping due to a loose or damaged seat washer, which can happen from repeated use.

This issue is common in sink faucets that are leaking water and can be caused by the seat washer screw becoming loose.

How can I determine which handle is causing the leak?

To determine which handle is causing the leak, check the temperature of the leaking water – if it’s hot, the hot side handle is likely the problem; if it’s cold, the cold side handle may be to blame.

If the water is hot, the hot side handle is likely the problem. If the water is cold, the cold side handle may be to blame.

Ryan Copley

Ryan Copley

Having spent years participating in bathroom, kitchen, and home renovations, Ryan uses this experience to write informative blog posts on a wide variety of home renovation and kitchen topics.

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