How to Repair a Stuck Faucet

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There are many challenges faced during home repair and one that can be difficult is removing a stuck faucet cartridge or handle. When repairing a leaking faucet, the handle and cartridge are removed. However, sediment buildup creates a tight seal that makes the parts stick in place. There is a tool made just to get stuck cartridges out of faucets; use it, and the task is much easier. Plan on an hour or more to complete this project.

Things You'll Need

  • Allen wrench or screwdriver
  • Handle puller tool
  • Cartridge puller
  • Turn off the water to the faucet.

  • Unscrew the handle set screw, which is at the base of the handle or on top of it under a small, round cover which is easily removed by hand. An Allen wrench or screwdriver removes these screws. Take the screw out of the handle to ensure it is not preventing removal of the handle.

  • Pull the handle off. If this part sticks, attach a handle puller tool to the faucet and gently rotate the end to pull the handle off gradually. This tool also helps remove handle screws which are stuck. Attach both arms to the edge of the handle, insert the post into the screw head and turn the handle puller to remove the handle.

  • Remove the stem with a bath socket. Slide the bath socket over the stem and turn counterclockwise to remove on valve faucets. Or, if it is a cartridge faucet, remove the cartridge retaining nut. Place a cartridge puller tool over the cartridge stem and turn the tool handle to pull the cartridge out. You may also grip the end of the cartridge with pliers, turn the cartridge back and forth and then pull the cartridge out.

  • Replace the valve stem and tighten with a bath socket wrench. Or, replace the cartridge and retaining nut. Slide the handle back on and tighten the handle screw with an Allen wrench or screwdriver.

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