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Replacing A Cartridge Faucet

MATERIALS: New cartridge, O-ring, silicone grease

TOOLS: Screwdriver, water-pump pliers, needle-nose pliers

Check with the manufacturer before you buy replacement parts. Some faucet parts are guaranteed for life, and you can get replacements just by asking.

1 TURN OFF THE WATER SUPPLY AT THE SHUTOFF VALVE OR THE MAIN VALVE. Pry off the handle cap. Unscrew the faucet handle screw using a screwdriver. Lift the handle from the faucet assembly.

2 UNSCREW THE RETAINING NUT AND REMOVE THE RETAINING CLIP. Spin the faucet out of the way and use water-pump pliers to remove the plastic retaining nut. Pull out the retaining clip that is just beneath it with needle-nose pliers. Lift the faucet spout straight up from the faucet body and remove.

3 PEEL OFF (DON’T CUT) THE O-RING. Slip the 0-ring from its groove and peel it from the housing. It's important to keep the ring whole so you can find an exact replacement at the store. Use the tip of a screwdriver to help release it if necessary. If you can't peel it off, pry it out with a screwdriver and cut it with a utility knife.

4 PULL OUT THE CARTRIDGE STEM. Grip the exposed end of the cartridge stem with a cartridge puller. Pull it straight up and out of the faucet body. Some replacement cartridges may come with a cartridge puller designed for the job. Others require a tool you’ll have to buy separately. In any case, don't use pliers to remove the cartridge or you might damage or destroy it.

5 CLEAN AND REASSEMBLE THE FAUCET. Clean the faucet body with vinegar to remove debris. Coat the new 0-ring with silicone grease to lubricate it, then seat it into the faucet body O-ring groove. Insert the new stem cartridge. Replace the faucet spout and reassemble. Turn on the water. Check the hot and cold water to make sure they are not reversed. If reversed, disassemble, turn the stem 180 degrees, then reassemble.

Repairing A Rotary Ball Faucet

MATERIALS: Silicone grease, rotary ball repair kit, rotary ball faucet replacement ball if necessary, masking tape

TOOLS: Hex set key wrench, water-pump pliers, tweezers, utility knife

KEEP THOSE OLD PARTS! Don't throw away any old parts until you’re finished with the job; you may want them for reference. Take the old parts with you when you shop for replacements so you find exactly what you need.

1 SHUT OFF THE WATER AND UNSCREW THE CAP. Use a pair of water-pump pliers to remove the cap. Wrap the jaws of the pliers with masking tape to prevent damage to the cap.

2 REMOVE THE CAM. Lift off the cam housing, seal, and ball. Inspect each part for damage and replace damaged parts.

3 LIFT OUT THE SEATS. Use tweezers to remove the valve seats and springs. The springs are cone-shaped, with one end larger than the other. NOTE HOW THE SPRINGS ARE INSTALLED BEFORE YOU LIFT THEM OUT—you must install the replacement springs in exactly the same order you remove them or the faucet won't work properly. Remove the spout by twisting and lifting at the same time.

4 PEEL OFF (DON’T CUT) THE O-RING. Slip the 0-ring from its groove and peel it from the housing. It's important to keep the ring whole so you can find an exact replacement at the store. Use the tip of a screwdriver to help release it if necessary. If you can't peel it off, pry it out with a screwdriver and cut it with a utility knife.

5 REASSEMBLE THE FAUCET. Coat the new 0-ring with silicone grease and seat it in the faucet housing groove. Push the spout over the O-ring and faucet housing. Install the new valve seats and springs, making sure they are installed correctly. Fit the cam ball into the notch in the body. Screw on the cam housing using the wrench included in the kit. Screw on the cap and install the handle. Turn the water on and check for leaks. Tighten the adjusting ring firmly to prevent leaks.

Repairing A Two-Handle Tub And Shower Faucet

MATERIALS: O-ring, cartridge replacement kit, silicone grease, white vinegar or lime-dissolving solution

TOOLS: Screwdriver, plastic putty knife, shower stem socket kit, pliers, utility knife, flashlight

If you see a mineral buildup on the assembly, soak parts in a white vinegar or lime-dissolving solution before you reassemble the faucet.

1 TURN OFF THE WATER SUPPLY AND REMOVE THE HANDLE. Pry off the handle cap. Use a screwdriver to remove the handle. If there is caulking around the escutcheon plate, use a plastic putty knife to remove the caulk. Slide the escutcheon plate off the stem.

2 UNSCREW THE RETAINING NUT. Use a shower stem socket (available at home centers and hardware stores) to remove the retaining nut.

3 REMOVE THE CARTRIDGE. Grasp the end of the cartridge with a pair of pliers and pull it straight out. If the hole in the tile is too small, enlarge it by chipping with a screwdriver and hammer.

4 PEEL OFF (DON’T CUT) THE 0-RING. Slip the 0-ring from its groove and peel it from the housing. It's important to keep the ring whole so you can find an exact replacement at the store. Use the tip of a screwdriver to help release it if necessary. If you can't peel it off, pry it off with a screwdriver and cut it with a utility knife.

5 SLIDE ON THE NEW O-RING. Apply silicone grease to the new 0-ring. Slide it over the cartridge, seating it into the 0-ring groove. Reassemble the faucet. Turn on the water and test for leaks.

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