Every kitchen faucet is designed to be watertight and this is made possible by seals inside the tap itself. These seals make sure that the water contained in the pipes only flows through the spout and never from the base.
A kitchen faucet leaking from the base is typically caused by the o rings being damaged or from debris that is affecting the watertight seal. If the leak continues to happen when the faucet has been turned off then the cartridge is defective and needs replacement parts.
To begin fixing a leaky faucet then you will need to consider three things. Not every kitchen faucet is made the same so taking these into consideration can save you time and money.
- What brand is your faucet?
- Is the kitchen faucet single or double handled?
- Is the faucet leaking from the base when the tap is on or is it leaking continuously even when it’s off?
First, let’s identify your kitchen faucet brand and manufacturer. These are usually written on the tap itself. It will be easier if you can find the model number. If none of these are available to you then take some pictures and head out to your local hardware store to get help. The reason you want to be able to identify the model is so that you can buy the right replacement parts, such as the o rings and cartridge stem.
Stopping a Kitchen Faucet Leaking from the Base
If the problem with your faucet body lies in the o rings then they will be in different locations depending on what handle faucet you have. In a double handle faucet, they are in the spout and in the stem for a single handle faucet. We’re going to give you two separate guides for the different types of faucets to stop them leaking at the base.
Single Handle Faucets
You will need some basic tools and materials to take on this hardware project:
- A flathead screwdriver or a sharp knife
- An adjustable wrench or slip joint pliers
- New o rings
After you have all of the right tools then this fix should only take you ten minutes. Make sure to buy the o rings well ahead of time and seek out expert advice so you have the correctly sized ones for your kitchen sink.
Step 1 – Remove the Faucet Handle
On most faucet models the handle will be attached using a hex screw. This screw is hidden underneath a small plastic cover on the handle. Take your screwdriver or knife to remove the cover. Then you can use an Allen wrench to loosen the screw. The screw doesn’t have to be completely removed but if you do, make sure the drain is blocked so nothing can fall down it. Now you can remove the handle.
Step 2 – Remove the Spout
The kitchen faucets spout will need to be removed after you have taken off the collar or dome. This is the part of the faucet body that looks like a dome or a round collar that holds the faucet spout in place. With most modern faucets it has been threaded but some models have this part pushed in so you have to pull it out.
If the part is threaded then you can use some needle nose pliers to grab it and then loosen it off. You may want to wrap a dry paper towel around it so that the pliers don’t scratch anything. Another towel should be placed at the back of the faucet to catch any hot and cold water that decides to escape once the spout has been removed.
Now you are ready to remove the faucet spout. You will probably need to give it a wiggle when you lift it out because the o rings are holding on to it for that watertight seal. Wipe off any excess water with a towel.
Step 3 – Replace the O Rings
You should now be at the point in your kitchen faucet repair journey to have the o rings in hand. Take a good look at them. Is the o ring worn out? Do you notice any mineral deposits and debris stuck to them?
Simply cleaning the o rings could be enough to fix the issue of a dripping faucet. However, it’s recommended that you replace them altogether because they’re so cheap.
- Remove the o rings using the screwdriver or knife. Don’t worry if you damage them because you won’t need to reuse them in your new faucet assembly.
- Clean the grooves of the o ring with a rag to remove any dirt and mineral deposits. A paper towel will do the job nicely. Then apply grease to these grooves and around the new o ring.
- Be careful not to damage the o rings as you install them into your faucet body. A good tip is to use a piece of string looped over the o ring which helps expand it enough to push it over the cartridge. Once the o ring has got into its groove you can remove the string.
Step 4 – Reconnect the Spout and Handle
Clean inside of the faucet spout including the seal that sits at the top of the neck. Apply some grease there as well for good measure. The o rings are new so you will have to force the spout over them by using some force but be careful not to damage them.
- Reconnect the dome or collar and then attach the faucet handle. Tighten up the hex screw and replace the plastic cover.
- Turn the tap on to see if it is still leaking.
Double Handle Faucets
The process is much the same with double handle faucets but in this case, the o rings sit in the spout. Replacing the o rings here are a lot faster and much easier than single handle faucets.
Step 1 – Disconnect the Faucet Spout
The faucet spout will be attached to the bottom of the faucet body with a collar. You will need a good pair of pliers to loosen this off. You can wrap a towel around the collar before grabbing it with the pliers so nothing gets scratched. Loosen and remove the collar.
Now you are free to pull the spout straight up. There will be some water that flows out once you have done this but it can be wiped away with a towel.
Step 2 – Replace the O Rings
- Pull the collar up the kitchen faucets so you can see the o rings. There could be one or two depending on the model of kitchen sink faucet.
- If you want to reuse the same o ring and the problem is with dirt and debris then clean them off. Our recommendation would always be to completely replace them.
- Take the o rings out of the faucet base using your screwdriver or knife.
- Clean out the grooves and put some grease in there.
- Slide the new o ring back into place so that it fits nicely inside the grooves and rub a little more grease around it.
Step 3 – Install the Faucet Spout
- Push on the spout until you hear a click from the faucet body. The o rings are new so you may need to apply a bit of force to get them back into place.
- Screw the collar back on and then tighten it fully using pliers. Do this with a towel wrapped around it so the finish doesn’t become damaged.
- Turn the tap on to see if the spout leak has been stopped.
That’s how you fix a dripping faucet when it’s leaking from the base. Remember to turn off your water supply using the shutoff valves before beginning so that you don’t drench your entire kitchen. If the leak persists then a new cartridge will be needed and this is a more in-depth process that is better to be handled by your plumber.
Remember to check out other articles listed here on our website for further help with sinks and plumbing issues. We cover everything from dropping taps to spinning faucets, so make sure you give the rest of the website a browse.
Why is my kitchen tap leaking at the base?
There are a few reasons why your kitchen tap may be leaking at the base. The first is that there could be dirt or a mineral build-up which has unseated the washer, leading it to no longer being watertight. Another could be that the washer o o-ring has broken and needs to be replaced.
Why is water leaking from under the faucet?
Leaks coming from under a faucet are usually caused by worn-out washers and o-rings. You will need to find a replacement for these to stop the problem from happening.