All faucets perform the same function, but they don't all work the same. Take a look at our tips for repairing and installing a single-handle faucet.

January 26, 2019
Kitchen: Sink

A single-handle disk faucet is made with a pair of ceramic or plastic disks encased in a cylinder. The upper disk rotates when you turn the handle. Water flows when the inlets of the upper and lower disks line up. Like any faucet, leaks or other issues can occur with this faucet. 

If water wells up around the handle or drips out of the spout, replace the seals with exact duplicates. If that does not solve the problem, replace the entire cylinder — you cannot open it to replace disks. If water flow is slow or erratic, particles of rust and minerals may be clogging the inlets. Cleaning them solves the problem. We'll show you how to do all this and more in our steps provided below. 

What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Hex wrench
  • Cleaning brush
  • Repair kit with seals and O-rings
  • Silicone grease

American Standard Type Faucet

Carefully note the order and direction of the parts as you disassemble a disk faucet so you can put them back correctly. Rubber seals and O-rings are usually located in two places in the faucet; you may have to partially disassemble the cylinder to get at some of them.

Step 1: Remove Handle

Shut off the water. Turn the faucet on until the water stops running. To remove the handle you'll probably need to unscrew a setscrew using a hex wrench or small screwdriver. Lift off the handle and remove the dome housing.

Step 2: Purchase New O-Rings

Pull out the cylinder that contains the disks and take it to a home center or hardware store to find replacement parts. The O-rings can be pried out of the cylinder using your fingers.

Disk Faucet With Gaskets

Instead of individual O-rings or rubber seals, some disk faucets use a rubber or nylon gasket. This way only one part is needed rather than two or three separate parts. To repair simply replace the worn gasket.

Step 3: Remove Plate and Seals

On some models removing the bottom plate reveals the rubber seals. Remove them with a small screwdriver, taking care not to nick the plastic housing. If the cylinder is cracked or scored, replace it. Otherwise buy a kit with the rubber seals and O-rings.

What if the Faucet Leaks at the Base?

Some single-handle disk faucets have large rubber rings at the base of the spout. These may wear out. Remove the worn rings with a standard screwdriver or knife. Take the old ring with you when shopping to find an exact replacement. Clean away any debris, coat the replacement parts with silicone grease, and reinstall.

If water drips below the faucet and you find wet spots in the cabinet floor, feel with your hand and check with a flashlight to find the highest wet spot. You may need to tighten a supply tube where it hooks to the faucet.

Step 4: Clean Parts

Before replacing the rubber parts, gently clean away scum and debris from the seats using a toothbrush or a nonmetallic abrasive pad. Rub a little silicone grease on the rubber parts.

Step 5: Put Back Together

Reassemble the cylinder. Install the cylinder so it faces the same direction as it did before.


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