How to Repair a Leaky Delta Faucet

A leaky faucet can be a nuisance, wasting water and money. Delta faucets are high-quality fixtures, but they can develop leaks over time. The good news is that many leaks in Delta faucets can be repaired with some basic tools and a little know-how. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps for diagnosing and fixing several common types of leaks in Delta faucets.

Identifying the Type of Leak

The first step is to determine the location and type of leak you’re dealing with. There are a few main places where Delta faucets tend to leak:

Leaking from the Spout

If water is dripping from the spout, the cause is likely worn washers or O-rings inside the faucet handle. Replacing these components is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes.

Leaking from the Base of the Faucet

A leak coming from the base where the faucet attaches to the sink likely indicates an issue with the gaskets. Reseating or replacing the gaskets should stop this type of leak.

Leaking from under the Handle

Water coming from beneath the faucet handle suggests worn washers or O-rings inside the handle assembly need replacing. This repair requires removing the handle but is still straightforward.

Leaking from the Water Lines

If the connections between the supply lines and faucet are leaking, the fittings may just need tightening. But worn-out washers inside the supply line connections could also be causing the problem.

Shutting Off Water Supply

Before starting any repairs, the first thing you’ll need to do is shut off the water supply lines. This will prevent water from spraying out when you remove any faucet components.

Locate the shut-off valves below the sink and turn them clockwise until tight. If there are no shut-off valves, turn off the main water supply to the house.

Open the faucet handles to release pressure and drain any residual water from the lines.

Place a towel under the faucet to catch any remaining drips of water.

Replacing Faucet Washers and O-Rings

If the leak is coming from the spout or from under the handles, replacing the faucet washers and O-rings is the likely fix. Here are the steps for this straightforward repair:

Remove the Faucet Handle

Use an Allen wrench or small screwdriver to remove the screw on the side of the handle. Pull the handle straight up to remove it.

Remove the Retaining Nut or Bonnet

Look inside the faucet and locate the retaining nut or bonnet just above the cartridge. Use an adjustable wrench or basin wrench to loosen and unthread the nut.

Remove the Cartridge

Lift out the cartridge assembly. Note its orientation so you can reinstall correctly later.

Replace Washers and O-Rings

Use needle-nose pliers to remove the old washers and O-rings from the cartridge. Apply silicone grease to the new washers and O-rings and press them into place.

Reinstall Cartridge & Handle

Put the cartridge back, aligning it properly. Hand tighten the retaining nut and reattach the handle. Turn the water supply back on and test for leaks.

Fixing Leaks at the Faucet Base

For leaks coming from the base of the faucet, replacing the gaskets between the faucet and sink is the solution. Here’s how to do this repair:

Remove the Faucet

From under the sink, detach the supply lines and mounting hardware such as nuts or brackets. Lift the faucet out of the sink hole. Remove any old plumbers putty.

Replace Gaskets

Clean the bottom of the faucet and the sink surface with rubbing alcohol. Press new gaskets into place on the faucet. Apply fresh plumbers putty around the faucet base.

Reinstall the Faucet

Set the faucet back into the sink hole, pressing down firmly. Reattach the supply lines and mounting hardware. Do not overtighten.

Test for Leaks

Turn the water back on and check for leaks around the faucet base. Tighten the connections slightly if needed.

Fixing Leaky Supply Line Connections

For leaks coming from where the supply lines connect to the faucet inlets, try the following repairs:

Tighten the Connections

First, use an adjustable wrench to tighten the supply line nuts at the faucet inlets. Apply quarter-turn tightening only. Test to see if leaking has stopped. Over-tightening can damage the fittings.

Replace Supply Line Washers

If tightening did not work, turn off water supply and disconnect lines. Use needle-nose pliers to remove the old washers inside the supply nuts. Replace with new nylon or rubber washers.

Replace Supply Hoses

As a last resort, replace the supply lines completely. Install new hoses with washers preinstalled. Use pipes of the same length to avoid strain.

Once any fixes are made, turn water supply back on and check for leaks. Tighten any still-dripping connections slightly more.

Removing the Faucet for Repair

Some repairs require fully removing the faucet from the sink or countertop. Follow these instructions:

Shut Off Water Supply Lines

Locate the shut-off valves below the sink and turn them clockwise to stop water flow. Open faucet handles to drain lines.

Disconnect Water Lines & Lift Faucet Out

From below, detach the supply lines along with any mounting nuts or brackets. Remove any silicone adhesive or putty around edges. Carefully lift faucet out of mounting hole.

Clean & Prepare the Sink Surface

Use a plastic putty knife to scrape away any old putty or silicone. Clean the sink surface thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Pad the surface with fine steel wool if needed.

Make Repairs & Reinstall Faucet

Perform required repairs and maintenance. Set faucet back into hole, connecting water lines and mounting hardware. Seal edges with silicone sealant or plumbers putty.

Turn water back on and test for leaks around the base. Tighten gently as needed to stop drips.

Common Delta Faucet Problems and Repairs

Here are some of the most common issues that can occur with Delta faucets and how to fix them:

Problem: Dripping leak from spout

Repair: Replace cartridge, washers and O-rings

Problem: Leak under handle

Repair: Replace cartridge, washers and O-rings

Problem: Leak at base of faucet

Repair: Replace faucet base gaskets

Problem: Low water pressure

Repair: Remove and clean aerator or cartridge

Problem: Faucet won’t swivel

Repair: Loosen set screw and reseat faucet

Problem: Handle hard to turn

Repair: Replace cartridge and lubricate components

Problem: Water flows from around handle base

Repair: Replace cartridge and escutcheon O-ring

Problem: Leak near handle adjusting ring

Repair: Tighten adjusting ring or replace cartridge

Problem: Leak at connections to supply valves

Repair: Tighten fittings, replace washers or supply tubes

Helpful Tips for Repairing Delta Faucets

Here are some additional pointers to help your Delta faucet repairs go smoothly:

  • Review the installation manual online to understand your faucet model before starting work.
  • Take photos during disassembly so you can refer back during reinstallation.
  • Wrap fixtures with towels to prevent scratches when working underneath.
  • Use silicone-based plumbers grease to lubricate O-rings and gaskets.
  • Avoid overtightening connections – turn an additional 1/4 turn after hand tight.
  • Clean mineral deposits on aerator screens and cartridge components.
  • Purchase an assortment of replacement washers, O-rings, and gaskets.
  • Turn on hot and cold water taps to flush supply lines after repairs.
  • Check all fittings for leaks and retighten gently if drips continue.
  • Consider hiring a professional for tricky repairs or difficult installations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Repairing Delta Faucets

How do I remove a stuck Delta faucet handle?

Use a screwdriver to remove the set screw on the side of the handle. Then wiggle the handle gently side-to-side while pulling up to break it free. Soak with penetrating oil if still stuck.

Where can I find replacement parts for my Delta faucet?

Delta sells replacement parts on their website or through many retail hardware stores. Bring the faucet model number to ensure you get the right components.

Why does my Delta faucet drip after being repaired?

Residual debris or uneven gasket surfaces may prevent a complete seal. Disassemble and clean all parts thoroughly, then reinstall with new gaskets. Ensure connections are tight but not overtightened.

Is it worth paying for a plumber to repair my Delta faucet?

For simple repairs like fixing washers or supply lines, doing it yourself will save money. But for complex installs or if you lack experience, hiring a pro can be worthwhile to ensure it’s done right.

How do I get my Delta kitchen faucet flowing stronger?

Remove and clean the aerator screens. For low pressure throughout, clean out the cartridge valves and supply line filters. Replace any old supply hoses.

My Delta faucet won’t swivel – how can I fix this?

Use an Allen wrench to loosen the set screw near the base of the faucet. Lift the faucet gently and realign it properly before retightening the screw.

Why does my bathroom Delta faucet leak around the handle base?

This often indicates a worn out cartridge assembly. Replace the cartridge, springs, and escutcheon O-ring to stop the leak around the handle.


Repairing a leaky Delta faucet yourself can seem daunting, but following the steps in this guide will help you successfully troubleshoot and fix many common problems. The key things to remember are:

  • Turn off the water supply and drain lines before beginning work
  • Locate the source of the leak and identify which parts need replacing
  • Disassemble the faucet to access washers, O-rings, cartridges, and gaskets
  • Use silicone grease on all seals and tighten fittings moderately
  • Check your work to confirm the leak is gone after reassembly

With some basic mechanical skills and plumbing knowledge, you can stop those annoying drips and restore your Delta faucet to full working order. Calling in a professional plumber is a good option for complex repairs or installs. Follow the instructions here and you can take on many Delta faucet leak fixes yourself.