What is a faucet stem and why would I need to replace it? Part 1

SYNOPSIS

Scott Sherman explains why you might have leaks or why your water temperature just isn't right when you turn those handles on your faucet. He'll show you what the stem is and demonstrate what it does and how it works. Watch Part 1 to get a basic understanding and to know what tools you'll need then watch either Part 2 or Part 3 based on the type of faucet you need to fix.

TRANSCRIPT

Hi everybody … on today’s segment I am going to show you how to replace the stem in your faucet. I’ve prepared this prop board for display purposes.And we’re going to show you the difference between the single-handle faucets and this two- handled faucet. The difference being between these faucets is the hot and cold comes up into what is called the cartridge or stem. The cartridge or stem is basically all the moving parts inside this faucet. It tells how big the openings are. How much hot water, how much cold water and allows you to change the temperature coming out through the spout. With this faucet over here, it has two separate stems. The farther you open them, the bigger the holes get, the more water you get through. The difference is you have to temper the hot and cold individually to get the desired temperature coming out of here.When you get into replacing the stem or cartridge, some of the things you’re going to notice is the faucet is going to be dripping. That’s going to tell you that the ‘O’ rings or the cartridge itself is starting to fail. Also handle location. Normally when you wash your hands you open at dead center, nice temperature. Well, now you’re going to get a little colder water … a little hotter water, that cartridge is getting old and it’s allowing the hot and cold to mix unequally.Changing out the cartridge or stem is going to save you a lot of money because the price of a faucet is a lot more than the repair cartridges. You are going to want to look at appearance of the faucet; are there pit holes in the spout, is the base decaying, is it falling apart. Once you’ve made that decision, you’re going to want to prepare yourself to have the tools on hand.On the single-handle faucet, you are going to notice holes here and one in the back and they are going to require an Allen wrench.Delta makes a handy little tool, where this tool can disassemble the entire faucet and make all your repairs.Over here with the Moen, its handle is put on similar to the way the Delta is. What you are going to use is a 6-sided hex key to remove the set screw out of the back of the handle so you can lift the handle up and gain access to the cartridge. You are also going to want to have on hand a pair of channel locks. Channel locks are basically adjustable pliers. So you can set it at different settings depending on how big you need those channel locks to be. Down here with the two-handle, this handle removal is different than the other two, meaning that your handle screws are going to be underneath these caps. So you are going to want to pull these center caps up and you’re going to run into a screw so you will need regular screwdrivers or Phillips screwdrivers, to remove those screws to get the handles off to gain access to the cartridges.

RELATED HELP CONTENT

What's on Sale

What's on Sale

Find out what's on sale at your local Westlake.

See Ads & Specials »

Panel of Pros

Panel of Pros

Get helpful advice and tips from our panel of pros.

VIEW TIPS »