Unlike a conventional kitchen faucet that uses levers or knobs, a ball type faucet relies on handles that pivot over a ball bearing and can move in 180 to 360 degree wide angle. Maintaining or rather changing the washers of such faucets is a tad bit tricky and in the worst case situation you may have to purchase a brand new faucet.
What You Will Need
Before progressing, you will need the following tools and materials.
- Drill/Cordless Driver
- Allen Wrench
- Slip Joint Pliers
- Drill Bit Set
- Penetrating or Lubricating Oil
- Ball Type Faucet Repair Kit
Beware Of The Allen Screw
The very first step in repairing a ball type faucet is actually the hardest of them all. The allen screw that holds the handle smack on top of the pivoting ball tends to corrode and shrink with time making it difficult to pry it open.
If you find the Allen screw stuck within the handle then don’t try to force it out as it won’t come out until it is well lubricated. This step is necessary so that you can expose the flat head under the handle and grip it with pliers. Otherwise every other surface is actually rounded and might not withstand the pressures of large pliers.
Removing The Handle And Its Components
At times the allen screw simply won’t’ budge. The only two options left then are to either replace the entire faucet or to break the ball bearing and enclosure to remove the handle and buy a handle part separately. But just because the screw doesn’t come out don’t lose hope on repairs. Spray the surface of the allen screw with lubricating oil and let it sit for a few hours. If the screw won’t budge then keep spraying oil every day for a whole week. Once you remove the allen screw, you can take the entire handle components off to reach the worn rubber seals at the bottom.
If lubricating oil does not work then you have use a drill to get the screw out. Choose a drill bit that is similar in size to the screw and work very carefully so as not to ruin the handle as it will cost a fortune to just replace the handle. If nothing else works, then remove the handle while attached with the valve by using a pliers and unscrewing the cap. Just ensure that you cushion the pliers jaws to avoid scratching the rounded surface of the faucet. Rubber tape works best in softening the jaws of pliers.
To remove the handle, turn the cover counterclockwise and completely unscrew it. You will get the handle, cap, cam and ball all together. Next, you have to break the ball away from the stem holding it into place. By separating these components with force you can salvage and reuse the cap but you will still have to purchase a new handle along with a repair kit.
If this too doesn’t work then you are out of luck – it’s time to get a new kitchen faucet!