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Question DetailsAsked on 9/19/2017

Turned off hot water. Opened a "repaired" hot water tap before turning hot water on, and cold water came out

I only turned off the hot water because I was repairing a hot water faucet. I turned on the cold
water and it spewed out of the hot water tap (before I put the cover on). I put the cover on and
there is water leaking around it (cold water). Do I need a new faucet? The ones in the sink are
at least 60 years old.

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1 Answer


Well - hard to tell not knowing faucet type. Assuming you did not undo the lines to the faucet and get them swapped, hot for cold (in which case hot faucet would run cold and vice-versa), sounds like you are talking a two-handle faucet because you said nothing about turning the cold water off.

You fixed the faucet - presuming you mean a leaking supply tube, or replacing seals/seats inside the faucet. Then turned on cold water before putting the "cover" on the hot fauceet and cold water came out of the faucet - that would be expected (along with cold water coming out of the spigot as well.

If it did not leak there before, than no you do not need a new faucet - you only need to get the parts in the right order if swapped around, or put in new gasket/O-ring/seal if one got broken/cut/lost.

Now with cover on, leaks cold water around "it" - not sure if you mean the faucet bonnet or the spigot. I presume you ran the water long enough so it was running hot out of the faucet ?

Anyway, assuming you put the parts back in the way they originally were, I would guess you blow out a gasket or O-ring when the cold water flowed through the "uncapped" faucet - look in the sink and wherever else water went for a seal or O-ring. You should, with any luck, be able to measure what size you need and get a replacement at a plumbing supply store, or sometimes at lumberyards or hardware stores with the rows and rows of hardware drawers. Tough part is knowing the diameter of the ring or seal - both ring size, and the cross-sectional dimension of the ring itself. Or, if you know the brand, plumbing supply place and for common brands box stores usually have a rebuild kit for it, which is typically about $5-10.

If the leak is from around a swiveling faucet spigot, usually there are one or two O-rings around the central threaded part it slips down over. Also be sure they are in their grooves - if it was assembled dry (I coat them with some silicone spark plug boot grease) it might have broken, cut, or slipped one or both down on the central shaft so they are holding the swiveling handle up from where it should be, and not in the sealing grooves so are letting it leak. Images of typical assemblies here -

IF the bonnet, or stem cap, on a faucet handle is what is leaking (usually around the stem), may have lost the stem washer - a 1/8" thick (roughly) flat or domed washer of rubber or silicone, which fits around the stem and up into the cap when you screw it on. Plumbing supply place can provide - or you can get stem thread, which is a waxed string you wrap around the stem in a clockwise direction a few turns and then tighten the cap down on top - compressing the thread and making it into a non-reusable watertight gasket.

Here are a couple of images of typical stem-type faucets:

One other possibility if faucet handle cap / stem is what is leaking - some models the stem has to be screwed down to "closed" or "off" position before screwing the cap or bonnet on, otherwise the cap/bonnet will sit too high and not seal and leak.

Of course, when you go for parts, taking the spigot or cap and stem (as applicable) with you will help them match up the seal or O-ring or gasket your need.

Otherwise, your choice is a Plumber for typically $75-150 for a service visit charge, or a new faucet at anywhere from about $50 on up - though if that old, likely will need new supply tubes from the shutoff valves as well, and might break shutoff valves getting corroded supply tubes off if copper, etc, etc. Plus have to find faucet with same sink hgole pattern, including spray nozzle if you get/have one. This kind of replacement can sometimes end up with several trips to the store and get expensive, but if you can DIY should be cheaper than having a plumber come fix it, if not easier.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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