How to Pack a Faucet Stem Leak

You walk past the bathroom and hear the sink dripping.

While investigating the annoying problem, you discover the leak is by the handle and base of your faucet. The packing in your faucet stem has eroded.

Shut off the water to the faucet. Take apart your sink. You will need a screwdriver and pliers for this task. See the related eHow article, "How to Repair a Leaky Faucet" for instructions.

Examine the spindle or stem under the packing nut. Remove any packing string which has built up or tangled. Sinks that require packing don't have O-rings to replace.

Wind the packing material clockwise two or three times around the spindle or stem. Use your fingers to press it into place. The packing should cover the threads of the spindle or stem.

Reinsert spindle if applicable.

Tighten the nut over the packing and/or the spindle. Screw it back on clockwise, using pliers to help you get a better grip. When you can't tighten the nut anymore, it's on correctly.

Reassemble the faucet and check to see if it still leaks. If it does, it may be the valve seat. Tear apart the faucet again. Remove the worn valve seat with an Allen wretch and take it to a store that sells replacement parts.

Things You Will Need

  • Packing material
  • Screwdriver
  • Allen wretch
  • Pliers

Tips

  • There's a difference between older and newer faucets. Newer faucets need o-rings and washers, while older faucets use packing to prevent leaks.
  • Packing is a Teflon or graphite string that prevents leaks around faucet stems.