Delta or Peerless single-handle kitchen faucet.  Fixing A Dripping Faucet:

Overhauling A Peerless Or Delta 
Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet

In This Article:

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Skill Level: 2-3

Time Taken: About An Hour

By , Editor


Being made by the same company, Peerless and Delta single-handle kitchen faucets use the same inner workings, at least that's been my experience. These faucets use an innovative ball-on-a-stick device to open and close passageways that let hot and cold water flow.


Note that some Delta and Peerless single-handle bathtub faucets use a similar design. The handle is attached with a single screw under a cover plate, and the ball-on-a-stick has a different design.


I closed the shut-off valves beneath the sink.


I loosened the set screw that holds the handle in place. This requires a 1/8 inch Allen wrench.

The handle just slid off.


The stick poking out the top is attached to the ball.

The dome-shaped chrome piece holds the works together. It is threaded onto the body of the faucet.


The plastic ring adjacent to the chrome-dome can be adjusted. This threaded ring has four notches in it. I pushed on a notch with a screwdriver (I had to tap the screw driver lightly with a hammer) to relieve the force on the internal parts.

Note that I turned this part counter-clockwise.

Be careful when turning any of these parts... it's possible to rotate the entire faucet body, which can damage the water lines below the faucet. LISTEN carefully while turning any fitting on a faucet... you might hear something else moving.

Then I was able to remove the chrome-dome with a pair of Channel-Lock pliers.

Note how the 4-notched ring stays with the dome. It's threaded in place and can be adjusted up or down to make the innards looser or tighter.


Sidebar - Alternative Design:

Note how this Delta faucet (late 1990's) has a large hex on the top of the chrome-dome.

The older Peerless faucet in the other pictures has a knurled section on the dome. Trouble is, that knurled part gets chewed up by dis-assembling the faucet, and the little metal fragments can cut your fingers.


I removed the next piece. I don't know if there's a name for this piece of plastic. I call it "the shield" because the opening is shaped like a shield.


This piece has two components. The black-and-white section seals the top of the ball.

The yellowish-colored piece (the "shield") clamps the seal in place.

If this seal leaks, water will trickle out from beneath the faucet handle when the faucet is running. It's important to inspect this seal for damage such as nicks or any irregularity in the conical shape. I can't remember ever replacing one of these seals, but I'm sure replacement parts are available,

Also, it helps to remove any buildup of hard water deposits. Notice the light rust coloration on the white conical part. If it gets too heavy, this buildup can interfere with the sealing ability of the synthetic rubber parts. Often these deposits can be removed by simply wiping them off, otherwise a quick soaking in a rust- or lime-removing liquid such as CLR, Lime-Away, vinegar, lemon juice, or (supposedly) even Coca-Cola, which contains phosphoric acid.


Removing ball valve from Delta faucet.

I removed the ball.

It just lifts straight out.


Note the long hole in the side of the ball. This prevents the ball from rotating during use, yet still allows a certain range of motions.


It's a good idea to inspect the underside of the ball to make sure that the surface is clean and smooth. If the metal appears worn around the holes (you might see a brass color beneath the plating, or a pattern of scratch marks) then replacing the ball would be advised. Replacements can be bought for less than $10, though genuine Delta parts probably cost more.


Delta or Peerless faucet body showing seals.

Inside The Faucet Body:

The black "donuts" are the seals that ride against the ball. These seals have springs behind them that push them against the ball.

These seals are (from my experience) the most likely reason behind a dripping Delta or Peerless ball-type faucet.

The hot water enters through the left side, cold through the right. The hole in front of those leads to the spout.


I carefully removed the seals with a small flat-blade screwdriver.


I covered the sink drains just in case I dropped something.


The old seal (left). Note how "squared-off" the shape is.

The new seal (right) has a more pronounced ridge near the top. 

Packages of replacement seals also come with new springs. I suppose it's a good idea to replace the springs, since they seem to loose their pushing force over time.

I pushed the new seals into place.

Note the little "knob" of brass about a half inch to the right of my finger tip. This tab is used to guide the movement of the valve ball.

Pushing new seals into place, Delta kitchen faucet.


Using a small screwdriver I scooped up a small dab of silicone grease. This is a non-toxic lubricant for plumbing parts. Silicone grease won't attack rubber seals and it won't wash off. 

I use this stuff on most plumbing valve repairs.


I dabbed a little grease on the faces of the seals. It only takes a tiny amount.


I re-installed the ball. Note the guide slot (red arrow). This goes on the right hand side, at least that's what I've always seen. There is a tab on the faucet body that goes into this slot (see picture 3 steps back).


I inserted the top piece (the shield).


Note that the "shield" has a plastic tab that fits into a slot in the side of the faucet body (red arrow).


Anticipating some hassles with assembly, I unscrewed the plastic ring from the chrome-dome. I wanted to make sure that the screw-threads were clean and free from obstructions.


The new springs were much longer and stronger than the old ones. 

I had to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to push the "shield" down (thus compressing the springs) while I installed the chrome-dome and plastic ring-thing.


I tightened the chrome-dome with Channel-Lock pliers...


...and then I tightened the plastic ring. I moved the stick by hand while tightening the ring.

One interesting feature of this design is that you can make the handle more difficult or less difficult to move by tightening or loosening this plastic ring.

Somebody asked me about the possibility of making a faucet more difficult to turn on. Seems that their cat bumped the faucet handle, turned the water on, and caused a flood because the sink wasn't draining properly. Fascinating... the things pets can do.


I installed the handle and tightened the set screw.

This completes the repair.

I turned the water supply back on and tested the faucet for leaks.


Sidebar: Leakage Around The Faucet Base


A common problem with Delta and Peerless faucets is leakage from either the top or bottom of the spout base (red arrows).

Removing the spout is simple: after the ball has been removed, just grasp the spout at the base and pull straight up.

O-rings between spout and valve body on Delta or Peerless faucet.

There are two O-rings that seal the rotating base of the spout, and these gaskets have a tendency to leak over time. I've seen them leak on faucets that were less than 2 years old. 


These O-rings can be removed (carefully) with a small flat-blade screwdriver.

I always smear a bit of silicone grease on these O-rings before I re-install the spout, which should reduce the wear on the gaskets.

Replacing O-rings around spout, Delta kitchen faucet.


Tools Used:

  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Channel-Lock Pliers
  • 1/8" Allen (Hex) Wrench


Materials Used:

  • Replacement Seals
  • Silicone Grease
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Copyright © 2003-2009

Written January 21, 2003
Revised January 31, 2009