How To Replace A Faucet Cartridge: Step-by-Step Guide

A faucet cartridge controls the flow of water and the temperature of the faucet. Over time, cartridges can wear out due to age and accumulation of minerals and debris. It will cause leaks, poor water pressure, or temperature control issues. 

Fortunately, you can deal with these issues with a new faucet cartridge. And for this, it’s crucial for you to know how to replace a faucet cartridge safely. Thankfully, replacing a faucet cartridge is a relatively straightforward process. 

You need to identify the right type of cartridge your faucet has. Then, you can pry off the decorative cap and access the handle to move and disconnect it. Only then can you easily install the new cartridge in your faucet quickly? Also read “How to fix a faucet that leaks”?

How To Replace A Faucet Cartridge:

Did you see a fluctuation in temperature and water flow in your faucet? It might be due to a damaged or worn-out cartridge that needs replacement. 

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

You must gather the necessary tools when you decide to change the old and broken faucet cartridge. It includes:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver (Phillips or flat-head, depending on your faucet)
  • New replacement cartridge (ensure it matches your faucet model)

Step 1: Find the right cartridge type

At first, you must find the cartridge type in your faucet. Depending on your faucet model, you must choose the right cartridge too. Typically, there will be three types of cartridges in modern-day faucets in homes.

  • Ball cartridges are often found in single-handle faucets. They use a rotating ball with multiple ports and special seals to regulate water flow and temperature. 
  • Cartridge faucets with two handles use separate cartridges for hot and cold water. Each handle has its cartridge, allowing precise control over temperature. 
  • Pressure-balancing cartridges are commonly found in shower faucets and tubs. They can maintain a consistent water temperature even with fluctuations in water pressure.

Step 2: Remove the faucet handle 

Before you start, turn off the water supply to the faucet. You can find the valve to turn off water right under the sink or beside the shower that you have to move in the correct direction. After that, use a screwdriver to remove the handle of the faucet. 

You might need to pry off a decorative cap on the handle to access the screw. Once you have exposed the screw, carefully lift off the handle.

Step 3: Remove the Retaining Nut

After removing the handle, you’ll likely find a retaining nut. The retaining nut holds the faucet cartridge in place. 

  • You must use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove this nut carefully. 
  • You have to turn the nut counterclockwise to loosen and remove it.
  • Some faucets might have a decorative cover or trim. If so, you must remove it too. 

Step 4: Remove the Old Cartridge

You can now pull out the old cartridge with the retaining nut off. However, you need to inspect the faucet and cartridge mechanism thoroughly. Also, depending on the faucet type, you should wiggle it back and forth while applying gentle pressure.

 If stuck, you can use a cartridge removal tool for added leverage. Or else, you may pour in a few drops of lubrication or essential oil. It will soften the rust or debris to remove the old cartridge and its connecting parts easily. Read more

Step 5: Insert the New Cartridge

Now, you have to take your new replacement cartridge. Then, you can align it correctly with the faucet’s housing. At this point, you must ensure its proper orientation. The orientation should be the same way as the old cartridge. 

Once the orientation is proper, gently push it into place. The key is to ensure a snug fit for the cartridge to be firmly positioned. 

Step 6: Reassemble the Faucet

When you have placed the new cartridge firmly, reattach the retaining nut over the new cartridge. Then, you can tighten it with the adjustable wrench. 

You must be cautious not to overtighten the nuts, as this can damage the cartridge or faucet. Then, reattach the faucet handle over the cartridge stem. You must also secure it with the screw you removed earlier. If your handle had a decorative cap, put it back in place.

Step 7: Test the new cartridge 

After installing the new cartridge, turn off the faucet and check its functions. If you have installed the new cartridge properly, the water flow and temperature will be accurate. Also, when you have removed the faucet handle, you should clean the necessary components. 

It will improve the longevity of the faucet components. Also, without mineral build-up, the faucet will perform better. 


The faucet cartridge can last for five to seven years with ease. However, at times, due to minerals and external elements, the cartridge may get damaged sooner. At such moments, you must replace it with a new faucet cartridge. 

Thankfully, a faucet cartridge replacement is affordable, mostly priced from $10 to $30. So, as long as you follow these DIY faucet cartridge replacement tips, you will save money and time. 

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