One of life’s irrefutable truths is that nothing lasts forever. Not even a Price Pfister faucet.
Price Pfister has more than a century of excellence and elegance in the art of faucet design and execution to their name. Now known simply as Pfister (having dropped the Price part of the name in 2010), the quality and craftsmanship remains the same.
Pfister faucets (try saying that three times in a row) are an integral part of many American bathrooms, but as we’ve already mentioned even a brand with a record of excellence like Pfister isn’t immune to the occasional breakdown. Knowing how to disassemble a Price Pfister bathroom faucet may just save you the cost of calling a plumber.
Three Symptoms of Faucet Wear
These are the three typical symptoms of faucet wear:
- Dripping – the faucet itself may start to drip water
- Stiff Handles – turning the handles become stiffer than normal and/or don’t seem to control the water as they did
- Leaking Handles – water leakage from the bottom of the handles
Pfister Cartridge Fixes
The three faucet wear symptoms are almost always associated with damaged or worn out cartridges that can also, over the course of their lifetime, fall victim to mineral deposits, especially if you live in a hard water area where minerals are much more prevalent in the water supply.
The cartridges in the faucets control the supply of the water to the faucet. When the faucet is switched off, they hold the water back, and when the faucet is turned on, the cartridge helps water to flow freely and easily.
Damaged, dirty, or worn out cartridges are almost always the cause of leaky or misfunctioning faucets. If they do start to show signs of age and wear and tear, the best course of action is to simply replace them.
While the cartridges can be fixed, it’s easier (and cheaper in the long term) to replace them, and the good news is, it’s a job that anyone can easily do and it definitely beats having to replace the entire bathroom faucet.
Disassembling A Price Pfister Bathroom Faucet
The first step to accessing the cartridge within the faucet is to disassemble the faucet part.
- Turn off the water. Always the first step in any plumbing repair; ensure that the water supply is turned off to avoid any unfortunate accidents. The water supply valves are usually located directly under the sink. Be sure to turn both the cold water and the hot water valves off. Once this is done, turn the faucet handles on to drain any water remaining in the pipes and the faucet itself.
- Remove the faucet handles. There are two possible ways to do this:
- Simply unscrew the handles – grip the handle tightly and turn in a counter-clockwise direction to unscrew it from the base. If the handle is screwed on too tightly, wrap it in a towel and gently use a wrench to provide some leverage. Once you have it turning freely, it should be easy to remove.
- Remove the ‘set screw’ and then unscrew the handle – some models cannot be freely unscrewed as there is a ‘set screw’ in place to prevent this. Check the back of the faucet handle for this screw. If there, use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the set-screw and then unscrew the faucet handle in a counter-clockwise direction.
With the handles removed, the cartridge can now be accessed.
Removing And Replacing The Cartridges
Once the handles have been removed, take a look inside the pipe, and you should see a cartridge inside each. The cartridges are held in place by a retaining nut, which is easy enough to remove with a pair of tongue and groove pliers.
Get a firm grip on the first nut using the pliers and begin to turn it counterclockwise. It should start to move and as soon as it is free of the cartridge, remove it and place it to one side, remembering where you put it.
Then repeat the process on the other retaining nut that’s holding the cartridge inside in the other faucet. Again, as soon as the retaining nut is free, put it next to the other nut that you previously removed.
When the retaining nuts have been removed, take a firm grip of the first cartridge and pull it straight up. If it’s stiff and a little reluctant to move, try wiggling it from left to right as you’re pulling up on it, which should loosen any mineral deposits that have built up on the cartridge over time.
Repeat the process with the other cartridge, and as soon as both are free, it’s time to replace them.
Insert the new cartridges and press them firmly into place, making sure that they’re locked into the faucet by gently wiggling them from side to side. If there’s no movement, they’ve been successfully fitted.
Fasten the nuts previously removed and turn them clockwise until they’re finger tight. Then use the tongue and groove pliers to twist each nut a quarter turn clockwise to tighten them in place.
Refitting the Pfister Faucet Handles
It’s now time to refit the handles into place. If you didn’t need to use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove any screws to loosen them, simply tighten the handles by turning them clockwise until they’re tight.
If you did have to loosen and remove screws to remove them, hold the handles in place, replace the screws and tighten them with the Phillips head screwdriver by turning the screws clockwise until they’re tight.
Once the handles are back in place, turn the water supply back on and test that the faucet is no longer leaking and/or the faucet handles are no longer stiff.
Replacement Price Pfister Faucet Cartridges
There are a number of Pfister cartridges available for bathroom faucets. Choosing the right one depends on knowing the model of the faucet that you are working with. This can always be found on the packaging for the faucet (if you happen to still have that kicking around), or on the installation instructions or warranty card. Alternately, often the model number is stamped into the cartridge itself, or check the supply valve lines to see if it is there. Lastly, check the Pfister website to see if you recognize the faucet and can identify it there.
Once you know the model number it is easy to search Amazon or other third party seller to quickly and easily find the cartridge you’re looking for.