Stem Compression Faucets
Older two-handle faucets, have stems that move up and down as the handle is turned. A rubber washer at the bottom of the stem presses against a seat in the faucet body, says the plumbing of Santa Cruz experts, to seal out water. If the washer or the seat becomes worn, water seeps through and drips out of the spout.
If water seeps below the handle or the base of the faucet, an O-ring or the packing probably needs to be replaced.
Older and newer models
On older compression faucets, string packing or a packing washer keeps water from oozing out the handle. On a newer model, an O-ring does the job. Sometimes handles on older two-handle faucets may get stuck tight. If tapping and prying with moderate pressure does not remove a handle, avoid the temptation to pry hard – you may crack the handle or the faucet body.
A handle puller grasps the handle from underneath at two sides and slowly draws the handle off the stem.
Use packing on old stems
An older faucet may have a rubber packing washer or string packing under a packing nut. If water leaks out the handle, clean out the old packing and install a new packing washer, or wrap string packing around the stem and cram it up into the packing nut.