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How To Fix a Leaky FaucetMarch 17th, 2023 by
Are you tired of that annoying dripping faucet in your kitchen or bathroom? Do you find yourself running to the hardware store every few weeks and spending more money on supplies than you would like? Fixing a leaking faucet is not as difficult as it may seem and can be done in a few simple steps. In this article, we will discuss how to diagnose and repair a leaky faucet.
How To Fix a Leaking Faucet
Overall, fixing a leaking faucet is a simple task that can be completed with basic tools and some replacement parts. Fixing a leaking faucet can save you money on your water bill and prevent water damage.
If you’re not comfortable with DIY plumbing repairs, consider hiring a professional plumber to do the job for you.
Here are the steps to fix a leaking faucet:
1. Shut Off the Water
Before starting any work on the faucet, turn off the water supply to prevent water from flowing out of the faucet. With the water off, turn on the faucet to drain out any remaining water. This will stop water from leaking out while you disassemble the faucet for repairs.
2. Identify the Type of Faucet
Next, you need to identify the type of faucet you have since the repair process will vary by brand and style. The common types of faucets include ball, cartridge, ceramic disk, and compression.
Compression faucets are the most common and can be identified by two handles that turn on and off the water flow. Ball-type faucets have a single handle that turns left and right. Cartridge faucets are identifiable by one handle that moves up and down to turn the water flow on and off.
Turning ceramic disk faucets line up the holes of two cartridges and allow water to flow. While they are usually more expensive, they last longer and are less likely to leak than other types of faucets.
Aside from the method of operation, check the brand website for more details about your faucet type. Alternatively, you can wait until you disassemble the faucet.
3. Gather the Necessary Tools and Supplies
Regardless of the type of faucet you have, you need to gather a few tools in order to make repairs. This includes a Phillips-head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.
You are also likely to need some repair parts, but it is impossible to tell what until you inspect the faucet. The most common replacement parts are washers or gaskets, cartridges, or new faucet assemblies.
Additionally, you will also need plumbers tape if you are replacing the faucet stem. Although not necessary, gloves and protective eyewear are strongly recommended.
4. Remove the Faucet Handle
Using your Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the handle from the faucet. This may require some effort depending on how tightly the handle is secured in place. You may need to apply a little force to loosen it. In some cases, you may need to use the adjustable wrench to hold the faucet in place.
5. Inspect the Parts
With the handle out of the way, start inspecting the parts of your faucet. Look for any worn or damaged parts, such as O-rings, washers, gaskets, or valve seats and stems. Depending on the style, you may need to remove additional parts to see the entire faucet assembly.
It is easy to repair most faucet leaks by replacing rubber washers, o-rings, and gaskets. However, you may need to replace the valve seat, cartridge, or the entire assembly in some cases.
6. Repair the Leaky Faucet
Take worn-out parts with you to the home improvement store to make sure you are getting the right replacement parts. Gaskets and washers are usually very inexpensive, so you should always replace them.
Cartridges and valve assemblies do cost more but are still relatively inexpensive. In most cases, it is more cost-effective to replace everything than to reassemble the faucet only for it to keep leaking.
7. Reassemble the Faucet
Once the gasket or washer is replaced, it’s time to reassemble your faucet. Replace the handle and tighten it with a Phillips-head screwdriver. If needed, apply plumbers tape to ensure a tight seal.
8. Turn the Water Back On
Turn on the water supply and test the faucet to make sure it’s working properly. If the faucet is still leaking, check for any other damaged parts and replace them as needed.
What Causes Faucet Leaks and Drips?
Most leaky or dripping faucets are caused by a worn-out seal within the internal mechanism. The faulty seal allows water to leak around the faucet mechanism. It usually drips from around the faucet stem, behind the handle. However, it can leak inside the wall in some cases.
In compressional faucets, the issue is usually a dry or cracked rubber washer around the valve seat. With ball, cartridge, and ceramic disk faucets, the leak is caused by worn-out o-rings or neoprene seals.
If you have a leaking or dripping faucet, it’s important to act quickly. While a small drip may not seem like a problem, it can lead to water damage or mold problems over time.
Thankfully, fixing more faucet leaks is a relatively easy and inexpensive task. In most cases, you only need a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. Replacement parts can range from just a few dollars to around $150 for some specialty faucet components.
Common Reasons Why Faucets Leak
Here are the most common reasons why faucets drip and leak:
- Worn or dried-out washers: The most common cause of a leaking faucet is a worn-out washer inside the faucet. Since they are made from rubber, they can dry out and crack over time.
- Worn or stretched-out o-ring: Another common cause of a leaky faucet is a worn or stretched-out o-ring. The o-ring goes around the faucet stem or valve seat, but it can stretch and wear out in time.
- Worn-out faucet cartridge or stem: Since the faucet cartridge and facet stem turn every time you use the water, they will eventually wear out. The only way to stop the leak is to replace them.
- Corroded valve seat: Since it connects the faucet to the spout, a corroded valve seat can cause faucet leaks. Removing a corroded valve seat can be tricky, but it is still very much a DIY repair.
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