Home Maintenance

How to Get Rid of a Leaky Faucet

Doing home repairs can be daunting. If you do not have a lot of experience in fixing and maintaining fixtures and plumbing, the idea of fixing a leaky faucet may seem difficult. You can hire a plumber or a handyman to fix the leak, but it can cost you more than you are willing to pay. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to get rid of your leaky faucet!

Spending a little bit of money for repair projects that you can do on your own will lessen any worry about flooring damages caused by a leaky faucet, high utility bills, and the annoyance of hearing a steady drip from a leak.

1. Find the cause of the leak.

Knowing where the source of the problem is key. A defective part is the most common cause of a leaky faucet. This could be the washer, the tap handles, or the gaskets. When you have a part that’s compromised, broken, or dirty, this can cause significant damage to your faucet. For instance, you might have debris in your pipes and aerators.

Different types of faucets have different parts, and knowing what kind you have will make it easier for you to buy or fix the defective part. There are four kinds of faucets: compression, cartridge (sleeve), ceramic disk, and ball type. Make sure you have the right parts available for replacement so that you do not have to buy another unit and kit again. If you do not have the name or model of your current tap, try taking a picture of it to bring with you to your local hardware store. Someone there should be able to help you!

2. Replace defective parts.

The compression faucet is what you would find in most households and is also known as a washer faucet. This means that there is a washer inside the tap itself. The rubber washer seals the valve seat. So if you have this kind of faucet at home and there’s a steady drip, the washer is most likely the cause of the leak. Washers become damaged over time because of the constant pressure they are under to keep water flowing.

All the other types of faucets do not have washers so you must keep an eye out for moving parts that may have become loose such as O-rings, or the seals may no longer be tight. Check to see if the leaks are coming from the end of the spout, the bottom of the spout, leaks between the spout and the handle, or side spray leaks when the water is turned on. If it’s coming from the bottom of the spout, it may be the handle mechanism on your faucet that is the problem.

Check the exact model you bought so you can buy the correct mechanism. If you have a pull-down or pullout type of faucet, the cause is most probably the O-ring or screen washer because it provides a seal between the two. It is also possible that the inlet and outlet seals might wear out over time.

The loose or won out parts may just need replacing and a quick trip to the hardware store will get the job done. If you have your receipt with you, make sure have the model of the faucet you bought handy so that you can tell a store clerk exactly what you are looking for.

To remove the faucet, you just need to pry off the cap on the handle, remove the screws on the handle and then unscrew the packing nut when you pull off the handle. You can use a wrench to disassemble the faucet. Once you have taken out the stem, you can replace the O-ring with plumber’s grease and re-assemble the faucet.

For cartridge faucet leaks, replacing the cartridge will get rid of the leak. You need to take measurements before you remove the faucet, and after removal, you need to measure the gap left behind. This way, you have all the information you need when you go back to the store where you purchased it.

3. Check the water pressure.

When your water pressure is too high, you may notice the leak only at certain periods during the day or during certain behavior. For example, if the leak is intermittent when your hot water is on. High water pressure can cause water flow to back up and leak to a faucet.

Licensed plumbers or contractors install water pressure regulators. However, adjusting them and testing regularly is something you can do on your own.

Checking your water pressure regularly is important. Municipalities and building codes have specifications for water pressure. Buying a new washer pressure regulator and adjusting it will get rid of your leaky faucet. You can also buy a water pressure gauge which will allow you to check your water pressure.

4. Check the plumbing.

Defective plumbing is also another cause for a leaking faucet. Cracks in the pipes or loose fittings develop over time. If the crack affects the water pressure, then your faucet will leak from time to time.

If you have copper pipes at home, you might want to replace them with steel braided water supply lines as they are more reliable and will not likely cause leaks. Installing a quarter shut off valves to replace leaking ones is also a good way to fix and prevent leaks. With shark bite fittings, even homeowners can install and fix their own plumbing nowadays because you don’t need to solder pipes anymore.

If you find that modifying your plumbing is not something you can take care of on your own, call a certified plumber to help out. Every home is different and older homes in particular may have plumbing and valves that are no longer up to code. Plumbing can also get messy in a hurry, so you may want to leave some of the more difficult parts to the professionals! If you want to tackle this project yourself, be sure to turn the water off at the source so that you do not create an accidental water geyser.

Investing in these types of upgrades can save you more costly home projects in the future. A leaky faucet can cause damages to your flooring if you have installed hardwood floors in your home, which is another cost you will have to take care of on top of the plumbing concerns. If your water line runs through your basement ceiling and your pipes burst, it can also cost several hundred dollars to repair it.

Knowing the steps on how to get rid of a leaky faucet will solve the aggravation of having your home life disrupted, will help you save on your water bill, and can help you avoid expensive plumbing expenses! Who doesn’t like to save a little money? Save your receipts from any faucet you buy to save yourself headaches when you are trying to fix them, should anything go wrong.

About the author

Nicole Harding

2 Comments

  • So the water shut off valve is to stop leaks, or is used while replacing faucets and the like? Cool! I never even noticed it before. At least not until I got my own place. So glad I now know what it’s for. thank you!

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