Your home has many noises that, over time, become familiar and comforting. The hum of a ceiling fan, the click when the furnace kicks on and the proverbial creak in the floorboard are but a few of the background noises that you subconsciously note but that no longer intrude in your life. The persistent drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet, however, screams for attention.
A leaking faucet is the most frequent plumbing problem homeowners encounter. Not only is it annoying, it can also cost you money and needlessly waste resources. A leaking faucet that drips 10 times a minute wastes 3 liters of water a day.
Causes of Leaky Faucets
Faucets can leak at the spout or the handle. The most common reason for leaks is a worn-out washer, gasket or O-ring, but leaks can stem from several other causes:
- Improper installation of washers, gaskets or O-rings
- Corroded valve seats
- Mineral deposit build-up on internal parts
- Broken pipes or fittings
- Loose parts
Fixing a Leaky Faucet
You use your faucet constantly, so it is no wonder it wears out and eventually begins to leak. Fortunately, there are things you can do to eliminate that annoying drip. First, determine the type of faucet you have so that you know what parts you need to inspect or replace:
- Ball — single handle that rotates on a round ball sitting on top of the base of the spout. It has O-rings and seals but no washers.
- Disc — single handle that moves up/down and side to side and sits on top of a wider cylindrical body; no washers.
- Cartridge — double handles or a single handle that moves up/down and side to side; no washers.
- Compression — double handles that look similar to a cartridge faucet but require compression to turn water off and on; often found in older homes. Compression faucets have washers.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fixing a leaking faucet can save up to 10 percent on your water bill. Follow these steps for a straightforward DIY repair:
- Turn off water to the faucet.
- Turn on the faucet to drain remaining water.
- Remove the handles.
- Remove cartridge or valve stem assembly.
- Clean mineral or sediment buildup on ball, valve seat or nuts.
- Coat new washers, seals or O-rings with plumber’s grease.
- Reassemble faucet.
- Replace handles.
- Turn on water to the sink and check for leaks.
Rather than replacing individual parts in a ball or cartridge faucet, you may opt to buy a complete replacement kit. Always take your old faucet and parts with you when buying new parts to ensure you buy the correct size.
Professional Plumbers at Luquire
If your faucet still leaks, it may indicate a more serious problem such as a broken pipe. The experts at AC Luquire Heating, Plumbing and Air Conditioning can quickly diagnose and repair your problem. In the event your troubleshooting leads to sudden complications, Luquire’s emergency coverage means help is only a phone call away.