Leaky Faucet? Here's 4 Common Problems and Solutions

Finally, four great solutions to stop that annoying leaky faucet from driving you crazy and costing you a fortune! Get help with your plumbing now.

 
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4 Common Problems and Solutions for Your Leaky Faucet

Whether it's your bathtub, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, laundry tub, or outdoor garden hose, your faucets over time may develop an annoying leak. Here are 4 of the most common problems.

 

Problem # 1: Your O-Ring Has Become Loose or Has Worn Out

If you have a cartridge faucet, then the handle of your faucet is held in place by a stem screw. The stem screw itself has a small disc attached to it known as the O-ring. This ring can come loose or get damaged over time through normal wear and tear. If this happens, your faucet will begin leaking.

 

Solution: You will need to replace your O-Ring with a new one. To fix this problem, do the following:

  1. Before you attempt any plumbing repair, make sure that you turn off your water at the source.

  2. Remove the decorative cap if there is one

  3. Unscrew the handle and remove it. If the handle is sticking, you can gently nudge it up with a screwdriver. Make sure you wrap your screwdriver ahead of time with a piece of cloth so that you don't scratch the finish of your tap.

  4. Unscrew the packing nut by turning it counter-clockwise. If there is a cover over the valve, remove that too.

  5. Remove the valve stem from the base of the valve. It will either pop off or twist off.

  6. Pull the old O-ring off of the valve body and replace it with a new one. Put the valve back onto the faucet body making sure that any tabs or grooves fit in properly.

  7. Tighten up the valve with an adjustable wrench or pliers.

  8. Reverse your steps to re-assemble.

 

Your faucet may be leaking due to a damaged or worn O-ring

 

Problem #2: Your Washer Is Worn Out

If you have a compression faucet, then you will have a washer located on top of the valve seat of your faucet.

Every time you turn on your faucet, the washer is forced against the valve seat. Over time, this constant friction will wear out the washer.

If your washer is worn out, then you will notice dripping around your spout. This is probably the most common reason why you have a leaky faucet.

 
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Compression faucets have washers that will eventually wear out - Image Source: Sonett72 at English Wikipedia [Public domain]

 

Solution: You need to replace the worn out washer. Before you attempt any plumbing repair, make sure that you turn off your water at the source. The procedure for replacing a washer is similar to the process in section 1.

  1. Turn off the water.

  2. Remove the decorative cap if there is one.

  3. Unscrew the handle and remove it.

  4. Unscrew the packing nut by turning it counter-clockwise. If there is a cover over the valve, remove that too.

  5. Remove the valve stem from the base of the valve. It will either pop off or twist off.

  6. Remove the washer and replace it with a new one. In order to get the right size of washer, it's a good idea to take the valve stem with you to the hardware store to get a washer that fits it perfectly.

  7. Once you have your new washer, reverse your steps to re-assemble. A good tip is to lay out all of the parts that you have taken off in order so that you know which order they go back on.

 

A damaged or worn washer is a very common cause of
a leaky faucet

 

Problem #3: Your Washer Was Not Installed Properly or It's the Wrong Size

If your washer wasn't installed properly or it was replaced with the wrong size of washer, you will get a leaky faucet.

Solution: If you have attempted to change the washer yourself and it still leaks, you probably should call a professional plumber.

 

Problem #4: Your Valve Seat is Corroded

On a compression faucet, the valve seat of your faucet connects your faucet to the spout in the compression mechanism. Over time, water sediments will begin to corrode the valve seat. If it becomes corroded, then you will get leakage around the spout area.

Solution: You will need to get your valve seat cleaned from time to time to keep it functioning properly. If you aren't skilled in plumbing, you should probably call a professional to help you with this task.

 
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Call a professional for more complicated plumbing fixes

 

Should You Fix a Leaky Faucet?

The answer is yes! Leaky faucets may seem like a small issue but they can turn into a bigger problem if not attended to. Getting your leaky faucet fixed means:

You Are Being Environmentally Friendly: Water is a precious resource and it is a good idea to conserve it whenever possible. Fixing a leaky faucet is relatively simple and inexpensive plumbing repair. So getting that leaky faucet repaired means you are being environmentally responsible.

 
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A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water and can be annoying

 

You Can Save Money: A leaky faucet that is left to drip will cost you money over time on your water bill. Getting it fixed as soon as you notice there is a problem can save you money.

You Won't Be Annoyed or Lose Sleep: Your leaky faucet may be just a little drip, but it is amazing how annoying that sound can be if you are trying to sleep. The constant drip could be causing you some sleepless nights.

Here's a helpful calculator that will let you find out how much water your leaky faucet is wasting every day and in one year. Even if you have a relatively slow drip, 3 drips per minute, in one faucet in your home, you would be wasting about 1 liter of fresh water every day!

 
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