Do you have a leaking faucet? What could be more annoying than a constant or intermittent, drip, drip,
Well, how about the money leaking out of your bank account? A single dripping faucet can waste 700 gallons of water a year, costing
you hundreds of dollars.
Why Do Faucets Leak?
The most common cause of leaking faucets is that the components are wearing
out. Faucets are used a lot, so it’s no wonder that, after a while,
some parts will need to be replaced. The washers (or rubber seals) on
compression faucets face the friction of the water flowing through them,
thus they wear out quite frequently.
Newer styles of faucets have been engineered to solve that particular problem.
Disc, cartridge, and ball faucets are all washerless, so they are not
as prone to dripping. However, they do have moving parts, and the O-rings
that seal them, do occasionally require replacement as well. You will
notice this as a leak at the base of the faucet itself.
How to Replace a Dripping Faucet
Leaking faucets may be difficult to fix due to the sheer variety of seals,
cartridges, and valves available. Many homeowners would rather call the
experts, rather than waste an afternoon at the hardware store. But for
those of you who do want to be a
plumber for an afternoon, the basic steps are as below. Though keep in mind, every
faucet is different, so this just covers the basics.
To replace a leaking faucet, take the following steps:
- Turn off the water under the sink going to both hot and cold sides.
- Disconnect the supply lines. You may have extra lines for a kitchen sink,
feeding a spray nozzle.
- Make sure you put a towel down! Even though you’ve turned off the
valves, you will get residual water left in the supply lines.
- You’ll need to disconnect any brackets that hold the faucet in from
- Lift the faucet out.
- For bathroom faucets, you may have a matching drain plug. You’ll
need to remove this too so that everything matches.
- That drain plug will require you to disconnect the drain trap (put a bucket
- With everything taken apart, you’ll need to clean up around the connection
points on the old sink.
- With your new faucet ready, follow the instructions provided in the packaging.
- It is always a good idea to wrap threads for valve a hose connectors with
teflon tape to prevent drips and make a nice seal.
What About Repairing a Faucet?
Your options here depend on what is wrong with it. If the drip is on one
of the supply valves, you really should call a plumber. You don’t
want to be messing around with replacing a value, with cutting soldering,
etc. Sometimes, there may just be a bad o-ring, which you can replace.
But first you’ll need to take the old sink apart and find the bad
ring, then take it up to Lowe’s or Home Depot to find a replacement
that is a match. It’s important to address leaky faucets quickly,
because the relentless dripping will quickly damage and corrode fixtures,
and cause unsightly staining.
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