Faucet drips contribute to up to 10,000 gallons of water wastage every year. Keep your home faucets in good working condition to avoid additional charges on your water bill, but most importantly, to minimize the environmental impact of wasting water.
Sometimes the leak can easily be remedied by a simple DIY fix. If you know how to troubleshoot the issue and make minor repairs; fix it immediately. The annoying sound of dripping water from the faucet is not worth losing sleep over since it should be fixed right away. A tiny trickle from the faucet can quickly turn into a catastrophic event if not dealt with immediately. If the problem is more serious than you think, have it repaired by a trained technician because the longer you ignore this issue, the higher your utility bills will be.
How do you stop a dripping faucet? Fixing a dripping faucet depends on the cause of the problem and the type of faucet you have. Knowing the common causes of faucet drips and leaks will give you an idea on how to check for faulty and damaged parts, and finally get over your faucet woes for good.
Common Causes of Dripping and Leaking Faucets
The Valve Seat is Corroded
The valve seat is part of the compression mechanism and serves as a connecting structure between the spout and the faucet. The sediments that accumulate in the valve seat can cause corrosion and leakage around the spout. Make a routine of cleaning of this area by consulting your trusted plumber.
The Washer is Damaged
When your faucet is dripping, it is more likely caused by a worn out washer. High water pressure forces the washer against the valve seat, and constant friction destroys the material over time. It is the common complaint in households with compression faucets.
The Washer was not Installed Properly
It is also possible that the washer used inside the unit is the wrong size. Reinstalling the faucet using the right size washer can fix this problem.
There’s a Problem in the O-ring.
The O-ring or toric joint is a kind of gasket attached to the stem screw. This screw holds the handle of a faucet in place. Typical usage can loosen the O-ring, and the water will seep out of the handle. It is a common problem in cartridge faucets and requires replacing the O-ring.
Stop a dripping faucet: Do It Yourself guide
Prepare the following tools:
- Adjustable wrench
- Flat head screwdriver and Phillips
- Needle-nose pliers
- Penetrating oil
- Replacement parts (washer and O-rings)
- Petroleum jelly
Compression Type Faucet: Replacing Worn out Washer
- Make sure the shut-off valve is turned off. Take the unit apart by unscrewing the tiny screws on the handle. Sometimes the screws are hidden behind a metal or plastic disc; use penetrating oil to loosen stuck screws.
- After removing the handle, inspect the faucet assembly. Using an adjustable wrench or large pliers, remove the packing nut. Twist out the spindle by turning in the same direction as you would open the faucet.
- Remove the screw that keeps the washer in place. If the screw and stem are damaged, replace them.
- Use the right size and shape of replacement washer. If the old washer is beveled or flat, you must replace it with an identical shape.
- After replacing the old washer, reinstall the faucet assembly. Turn the stem clockwise to tighten it. Be careful not to damage the metal with the wrench.
Fix Corroded Valve Seat
If the faucet is still dripping after following the steps above, consider replacing the valve seat.
- Insert a seat wrench into the seat and turn it counterclockwise. Once the old seat is removed, you can now replace it with an identical seat wrench.
- If the valve seat doesn’t budge, insert a seat sleeve in the location of the old seat to provide a tight seal. You can also use a grinder to even out the worn edges. Don’t use this tool excessively because it may grind too much of the seat.
Reinstall a Loose Packing Nut
If the leak occurs when the faucet is turned on, and water is coming out of the handle–the packing nut is probably loose.
- Check if the packing nut is tight. Avoid scratching the nut with pliers by putting too much pressure.
- Install the replacement packing nut if the old one is loose. If the packing looks like a soft wire, wrap it around the stem once. If it has a string-like appearance, coil it around the stem several times.
- Smear a light coat of petroleum jelly on the threads of the packing nut and stem before you reassemble the faucet.
Replacing the O-ring
Kitchen faucets often have one or more O-rings to prevent water from seeping out around the spout. If water comes out of this area every time you turn on the faucet, the ring is probably worn out.
- Remove the coupling nut and carefully move the spout up and out of the socket to reveal the rings.
- Replace the defective O-rings with the correct type of rings.