5 Steps on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Among all the various plumbing problems a homeowner is likely to encounter, a leaky faucet is undoubtedly the most common and annoying one, right up there with a backed up drain or a running toilet. Most people tend just to get used to the dripping sound and learn to endure it, thinking they’ll get around to fixing it or having it repaired someday and putting it aside. But that can be a costly mistake.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the average American home wastes 11,000 gallons of water yearly due to leaks and drips from faucets. So fixing a leaky faucet is not only annoying but it can be quite costly.

There are different types of faucets in use, some you can fix, and some you have to replace. Fortunately, the vast majority of those in use are called compression faucets, and they are easy to repair if you have the right tools and knowledge. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to fix it, don’t hesitate to call an expert plumber for faucet fixture repairs, as it’s an inexpensive job.

Fixing A Leaky Faucet

Tools you will need:

  • Adjustable Wrench; C wrench
  • Flat-Head Screwdriver / Philips
  • Pipe Tape
  • A Replacement Washer

In most cases, the cause of a leak is due to a worn out washer, usually plastic or rubber, that seals the water inlet under the faucet handle, and you need to replace it. It’s a good idea to disassemble the faucet first so you can take the old washer with you and check your local hardware store to ensure you get the right one.

Step 1: Turn off the water using the shut-off valves located underneath the sink. Then, thoroughly drain the water lines by turning on the faucet and letting the water trickle out.

Step 2: Plug the drain with a stopper or a rag to prevent small parts from being lost.

Step 3: Remove the faucet cap or any decorative parts of the handle knobs. You might need to use a screwdriver to pry it up. Underneath the cap, you’ll find a nut which you will use your adjustable wrench to remove. Doing this will expose the washer assembly. Pay attention during disassembly so you’ll know how to put it back together. Check the removed parts for any damage. The faulty washer will probably show visible signs of failure such as being broken or pinched.

Step 4: Go to the hardware store and buy the appropriate replacement washer.

Step 5: Carefully reassemble the faucet with the new washer. Use some pipe tape on the bolt when replacing the nut, and put the cap back on. Turn on the water to see if you fixed the leak.

When to Call a Plumber

If, after all of your effort, you notice the faucet is still dripping, then the cause may be corrosion in your valve seat. If not cleaned over time, it can create leaks near the sprout. Other possible problems are worn-out seals, loose parts, or even worse, broken plumbing. If your inspection leads to these issues, or if other sudden complications occur, then it may be time to call a professional plumber.

And remember, there are various types of faucets, including ball-type faucets, cartridge, and ceramic, which can be a bit more complicated to repair. When in doubt, you shouldn’t hesitate to call for the services of a professional plumber.

Einstein Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling have been serving the areas of Oregon, Washington, and Nevada for years now. If you are in need of a faucet repair or any other plumbing, water heater, heating & cooling, and sewer & mainline problems, don’t hesitate to contact them at 888-671-7767 or email [email protected] right away.

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3 thoughts on “5 Steps on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet”

  1. Our faucet has been leaking for quite some time now, and we don’t know what to do. We tried replacing the washer but it’s still the same. Since all our attempts didn’t work, I think you’re right that we should call a plumber see what’s wrong. We might be dealing with a broken pipe so it’s better to settle this as early as possible. I’ll talk to my parents about this. Thanks for the informative article.

  2. I’ve never heard about corrosive valve seats before; maybe that is why my faucet has been struggling so much lately. My neighbor came over to have a look, and he said it could be a problem with the seals, but I guess I won’t actually know until I get a consultation from a professional. I really want to make sure that I am getting the right thing repaired so that these issues don’t come back in the future. My neighbor was also saying that good plumbing companies do comprehensive services in order to get to the root of the problem, so I’m going to have to find someone that can do that for me. This issue isn’t dire or anything, but I’d like to get the annoying dripping noises taken care of as soon as possible.

  3. That last section was really helpful. I’m always at a loss when to call for professional help. The sink in my bathroom has a leaky faucet. It hadn’t been too much of a problem. However, I’d like to have it fixed since you mentioned that it be caused by corrosion.

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