How to Fix a Dripping Faucet

Posted on: June 29th, 2016 by rwilliamsdel
A Dripping Faucet

A leaking faucet is not only annoying, but wastes water and costs money.

The drip of a leaky faucet is not only annoying, but will also waste water and unnecessarily raise your water bills.

Fortunately, you can fix them yourself by following some fairly simple steps. All you need to do is get the right tools, learn the right techniques, and you can fix the problems.

Types of Faucets

The first and most important step is to determine what kind of faucet you’re trying to repair.

For example, compression faucets control the flow of water by pressing the stopper against a metal opening fixed on the interior of the fixture.

It’s comparable to tightening the lid of a bottle. As you turn the lid in one direction, it becomes tighter until the liquid stops pouring out.

If your current faucet has two separate handles for cold and hot water, it is a compression faucet.

Washerless, ball, cartridge, and ceramic disc faucets are the the other types that are usually found in homes.

All of these faucets work on the same principle. There are two holes aligned inside the faucet that control the flow of water and moving the holes can stop the flow of water. Usually, washerless faucets have one handle, but some cartridge ones may even have two.

Regardless of which type of faucet you have, it is worth knowing that leaks most commonly stem from plastic or rubber seals wearing out. When that happens, the worn out seals allow free flow of water from the taps, resulting in constant dripping.

Tools you’ll need to fix a leaking faucet:

●Adjustable wrench, C wrench

●Flat-head screwdriver

●Penetrating oil (WD-40 or CRC)

●Replacement washers and O-rings

Step By Step Instructions

Step#1: Avoid making a mess by turning off the water supply. Before you start applying wrench or even screwdriver, make sure you also turn off the water from the handles located below the sink.

Step#2: If you see any decorative parts in your handle knobs, remove them. A flat head screwdriver will help you do that. Unscrew the screw underneath each knob.

These screws mount the handle to the stem and unscrewing them will let you remove the handle easily. Apply some penetrating oil to make the work easier and smoother. It will allow you to take off the faucet handle from the stem.

Step#3: Use the wrench to loosen the packing nut. You should be able to pick up the stem at this point and remove it. Depending on the faucet you have, some stems might automatically pop off, while others might need a bit of twist. Once removed, check for any damages.

Plumber Repairing Faucet

Check for damages to the interior of the faucet.

Step#4: If everything seems undamaged at this point, inspect the O-ring and washer. These are found inside the valve seat and might be the cause of the leak. Remove the washer and replace it with a new one.

Make sure you find a washer and O-ring that fit exactly to the valve. If you are not sure of either, check the valve seat to see if the sides fit a flat or cone-shaped washer.

Purchase the appropriate type. Alternatively, you can also take your old O-ring to the local hardware shop and compare in order to buy the right sized replacement.

Step#5: Once you have gotten the correct size washers and O-ring, replace them and carefully reassemble all the parts.

Follow the order in reverse to put everything back together: washer/O-ring->stem->packing nut->screw->handle. Turn the water supply back on. Slowly turn on the knob to test the flow of running water and check if you’ve fixed the leak.

A Running Faucet

Turn the water back on to check that the leak is fixed.

Follow these steps and you should be able to fix the source of the leaking. If the problem persists, then it could instead be due to some other cause such as corrosion in the valve seat.

When not cleaned properly, the valve seats can produce leaks on the spout. Other possible problems can be loose parts, worn-out seals, or broken plumbing.

If you’re not sure about the sudden cause of leaks, talk to a plumber you trust like your local Ben Franklin Plumbing. They fix faucets and can help you determine the causes of leaks and let you know if the faucet needs to be repaired or replaced.

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