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How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

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Do you have a leaky faucet? If you do, you’ve probably realized how annoying a leaking faucet can be. The sound can distract you during the day, keep you up at night, not to mention it can waste a ton of water.

If you’ve found yourself in need of a plumbing repair, then you’re in the right place! At Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating, we have an expert team ready to help you whenever you need it. If you need help fixing a leaky faucet, please give us a call! Until then, keep reading to learn more about the most common causes of a leaky faucet and what you can do to repair them at home! 

The 4 types of faucets being a ball faucet, compression washer faucet, cartridge faucet and a ceramic disk faucet.

What Type of Faucet Do I Have?

Identifying your faucet type is an essential first step before any repair. The four most common types of faucets include: 

  • Cartridge faucet
  • Compression washer faucet
  • Ceramic disk faucet
  • Ball faucet

What Causes a Faucet to Drip?

There may be several reasons why your faucet is dripping. Below are some of the most common causes of a leaky faucet.

Corroded Valve Seat:

A valve seat is the part of your faucet that connects the faucet and the spout in the compression mechanism. With use, the valve seat can corrode, causing leakage. To avoid a corroded valve seat, make sure that you clean it regularly.

Worn Out Washer:

A compression faucet relies on rubber washers to seal the valve seat. Unfortunately, these rubber washers can wear out, causing your faucet to leak. To fix this type of leak, you’ll have to replace the washer. 

Improper Installation of Washer:

Sometimes, the rubber washers needed to keep your faucet leak-free aren’t installed properly. It’s essential that the washers in your faucet are the right size and fitted properly. If you think this may be why you have a leak, we suggest hiring a professional plumber to help you install the washer correctly.

A Problem in the O Ring:

With compression washer faucets, ceramic disk faucets, and ball faucets, an o-ring or a neoprene seal is used to seal the valve seat. Over time, the o-ring can become loose or wear out, causing the faucet to drip. Replacing the damaged O ring will fix it if this is the issue. 

Assorted handheld tools surrounding a faucet, laid out in preparation to fix a small leak

5 Steps to Fix a Leaky Faucet 

If you have a leaking faucet, you can follow these steps to fix it:  

  1. Shut Off the Water

The first thing you have to do when repairing a leaky faucet is turn off the water supply. Underneath your sink, you should be able to find a valve that allows you to do this. If you can’t, your next course of action should be shutting off the water supply for your entire house. 

Before proceeding, make sure the water line is empty by turning the sink on and letting any remaining water drain. 

  1. Remove the Handle 

How you remove the faucet handle depends on your faucet type. Depending on the type of faucet you have, there are two options for removing the handle:

  • If there is a set screw behind the handle, you can use a hex key or an Allen wrench to remove the screw
  • If the handle has a top screw cover, you can pry it off with a flat screwdriver and use a Phillips head screwdriver to loosen the screw underneath the cover

Once the screws are removed, you’ll be able to pull the handle loose. 

  1. Remove the Cartridge or Stem

The next step is to remove the cartridge or stem. The faucet cartridge or faucet stem is the part that controls the hot and cold water. Use a wrench to loosen the nut and then gently pull the part straight up and out to remove this part.

  1. Replace Damaged or Worn Parts 

Now that you’ve taken apart the faucet, you’ll be able to identify which part is causing the leak. Next, take some time to inspect the o-rings, washers, or valve seats to see if any look damaged or worn. 

These parts come in many shapes and sizes, so the easiest way to find the right replacement part is to take the part you’re replacing to the store so you can find the exact model you need.

Once you have the right part, replace it and reattach your faucet handle.

  1. Test Your Faucet 

Once you’ve replaced the damaged or worn part, you can turn your water line back on.

To make sure your faucet is working correctly, try running both hot and cold water through your faucet for a few minutes.

Call Us When You Need Us 

Plumbing problems can happen at any time. While most home plumbing issues are easy to fix, you don’t have to do it alone! If you need help with a leaky faucet or any other plumbing issue, please give us a call! Our team is always here to help when you need it most. 

Thomas Howard

Written by Thomas Howard

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