Fix a Leaky Faucet
A leaky faucet is one of the most common plumbing problems and thankfully, one of the easiest to repair. Funny thing is, many people ignore it and leave a dripping faucet untouched, which costs money.
A steady drip from one faucet could waste as much as $20 or more on your water bill. If more than one faucet is dripping, you can figure how much money is literally going down the drain. Don’t forget that waste from a dripping hot water faucet is even more expensive because you’re paying to heat the water as it drips away.
Your water supply is under pressure, so there must be a watertight seal to hold back incoming water when turned off. That seal is created when the washer is pressed against the faucet seat. When the washer or the seat has been compressed too much or worn down, that seal won’t hold. With even the slightest leak water will seep through and create an annoying drip.
In most situations all you have to do is replace the washer or repair the seat. Before starting this job think about what parts you might need, when the hardware store is open and how to turn off the water supply. Many sinks have a shutoff valve either under it or close by. Not all homes are equipped with shutoffs for individual fixtures so in that case you’ll have to find the main shutoff for the house and turn the water off there.
The most common type of faucet is the compression type. Some compression faucets have separate hot and cold handles while others use just one handle. They both operate on the same principle so there’s no real difference in the basic function of compression faucets.
You’ll need a few basic tools and the replacement parts. If you don’t know the exact parts you’re replacing, a good time to start this job is in the morning so you have time to get to the hardware store. One you remove the parts you’ll know what is needed.
- A Phillips or flat-head screwdriver (a multi-head screwdriver is great for this kind of thing)
- Slip-joint pliers or adjustable wrench
- Penetrating oil
- Replacement washers
Steps To Fix Your Leaking Faucet
- Turn off the water supply
- Remove faucet handle by unscrewing top or back of the handle
- (Some are hidden by a small cap you pop off or unscrew)
- If needed, use the penetrating oil here to unscrew the handle
- Remove the packing nut with your slip-joint pliers or adjustable wrench, being careful not to scar the metal
- Twist out the stem or spindle. (Turn it in the same direction you would turn on the faucet)
- Remove the screw that holds the washer and replace the screw if damaged
- Replace the washer and
- Be careful not to over tighten the parts or you may damage them
That should solve your leaking faucet problem. If it doesn’t for some reason, call a local plumber for advice. They are usually willing to walk you through a problem when it’s an obviously simple one. Most of these guys are busy with contracts and would feel guilty charging the call out fee for something as simple as a faucet drip.
Save yourself a C note and do it yourself.