AugerPros Plumbing Blog

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Leaking Faucet
Leaking Faucet

Why is it important to fix a leaking faucet?

I don’t know about you, but something about that constant drip…drip…drip… of a leaking faucet makes me not be able to sleep at night. Knowing that I’m just wasting away money. Did you know, that in just one day of experiencing a leaking faucet, you can go through over 20 gallons of un-used water! That sounds a little crazy to me, but it is a proven fact. That’s a good enough reason for me to get my leaking faucet fixed right away!

Could this be a potential DIY project?

Of course! With a few tools and the right advice below from one of our guys, this could be a simple ‘do it yourself’ project. Keep in mind, that the repair does differ depending on the spout and sink that you’re already working with. But you can follow the basic advice on how to stop a leaking faucet, and that should resolve your issues.

How to determine the cause of a leaking faucet

It is always best to keep an eye out for leaking faucets and get them repaired as quickly as possible. As I stated before, that is the quickest way to waste away your hard earned money!

To identify the source of the leak, give your sink a once-over. If there is water pooling around the stem of the faucet, you most likely need to replace the o-ring or tighten the packing nut.

If the leak is coming from the spout, you’re probably experiencing a problem with the faucet handle. If that is the case, in most modern homes these days they have cartridge faucets installed and you’ll typically just need to replace the cartridge. But if you have an older style home, on the other hand, they usually have compression faucets installed. The rubber seals on these can wear out over time, so replacing them can usually resolve your leaking faucet issues.

What is the difference between these two faucet styles?

compression faucet requires you to tighten down (compress) the washer to close the water flow. With a cartridge faucet, the action is smooth and consistent. With a half-turn, the handle goes from the off to the on position. The faucet turns off without added pressure being required as with a compression faucet.

What you’ll need to DIY

  • Rags- for an easy cleanup
  • White Vinegar- for cleaning along the way, and grim build up in the spout
  • Phillips and flat head screwdriver- to remove the screw
  • Replacement parts- to swap out the failed components
  • Allen wrench or adjustable wrench- for loosening valves and nuts
  • Slip-joint pliers can serve the same purpose and help you gain a better grip on smaller faucet parts that need to be tightened during assembly

Steps to fix your leaking faucet

  1. Shut Off Water

    Always turn off the water supply before doing repair work. Look for the shutoff valves under the sink, once you’ve found these turn them clockwise until they’re tightly closed. Try not to apply too much force while doing this, as over-tightening can cause further damages. If the valves are not under the sink- you will have to close off the main water valves. These are typically located in a basement if you have one. If not, you can probably find them near the washer and dryer or the hot water heater. Once you’ve turned off the valves, turn the faucet on to release pressure and drain out the remaining water in the line.

  2. Close the Drain

    You’re going to be working with small screws as you take apart the faucet and you don’t want them to end up down your drain pipes. You can avoid this problem by concealing holes with covers or plugs. Or even just push a rag in there.

  3. Take the System Apart

    Depending on your type of sink, you may need to remove the faucet body to reach the problem but ideally, all you should have to do is remove the handle.

    For ceramic disc faucets, you will have to remove the set screw and take out the retaining clip or nut before replacing the cylinder.

    For a cartridge faucet, it is pretty similar, you will also have to detach the retaining clip or nut to replace the cartridge.

    Be sure to pay attention to the order and orientation of the parts as you remove them. This makes for a much easier reassembly process. To help with this, set all parts aside in the order that you remove them or take photos as you work.

  4. Check all Parts

    Seals, rubber washers and o-rings are often the culprits of a leaking faucet. Inspect them for obvious wear and tear such as, a flattened washer or grooves worn into the parts. If they look as if they need to be replaced, replace them. Take the old parts to the store with you, to assure you’re buying the correct replacements.
    Alternatively you could replace the entire faucet with a washer less faucet to help avoid these issues in the future.

  5. Clean as You Go

    Once the parts are removed take advantage of this time and clean the parts thoroughly before reassembly. Clean all seals and interior cylinders. Check the valve seat for mineral deposits that could cause the washer to not be flush which could result in leaks. Use a cloth to clean the surfaces and loosen the deposits by soaking them in white vinegar.

  6. Reassemble the Faucet

    If you took pictures in the previous steps, this is where they will come in handy! With your tools in hand, reverse the dismantling process to assemble the faucet. Make sure to never push down on the faucet or force parts to works as this can result in further damage.

  7. Test the Water Flow

    Once you’ve finished all of your hard work, you’ll have to test out how it’s going to hold up. To do this, you will have to turn your water back on. A little bit of experts advice, it’s best to have your faucet in the on position during this process and you’ll need to turn the water back on slowly. If the faucet is in the off position or there is too much pressure applied too quickly, it could result in more serious damages to your faucet, such as cracking the ceramic disc. Let the water run until it flows out normally.

Thinking about replacing instead of repairing?

Old faucet still giving you problems? It’s usually a good idea to go ahead and replace it altogether with an updated cartridge model faucet. If you’re unable to solve your leaking faucet issues with a quick fix, it is best to reach out to us and we can have one of our highly trained experts out there as early as the next business day. They are equipped with the necessary tools, and knowledge to effectively identify and resolve your faucet issues.

We know plumbing issues can be a pain, but we are here to help take away some of the stress that comes with them. Feel free to call Auger Pros Plumbing if you have that pestering drip…drip…drip… keeping you up at night.