3,000 gallons of water per year. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, that’s the amount wasted from just one leaky faucet. Water damage is not only annoying but can also be costly if ignored.
Don’t fret if you’re encountering a dripping faucet – there are easy solutions. This guide will demonstrate how to fix a leaky faucet. Let’s begin!
What you’ll need to fix a leaky faucet, you’ll need the following supplies:
- A Phillips head screwdriver
- A pair of pliers
- Teflon tape
- A new washer (if needed)
Why is your tap dripping or leaking water?
Why is your faucet leaking or dripping? Generally speaking, leaks are caused by two conditions.
Worn-out sink cartridges
If you notice water stains on your sink, it is most likely caused by an aged sink cartridge. A sink cartridge creates a neoprene seal when it is rotated to prevent water from flowing out of the faucet. However, the seal will not work well if it is aged, resulting in water leakage. You can fix this problem yourself, but you must install the new cartridge in the exact location.
Worn compression faucet washers
When you rotate the faucet, the washer creates a seal that prevents water from flowing out of the faucet. But as time passes, it may deteriorate and crack. If this is the problem, there will usually be visible water stains telling you it has started to fail. To fix the problem, simply use a new pressure-tapered washer bolt to hold it.
In short, if your cartridge faucet is leaking or not working as well as it used to, be sure to have it repaired or reinstalled with a new one. This way, you can avoid unintended consequences.
Compression valve stem gaskets are usually sold in inexpensive kits that include 10 to 15 gaskets of various sizes and screws of various sizes. This allows you to use the gasket and set screws that fit your faucet.
The kit will also have a small tool to help you tighten the screws. Please make sure to read the directions carefully before starting in order to avoid damaging the faucet.
How to Turn Off the Water Faucet
Before beginning any water faucet repair, you must first turn off the water. Although it seems like a minor detail, it could result in expensive problems if done incorrectly. Here is a quick guide on the proper way to turn off your water faucet:
First, locate the main water shut-off valve for your home. This is usually located near the water meter or main water supply line. Once you’ve found it, turn the valve clockwise until it’s fully closed.
Next, open up the faucet you’ll be working on and allow all the water to drain. Once the water has stopped flowing, close the faucet.
Now, go back to the main shut-off valve and turn it counterclockwise until it’s fully open. This will allow any remaining water in the pipes to drain out.
Finally, close the faucet you were working on and turn the main shut-off valve clockwise until it’s fully closed. You’re now ready to start your repair work!
Equipment / Tools
- Adjustable wrench
- Channel-lock pliers
- Set of Allen keys
- Flathead screwdriver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Utility knife
- Replacement faucet cartridge (if needed)
- Silicone faucet plumber s grease
- Kit of assorted stem washers and screws
Repair of cartridge faucets
Remove the handle.
To do this, you’ll need to shut off the water and block the drain so that no water can escape while you’re working. Once the water is turned off, remove the screw holding the handle. In most cases, this will be a Phillips head screw, but it could also be a hexagonal or flathead screw. Once the screw is removed, pull the faucet handle ****straight off. If it’s stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to pry it loose.
Loosen the fixing nut
Find the thin locking nuts that will secure the sink in place. Put them around the adjusting wrench and turn them counterclockwise to loosen them. Take off the remaining nut by hand.
Remove the sink cartridge.
With the handle removed, take a look at the cartridge. In many cases, you’ll be able to see whether it’s damaged or dirty. You can try cleaning it with white vinegar or soap and water if it’s dirty. If that doesn’t work, or if the cartridge is visibly damaged, you’ll need to replace it.
To remove the old cartridge, start by unscrewing the retaining nut that holds it in place. Once the nut is loose, pull out the cartridge and discard it.
Apply silicone grease
Use your finger to apply a small amount of plumber s grease onto the body of the replacement cartridge faucet.
Insert replacement cartridge
To install the new cartridge, insert it into the faucet body and hand-tighten the retaining nut until it’s snug. Once the cartridge is in place, turn on the water and check for leaks. If there are any leaks, tighten the nut a little bit more until they stop.
Finally, put the handle back on and screw it in place.
Test water flow
Turn on the water valve. Allow the faucet to run for 60 seconds, then turn it off. Check for any leaks.
Repair of compression taps
Remove the handle
To remove the handle from a compression tap, start by unscrewing the handle screw with a Phillips head screwdriver. If the handle is stiff, you may need to use a pair of pliers to loosen it.
Remove the valve cover.
After removing the handle screw, pull the handle off the tap. If there is a valve cover, take it off next along with the valve stem assembly.
Remove the packing nut.
Start by unscrewing the packing nut screws with a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the packing nut. After you unscrew the packing nut, it should easily come off the tap.
Remove the stem packing.
With the packing nut removed, you can now remove the valve stem packing. To do this, simply pull the packing out of the tap.
Install the new packing
Now that the old packing has been removed, you can install the new packing. Begin by lubricating the new packing with water or plumbers’ grease.
Install the new packing
Once the new packing is lubricated, insert it into the tap and hand-tighten the packing nut until it is snug against the packing.
Replace the valve cover (if there is one)
Replace the valve cover and reassemble the Tap handle. Be sure to hand-tighten all screws until they are snug against their respective components.
- It is important not to over-tighten any screws or nuts when reassembling your compression tap, as this could damage the seals or cause leaks.
- If your compression tap is still leaking after following these steps, replacing worn or damaged parts such as O-rings or replacing the seat washer may be necessary. Consult a professional if you need help with how to proceed.
When to replace a leaky faucet instead of fixing it
A leaky faucet can be a nuisance, dripping water and wasting resources. In some cases, replacing the entire fixture may be best rather than attempting to fix the leaks. Here are some things to think about:
The type of faucet
Replacing an older model or specialty faucet might be difficult, so in this case, it is more cost-effective to replace the unit.
The severity of the leaks
If the leaks are small, they can often be repaired with replacement washers or replace the o ring. However, if the leaks are more severe, they may require extensive work that is best left to a professional.
The frequency of repairs
If you find yourself constantly patching up your faucet, it may be time for an upgrade. In the long term, you will save time and money with a newer model that is more reliable.
Taking care of a leaky faucet quickly is key to preventing more water damage.
The faucet was used for 10 to 20 years.
If your kitchen faucet is over a decade old, you should replace it. Older models are less efficient and don’t meet current water conservation standards. Operating an old faucet wastes water and drives up your bills— replacing it with a new model can save you money while conserving resources.
Maintenance costs are too high.
It’s always a tough decision to make when trying to weigh the cost of maintaining something versus simply biting the bullet and replacing it. Oftentimes, unless you’re only dealing with replacing a few washers here and there, it’s usually not worth your time trying to fix a cheap faucet. However, an expensive one is typically worth repairing a leaky faucet.
The price tag on the replacement parts is generally the key component, as this tends to be the costliest piece. Most faucet cartridge costs oscillate between $10 and $50, though a few exceed $100.
If the repair will only cost a few dollars, it is probably not worth your time to do it yourself. You can hire a professional plumber for less than $100 per hour, so unless the repair is very simple, it will likely cost more to do it yourself.
However, if you are handy and have some basic plumbing skills, you can often do the repair yourself for less than the cost of hiring a professional. In addition, doing it yourself can be satisfying and give you a sense of accomplishment.
So when faced with the decision of whether or not to repair or replace your faucet, weigh all the factors carefully before making a decision.
A leaky faucet can be a nuisance, wasting water and driving utility bills. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire fixture rather than trying to fix the leaks. When making this decision, consider the type of faucet, the severity of the leaks, the frequency of repairs, and maintenance costs. If you have a leaky faucet, take action as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Hofen Sanitary, with 17 years of manufacturing sanitary hardware experience. If you want to know more about faucets or other products, please contact us.