One of the most common plumbing problems in any home is a leaky faucet.
Typically, a faucet can leak in one of two ways: a drip from the spout, or a water leak from the base of the handle. And because even the smallest of leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water wasted each year, it makes sense to fix a leak as soon as you notice it.
The first step is to stop the water flow to the faucet. Some sinks have stop valves located under the sink. Bathtubs and showers often have integrated shutoffs near the fixture. Other homes have one main shut off valve to control the water throughout the entire house.
After shutting off the water, open the faucet and wait for the water to drain. Pry off the decorative cap (if any), remove the handle screw, and gently remove the handle. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove and additional screws and packing nuts.
As you remove each piece, check for signs of wear. Common problems are:
- If water drips from the spout when the handle is off, you probably need to replace warn washers.
- If water seeps out below the handle, the O-ring is probably worn.
- If the seat looks worn, it probably needs replacing
When replacing parts, make sure you get an exact duplicate. Even the tiniest of differences can increase the leak instead of fixing it.
In some cases, if you can’t find the parts or if you are in need of a number of them, it may be better to simply replace the faucet. It allows you to update your look, and have the entire problem fixed and back in order in no time.
[Have several leaking faucets, or wonder how to convert to low flow faucets to converse on water? Quality First Plumbing & Heating can perform a water analysis in your home, and provide you with detailed ways to save on your next water bill.]