A leaky faucet is an annoying problem that may turn into a great issue if it isneglected and not adressed especially. Drips of a leaky faucet which keeps you up atnight may be annoying and cause higher water bills, waste of the water and the waterdamage.
Repairing your own faucet may seem a diffucult task but fortunately, when you learnthe basics and identify the type of your faucet, all you have to do get the necessarytools for the job and follow the instructions below. You’ll see that it is a quite simpleand inexpensive job even without having to call in the plumber.
Possible Causes for a Leaky Faucet
- Loose parts
- Old or worn out seals
- Abrasion of the valve seat
- Build up on washers and valve parts
Materials you will need
Make sure you have all of the tools and materials required before you start the repairs. It will shorten the amount of time it takes to finish the repairing process. The process should take about an hour to complete. The materials you will need to repair include:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench (G wrench)
- Replacement parts and washers
- Penetrating oil (lubricant) such as WD-40 or GRG
1. Turn off the water to your faucet
Before beginning to apply any wrench or screwdriver to your faucet, always make sure you turn the water off. Skipping this step and attempting to take apart the faucet directly may cause a flooded bath or kitchen. Shutoff valves probably will be under the sink. Look underneath your sink to locate the shutoff valves and turn off the water to the fixture. If those valves don’t work or if you don’t have any, you can turn off the main water supply for your entire house. Then, make sure the water is shut off and the water pressure is relieved by turning on the faucet. Finally, cover the sink drain with a rag to avoid the losing small parts down the hole.
2. Remove Faucet Handles
Remove the any decorative parts of the handle knobs prying with a flat-head screwdriver. Under each knob, you’ll see the screws holding the handles in place. Use Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws. Then remove the handle gently with your flat-head. If the screws are difficult to remove, then you can lubricate and loosen the parts with the WD-40 which allows you to take the faucet handle off the system.
3. Remove the packing nut and replace it
Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the packing nut and reveal the stem. Then, twist or pry the stem to remove. If you have trouble, you can apply the penetrating oil. Check the packing nut and the stem to see if there is any damage, corrosion or buildup.
4. Remove the washer
Take a look at the O-ring and the washer inside the valve seat to make sure that they are in good condition. They might be the reason for your leak. Remove the washer with a srewdriver by prying up. If the washer is held in place by a screw, remove the screw. If it is damaged, replace it.
5. Clean the Valves
After you removed all of the parts from the faucet, you can check the valves. There might be mineral depositing or any other buildup. Pour some white vinegar over these areas and wait for soaking it for a couple of minutes. The vinegar helps dissolve the deposits making them easier to remove. After you done, clean the surfaces and pour clean water over the valves to rinse away remaining dirt and debris.
6. Put the faucet back together
Reassamble all the parts that you removed. (washer/O-ring, stem, packing nut, screw and handle). Be sure to replace all the damged or corroded parts with new ones.
7. Check for the leakage and finish
Slowly and carefully turn the knob to test the running water and to see if the faucet is repaired. If, after all, you see the faucet is still leaking, remove the handle again and tighten the packing nut one more time.
8. Replace your faucet when required
Like everything, faucets wear off with age and need to be replaced when the time comes. Usually, many faucets have a lifespan of about 10 years before any requirement for repair or replacement. Remember replacing your faucet when you notice the problems such as corrosion, leakings in some areas or damaged faucet.
Types of Faucets
There are four main type of faucets which we used in our homes everyday. Ball, disc, cartridge and compression. Three of them (ball, disc and cartridge) are types of ‘washerless faucets’ because they don’t have the rubber or neoprene washers. The compression faucet is a basic washer faucet. Their internal mechanisms differ from each other based on the compression, ball, cartridge and disc. Before you start the repairing your faucet, determine what type of faucet you are using.
Ball faucets are a type of washerless faucet. They are common faucets which are used in kitchen sinks. A ball faucet has a single handle which controls a metal or plastic ball inside the faucet. Ball faucets usually leak when the O-rings are old or broken and drip when the inlet seals wear out.
Cartridge Type Faucets
Cartridge- type faucets usually have a rubber and a spring washer. It has many holes in the stem assembly. Cartridge faucets usually leak because of the worn O-rings or a broken cartridge.
Disc Type Faucet
Disc faucets controll the flow of cold and hot water by two discs inside the cartridge. The discs at the bottom raise and lower to control the volume of the water flow. Most often disc faucets leak when the inlet and outlet seals wear out in the cartridge and need a replacement.
Compression Type Faucet
Compression faucets has separate hot and cold water handles. A rubber seal washer is secured to the stems in this faucets. Usually, these type of faucets are the least expensive faucets but they may leak more often and need maintenance.