Among all the various plumbing problems a homeowner is likely to encounter, a leaky faucet is undoubtedly the most common, right up there with a backed up drain or a running toilet. Many people tend to just get used to a dripping faucet and learn to endure it, thinking they’ll get around to fixing it or having it fixed some day and putting it off. But that can be a costly mistake.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the average American home wastes about 11,000 gallons of water annually due to leaks and drips from faucets. So a leaky faucet is not only annoying, it can be quite costly.
There are several different types of faucets in use, some that can be fixed, and some that have to be replaced. Fortunately, the vast majority of those in use are called compression faucets, and they’re pretty easy to fix, if you have the least amount of mechanical know-how and some basic hand tools. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to fix it, don’t hesitate to call a professional, as it’s an economical job.
How To Fix A Leaky Faucet
Time: Less than an hour.
Cost: Under $25.
Tools you will need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Pipe tape
- A replacement washer
In most cases, a leak is caused by a worn out washer, usually plastic or rubber, that seals the water inlet under the faucet handle, and it will need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to disassemble the faucet first so you can take the old washer with you to the hardware store to ensure you get the right one.
Step 1: Turn off the water using the shut-off valves located underneath the sink.
Step 2: Plug the drain with a stopper or a rag to prevent small parts, or wedding rings, from being lost.
Step 3: Remove the faucet cap. These are often decorative and can be pulled off straight up. You might need to use your screwdriver to pry it up. Underneath the cap, you’ll find a nut which you’ll use your adjustable wrench to remove. This will expose the washer assembly. Pay attention during disassembly so you’ll know how to put it back together. The bad washer will probably show obvious signs of failure such as being broken or pinched.
Step 4: Go to the hardware store and buy a replacement washer.
Step 5: Reassemble the faucet with the new washer. Use some pipe tape on the bolt when replacing the nut, and put the cap back on.
Step 6: Turn on the water, and test to see if the leak is fixed.
When To Call A Plumber
If your faucet still leaks, you might have a more serious problem, and you might consider calling a plumber. And remember, there are different types of faucets, including ball-type faucets, ceramic, and cartridge, which can be a bit more complicated to repair. When in doubt, you shouldn’t hesitate to call for the services of a professional plumber.
Roto-Rooter of Denton, TX has been serving the area for over 80 years. If you have a leaky faucet or any other type of plumbing problem, don’t hesitate to contact them right away.