Drip. Drop. Is the sound of your leaky faucet causing waves of anxiety when you think about how many gallons of water you’re wasting? Just wait until the bill comes in the mail.
According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, a minor faucet leak can lead to nearly 10,000 gallons of water being wasted, equivalent to the amount of water in a swimming pool. A faucet leak can result in hundreds of dollars of water wastage.
Believe it or not, fixing a leaky faucet is a relatively simple and inexpensive repair job. Tired of burning a hole in your pocket? It’s time to get professional help today. Learn more about our plumbing services.
In the meantime, read on to learn more about what causes a leaky faucet.
The 5 Most Common Causes of Faucet Leaks
Faucet leaks are a common household issue that almost all homeowners will encounter at some point. So, what causes a leaky faucet? Most likely, it’s one of these five problems.
Most household faucets are cartridge styles designed with two handles or a single handle. The cartridge valve is a plastic component equipped with notches on the side and a stem on the top. The cartridge regulates the water flow, so a damaged or broken cartridge can result in a leaky faucet.
Worn-out washers could be the culprit behind your leaky faucet. Every time you turn the faucet on or off, the washer is pushed down into the valve seat. This back-and-forth action causes constant friction, and eventually, the washer will wear out.
When this happens, you’ll start to notice water dripping from the spout. Leaks caused by worn washers typically occur in compression faucets. The wrong size washer or a poorly installed washer can also cause leaks.
Cartridge, compression, and ceramic faucets are all equipped with at least one O-ring. The O-ring is the small disc on the stem screw that secures it to the faucet handle.
The O-ring can become severely worn out or loose due to regular use. Replacing a damaged O-ring can stop the faucet from leaking.
Corroded Valve Seat
If the faucet is leaking from the spout, chances are the valve seat is corroded. The valve seat is the component that connects the faucet to the spout. It’s a critical part of the compression mechanism.
A bad valve seat can cause water flow issues, and you’ll notice that the water leaks along the edges of the faucet when the water is turned on.
The valve seat can become corroded when sediment begins to build up inside the component. Once the valve seat has deteriorated, you’ll need to replace it quickly before it affects the faucet’s other parts and leads to bigger problems.
High Water Pressure
If the faucet only seems to leak or drip at certain times, when the handle is positioned in a specific way, or perhaps when another fixture like the shower is running, water pressure is probably the culprit. High water pressure damages the pipes, resulting in extensive wear of fixtures and causing small leaks.
Troubleshooting a Faucet Leak
A faucet leak can turn into a major issue when left unchecked. In some instances, you might need to repair or troubleshoot a leaking faucet yourself in an emergency. Here are a few simple tips for troubleshooting a leaky faucet on your own.
Turn off the Water Supply
Of course, the first thing you should do when troubleshooting a leaking faucet is to deactivate the main water supply. Make sure the water is off by turning on the faucets to see if any water comes out. If you don’t turn off the main water supply, you risk flooding your kitchen or bathroom.
Disassemble the Fixture
What type of faucet do you have? There are four main types of faucets:
Ball Faucet: Ball faucets are typically used in kitchens, and they are identified by their single handle design. Ball faucets tend to leak more than other types of fixtures because they have more parts.
Disc Faucet: A disc faucet uses a single lever that’s attached to a thick cylindrical body. This type of fixture has two discs at the bottom of the chamber that controls the water flow. Disc faucets don’t need to be repaired as often.
Cartridge faucets: Cartridge faucets are equipped with either one or two handles.
Compression faucet: Compression faucets are quite similar to cartridge fixtures. These faucets have been around for ages. As the name implies, these faucets have to be compressed or pushed down to turn them off and on.
You’ll need to know the type of faucet you have in order to disassemble it.
Once you take apart the faucet, you should inspect all of the components. Look out for corroded or loose parts. Inspect the O-rings, seals, and rubber washers.
Replace the Damaged Parts
The worn or damaged parts will need to be replaced. Your best bet is to take the old components to your local hardware store so that an employee can help you choose the exact parts in the store.
Put Everything Back Together
Before you reassemble the faucet, thoroughly clean and remove any build-up in the valves using white vinegar. Put the fixture back together after all the components are correctly installed.
Is Your Faucet Still Leaking?
If your faucet is still leaking after troubleshooting, it’s time to get professional help. Sometimes what causes a leaky faucet can be more extensive than what it initially appeared to be. You’ll need an experienced professional to perform a thorough inspection of your faucet and your home’s plumbing system to diagnose the problem accurately.
That’s where we come in. At Advantage Plumbing & Sewer, we have years of experience repairing faucet leaks, and our team of plumbing experts is licensed and bonded. We offer emergency services to address serious situations quickly.