A dripping faucet does more than just annoy the parties who hear it. It wastes water. A single home with three faucets that drip one drop every minute will waste over 100 gallons of water every year.
You can stop faucet leaks for good if you have the tools and the knowledge to fix a leaky faucet. But where do you begin? Do you start with the water line, the handles, or the faucet itself?
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will have a general knowledge of how to fix a leaky faucet and how to save yourself gallons of water every year.
1. Remove the Caps on the Handles
Before you dig into the faucet, being by turning off your water. If you fail to do this, will certainly need to call in professional plumbing services to fix more than your faucet. You can find the shut-off valve right beneath the sink in the bathroom.
Once you’ve turned off the water, close the drains, and remove the decorative cap at the top of each faucet handle. Examine the small circle in the handle that has a “C” or an “H” on it. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry open the decorative cap and expose the screw head under the cap.
Lay out a towel on the counter or the floor. Then, as you remove parts from the faucet, place them in the order in which you removed them. Then you’ll be able to put the faucet back together again in the proper order.
2. Remove Handles
Use a compatible screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the handles in. Usually, you just need a flathead screwdriver, but sometimes you will need an allen wrench for hex screws. Use the right screwdriver so you don’t accidentally strip the screws.
Most screws will remove easily and the handles will lift up. But sometimes the handles or the screws will be seized and stuck. If this is the case, use penetrating oil to loosen your fittings.
3. Remove the Stem Nut
The next step in fixing a faucet leak requires you to pull off the stem and the stem nut. The stem nut holds the stem in place. Use a wrench to unscrew and then remove the stem nut.
You can damage the plumbing parts if you use a wrench with overly aggressive teeth. Use a toothless wrench to limit damage to the faucet.
4. Inspect the O-Ring
Next, as you focus on the faucet and sink repair, pull out the stem and then examine the O-ring and seat washer. The O-ring is a rubber ring that keeps water from leaking out of the faucet handles. If you have a damaged or worn O-ring, you’ve found the culprit for our leaky faucet
Replace the damaged o-ring with a new one. You can find an o-ring at a local hardware store.
5. Replace the Seat Washer
Finally, to repair a leaky faucet, you need to replace the seat washer. The seat washer is the washer you will find at the bottom fo the stem. Whenever you turn the handles to close your water flow, the seat washer is compressed.
The seat washer typically is the reason for your leaky faucet. Do not remove the seat washer until you see if there is a screw holding it in place. If there is a screw there, then remove the screw and take out the seat washer.
Replace your seat washer with a new one that you find at a local hardware store. Take the old O-ring and seat washer with you to the hardware store when you look for a replacement. Then show the old parts to a clerk sot hey can help you find the right replacement for the job.
Reassemble and Test
Congratulations! Once you’ve finished these five steps, you’ve essentially fixed your leaky faucet. You still have two more things to do, though.
First, you need to re-assemble the faucet. Put the handle back together in the following order:
- Seat washer
- Stem nut
- Handle screw
- Decorative cap
Make sure you reassemble these parts carefully. Even slight misalignment will lead to leaks again and cost you hundreds of dollars in wasted water.
Turn your cold and hot water valves back on, and then test your faucet. The faucet may expel a little bit of air. If you’ve fixed the faucet, though, water will quickly flow from the faucet to your sink.
Turn off your faucet, and look for leaks in the tap and handles. If you still see a leak, go back and reassemble the faucet. You may also have a workout part that you missed that needs replacing.
If you begin the process and discover you have a washerless model, do not stress out. There are ways to fix this as well.
Head back to the hardware store, and pick up a replacement part kit for a washerless faucet model. This kit will come with instructions that walk you through the process.
Fix Faucet Leaks For Good
In the end, if all of this feels like too much, then call a professional plumber to fix your faucet leaks. Remember that a plumber has the training, experience, and tools to handle just about any leak.
Are you looking for a great plumber in the Salt Lake City area? If so, contact us. We have earned the reputation as the go-to local plumber in the greater Salt Lake City area.
We serve clients in Sandy, West Jordan, South Jordan, and Riverton, UT as well. Give us a call today, and let us help you with all your plumbing needs.