A single leaking faucet that lets out five drips per minute can already waste 173 gallons of water a year.
That doesn’t seem a lot, but to the 1.2 billion people who lack access to potable water, that’s like an oasis.
Besides, all that waste — which could actually be up to 10,000 gallons per home each year — translates to wasted money. These are all good enough reasons to address plumbing leaks ASAP.
The question now is, is faucet repair better than a replacement? Is it more cost-effective or would it make more sense to install new faucets?
We’ll answer all those questions in this post, so be sure to read on!
A leaking faucet is still repairable if the problem is only a worn-out seal (or washer) or a loose part like a nut or screw. The difficulty level of the repair depends on the type of faucet you have though.
The easiest to repair is a compression faucet, which has two water handles (one for hot, one for cold). Old O-rings (which act as a seal) is often the cause of leaks in compression faucets. In this case, you only have to replace the seal, although you need to disassemble the faucet first.
Ball, cartridge, and ceramic-disk faucets have more parts, so they can be harder to fix. Fixing a ball faucet, for instance, often requires a replacement faucet cam assembly. Whereas ceramic disks are fragile and can break if incorrectly handled.
Leaks, however, may also signal that an internal part of the faucet broke. In this case, you may also be hearing clicking or clanking noises whenever you run water from that faucet. A piece of metal may have broken off and is bumping against other parts.
Take those sounds (and leaks) as a sign that you need a new faucet installation. The sooner you get a replacement, the sooner you can stop wasting water.
Low Water Pressure
Faucets with aerators or sprayers are prone to low water pressure issues due to dirt build-up. If this is the first time you’ve experienced the problem, then you may only need to clean the nozzle.
Scrub the holes with an old toothbrush to dislodge debris or sediment build-up. For more stubborn clogs, soak the nozzle in some baking soda or vinegar mixed with water for half an hour. Then, try running the faucet again to see if this improves the water pressure.
If this doesn’t do the trick, there’s likely a clog somewhere else in the faucet that blocks the water flow. This may again be a broken piece of internal faucet part that’s limiting the water pressure. It could be worse though since low water pressure could also be a sign of clogged plumbing pipes.
At this point, it’s time to call a plumber to take a look at your faucet. They’ll also help you determine if you have a clogged, damaged, or leaking water supply line.
When Faucet Repair Is No Longer a Cost-Effective Solution
Faucet repairs are okay for relatively new taps or for those that broke down for the first time. In the following situations though, you may already need a faucet replacement.
Too Old or Worn-Out
Faucets could last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, but that still depends on how you use them. How often you use them, how exactly you turn the handles, and how hard your water is can all affect their life span. More frequent (and harsh) use can chip away at your faucets’ life expectancy.
Too Much Scaling
Hard water contains calcium carbonate (CaCO3) concentrations of 120 to 180 mg/l. Although this is rarely a health concern, it can still damage plumbing systems. Over time, the high mineral content of such water can form scales inside pipes and water fixtures.
Salt Lake City, unfortunately, has hard water, with its CaCO3 content averaging 177 mg/l. If you don’t have a water softener, the mineral build-up can cut the life of your faucets and plumbing pipes. If there’s too much scaling inside your faucets, internal corrosion is also likely.
You can learn how to install a faucet, but this won’t solve the scaling problem. It’s best to call a Salt Lake City plumber to replace your faucet and also get rid of scaling in your plumbing pipes.
Visible and Extensive Faucet Damages
Replacement is the more practical choice for rusty, cracked, or chipped faucets. If the outside is already in bad condition, then the inside is even more likely to be in the same state. After all, it’s the inside of the faucet constantly exposed to water pressure.
Basic Part Replacements Don’t Resolve the Issue
If replacing parts like the O-rings don’t fix the issue, it makes more sense to replace the entire faucet. Your DIY repair likely didn’t work because of a much bigger problem, such as a damaged cartridge.
The Faulty Faucet Isn’t of Good Quality
Repairing a low-quality faucet is only likely to extend its life for a few months. You should spend your money instead on better quality faucets. Higher-end faucets usually come with a long warranty too.
The Faucet Has Had a Lot of Problems
It’s no doubt time for replacements if your faucets have broken down several times in a span of a few months.
You’re Planning a Renovation or Remodel
You should also consider getting new faucets if you’re about to renovate or remodel your home. This would add to your project costs, but new faucets can boost your home’s appeal and value. Especially those that have water- and energy-efficient features.
Besides, your old faucets may not go well or clash with your home’s new look.
Don’t Let Your Faulty Faucets Keep Wasting Water
There you have it, your ultimate guide on when a simple faucet repair is okay vs when it’s time for a replacement. If your faucet is too old or it always seems to act up, it’s time for a change. What’s important is to address those problems soon, especially all those leaky taps.
Need to get a malfunctioning faucet looked at and possibly replaced? Perhaps you’re not sure if it’s only the faucet or if it’s a bigger issue with your plumbing system.
Either way, we here at Stallion Plumbing and Drains can come to your rescue! Send us a message or ring us up so you can schedule your plumbing service ASAP.