leaky faucet

Have you spotted a persistent puddle beneath your bathroom sink, gradually leaving an unsightly stain on your wooden floors, or is the persistent drip-drip of your kitchen faucets keeping you awake?

If you nodded ‘yes’ to either question, then you’ve encountered the universal problem of a leaking faucet. Fortunately, you don’t always need to be an expert plumber or fancy tools to fix this problem.

With some patience, a few common household items and some replacement parts, you’ll be able to silence that maddening, dripping kitchen or bathroom faucet in no time.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Then keep reading! 

Your Faucet’s Most Important Parts

Addressing a dripping tap is a lot like treating a patient in medicine—it’s essential to understand the makeup and purpose of the parts involved. So before you dive wrench-first into repairs, let’s deconstruct your faucet. It’s not as complex as it might seem at first glance. 

Your faucet, whether in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry, typically has three key components responsible for its function:

  • Faucet handle: The handle is what you grip to control water flow.
  • Valve stem: The stem is a rod inside the faucet body that rotates the stem and can either block the passage of water when turned one way, or allow it to flow freely when turned another.
  • Seat washer: Sandwiched between the stem and the water line, the seat washer is crucial in maintaining a water-tight seal when the faucet is closed.

What Causes a Leaky Faucet?

You’re likely here because you need to fix your leaking faucet. The constant dripping, the unsightly puddle, the annoying sound – it’s enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure.

But wait. Before you call your plumber hastily, wouldn’t you like to understand why your faucet may be leaking? Better yet, wouldn’t you like to learn how to tame the waters yourself with just the tools lying around the house?

  • Rubber seals become inefficient from wear and tear.
  • The valve seat corrodes or gathers a mineral buildup.
  • The O Ring, which holds the faucet handle in place, can loosen and wear out over time.
  • The rubber washer isn’t exactly the right fit.
  • Improper initial installation.

Now that you know why your ball, compression faucets, and ceramic disc faucets might leak, you’re one step closer to stopping that annoying drip.

What You Need to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Let’s start by rummaging through that ever-reliable toolbox of yours. The tools to look for are often found in your household and should include the following:

  • Spanner: For loosening and tightening a packing or retainer nut.
  • Flathead screwdriver: Will assist in removing a decorative or escutcheon cap or handle screw that might be in the way. 
  • Needle nose pliers: Helpful for dealing with those hard-to-reach areas or removing stubborn parts.
  • A utility knife or an old toothbrush could be your secret weapon for cleaning off any stubborn grime or deposits that have built up over time. 
  • Plumber’s Grease: To lubricate the faucet and prevent corrosion of the valve stem.

Repairing a faucet is not a high-tech operation. The task can be tackled with your ordinary, everyday tools. So, take a breather and get ready. Soon, you’ll be dabbling in a bit of DIY plumbing.

Step-by-Step: Fix A Dripping Faucet with Confidence

You’ve understood the reasons behind your dripping water supply from your faucet. You’ve acquainted yourself with its basic parts and their roles. And you’ve gathered your set of common household tools.

Now, it’s time to repair your leaky cartridge faucet; by the time you’re done, you’ll feel like a seasoned DIY plumber! 

Step 1

Firstly, it’s important to shut off your water supply. Look under your sink for the water shutoff valves and turn them clockwise. If you’ve got a double-handle faucet, you’ll see two valves. For a single-handle faucet, you’ll have one. 

Step 2

Once the water’s off, you’ll want to open the faucet to let any residual water out. It’s a small step but an important one. 

Step 3

Next, it’s time to remove the faucet handles, but don’t worry, this isn’t as daunting as it sounds! Look for a tiny handle screw. This is usually hidden beneath a decorative cap that you can pry off with a small screwdriver. In case you’re dealing with a single handle, remove it by loosening the screw at the base.

Step 4 

With the handle or handles off, you’ll see a nut that holds the valve stem in place. Using an Allen wrench or pliers, carefully turn this anticlockwise to loosen it up. 

Beneath it, you’ll find the stem, which presses against the washer to control the water flow. If your faucet has been dripping, the rubber washers might need replacing. 

Step 5

Remove the washer and take it to your local hardware store to ensure you get the right replacement. Once you have your new washer, you can reverse the disassembly process and turn your water supply back on.

Congratulations, you’ve just tackled a common household issue like a pro! But remember, if you’re still facing leaks or if your faucet setup is more complicated, it might be time to call in a professional who fully understands a faucet body and how to fix plumbing leaks relating to it, and that’s okay too. 

Signs that Your Faucet Needs Expert Attention

Alright, you’ve been patient, focused, and equipped with the right tools— all while following our step-by-step guide. But sometimes, despite your best DIY efforts, those pesky drips may still continue. So, let’s decipher when you need to call for professional attention. 

When might you need to put down your tools and pick up your phone to call an expert? Here are the red flags: 

  • Constant Dripping: If after faucet repair, it continues to leak constantly, it’s time to consult a professional.
  • Changes in Water Pressure: A sudden drop or rise in your faucet’s water pressure could mean a complicated plumbing issue that requires the keen eye of a professional.
  • Noisy Faucet: If leaky faucets make strange sounds that weren’t present before, it’s an indication that something is going awry, warranting a professional evaluation.
  • Water Discolouration: Any sign of rusty or brown water suggests a problem with your plumbing that goes beyond a simple way to fix a faucet spout. Get professional help immediately.

Key Takeaways

  • Always turn off the water supply before starting.
  • Slow and steady wins the race — don’t rush the disassembly process.
  • The cause of your water leak is likely a worn-out washer — replace this for a quick fix.
  • If your faucet is trickier than expected, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

Remember, it was your dedication to your home that led you to try to fix a leaky faucet on your own.

Don’t feel defeated if you need to seek extra help; it’s the mark of a conscientious homeowner. Hanging onto your DIY spirit, let’s use it to find the right professional help with the plumbers at Woden Valley Plumbing & Gasfitting.