Think about how many water faucets are in your home. There are, of course, faucets in your kitchen and bathroom. Faucets in the laundry room, too, and maybe your basement, garage, plus outside faucets to help you conveniently care for your yard and wash the car. The only time we really seem to take note of our water source, however, is when there is something wrong with it. A faucet that leaks or drips isn’t normal and should be taken care of right away. Not only does the annoying sound of dripping water grate on nerves, left as is your leaking faucet can cause your water bill to skyrocket and could potentially cause significant damage.
The common reasons your faucet is leaking include corrosion, defective gaskets or o-rings or washers, and mineral deposits on internal parts. While this might sound intimidating, most leaky faucets can actually be properly repaired by the homeowner, assuming you have the right tools. Remember, if you’re not comfortable fixing a leaky faucet hire a professional to do it. Waiting is not a good option from a cost standpoint, since minor fixes can over time turn into bigger plumbing issues. Plus, no one benefits when water is wasted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that unfixed leaks cause nearly 10,000 gallons of water waste in a home annually enough to fill a swimming pool. So don’t ignore the problem – repair it!
In order to do a proper repair, find out why your faucet is dripping in the first place. Here are a few of the more common causes behind a leaky faucet.
- Corrosion: Faucet corrosion often occurs to the valve seat. This little connector is between the faucet and spout in the compression structure. That may sound a little confusing, but just know that this is an issue easily fixed by a professional plumber. The valve seat should be cleaned at regular intervals to avoid corrosion.
- O-ring: Ever wonder what holds the faucet handle in place? It’s actually a piece known as the stem screw, which has a small circular disc called an o-ring attached to it. This disc can simply become loose after so many uses or it can actually wear out with time. When this happens, your faucet could drip. By replacing the damaged o-ring, you can potentially fix the leak quickly.
- Washer: A worn out or improperly installed washer is usually the root cause of many leaking faucets. That’s because any time you use your faucet, the washer is forced up against the valve seat, causing friction. Sometimes the wrong size washer is used or the washer is not installed properly. You know you’re having problems with your washer when there is dripping near or around the spout. In any of these cases, simply replace with a new washer of the right size, and your leaky faucet will be a thing of the past!
- Broken plumbing: This isn’t often the cause of leaky faucets, but sometimes a broken pipe may be the reason behind the problem. Broken pipes can also interfere with overall water pressure. If you suspect you have cracked pipes or fittings, it’s time to call a plumber. An expert can check your pipes as well as offer you estimated costs for fixing the problem.
It’s important to understand what the cause behind your leaking faucet is before you attempt to repair it. Knowledge is power, and by making sure that you fix the correct part you’ll save yourself time, money, and headaches. If you’re in doubt, it might be best to call the plumbing professionals. That’s what they’re there for!