How to Fix Dripping Faucets
With so many different styles available on the market, it’s easy to spend a lot of time choosing your perfect faucet. Once you’ve bought it, the last thing you want is for it to start leaking. Dripping faucets can cost you unnecessary added expenditures on your water bills and will become irritating very quickly.
While experts recommend that you have your plumbing systems professionally checked on a yearly basis, it is possible to attempt to fix some minor problems yourself at home. This guide will explain step by step how to repair a dripping faucet. If this doesn’t work, then it’s probably time to call in the experts.
Understanding Your Plumbing System
There are four different types of faucets that you may have in your home: the compression type, which is equipped with a washer, the cartridge or sleeve style, the ceramic disc and the ball type.
The washer in the compression faucet serves to seal the valve, while an O-ring serves this function in the other three types of faucets. As a dripping or leaking faucet is a relatively minor problem in most cases, any kind can usually be fixed using the same methods.
Preparing Your Faucet
The first step is to switch off the water supply at the mains and turn off the hot water supply from your water heater tank. This will enable you to work on the dripping faucet without any fear of an accident occurring that may result in flooding your home.
You will need to be equipped with a wrench and flat head screwdriver, as well as replacement washers if you have a compression faucet, as this may help to fix the problem.
The next thing you should do is to remove the decorative top from your faucet or tap, as this will allow you to perform any minor alterations that will stop it from dripping in the future. Use your flat head screwdriver to loosen and remove the internal screw that is attached the decorative handle top.
Identifying the Problem
From here you should be able to untwist the stem of the faucet and remove it, which will allow you to examine it for any damage, corrosion or wear and tear. If you can identify any issues, this could be the cause of your dripping faucet. The stem is easy to replace, with suitable parts available in your local hardware store. Make it easier to find the correct parts that you will need to purchase by taking the old, damaged stem with you, as you will be able to seek the assistance of one of the employees who will show you exactly where the necessary elements are located.
In many cases, it is the washer or O-ring that can be causing the problem. The seat of the washer is located just underneath the stem. Removing and replacing these parts could remedy the problem. It is important that you make sure the replacement washer or O-ring you use – depending on the type of faucet installed in your home – is the correct size. Once you have removed the washer, you can use it to determine the size of the new elements you need to buy by taking it to the store with you, or you can invest in a multi-pack of different sized washers or O-rings. These packs cost only slightly more and can be useful if you are unsure of the size you need.
Testing the Faucet
You can now reassemble your faucet, in the reverse order that you dismantled it. Test your tap to check if it is still dripping over the next few hours, as simply cleaning the internal elements and replacing some older parts may have remedied the problem. If you find that your faucet continues to drip over time, it may be best to call in a professional plumber to investigate further.