Have you ever turned a faucet off in your home and you notice that it keeps dripping? You turn the faucet handle a bit tighter, but the dripping continues. That is the point where many people just walk away and quickly forget about it until the next time they use it. However, it’s not always so easy to forget about leaky faucets. Sometimes it’s near the room where you sleep, and the slow, steady rhythm of the drip can do an amazingly efficient job at keeping you awake at night, thinking about your water bill and what it will be as long as you’re needlessly sending wasted water down the sink.
It doesn’t seem like slow-leaking Phoenix faucets would produce much water-loss in Arizona, but constant leaking, even if it’s one drop every second, will waste up to 2,000 gallons per year. Not only is that an extra expense, just look at the water that is being wasted! This is a needless waste, because the drippy faucet is such an obvious problem. Sometimes all it requires for a faucet repair is to replace a rubber washer. Other repairs may be a little trickier, and you may need our help. Whatever the case, though, it’s important to get it taken care of and stop the flow. This is one of the most common plumbing repairs that goes overlooked. Fixing a leaking faucet should be high on ones priority list before it begins to add up. Whether the leaky fixture is outdoors or inside your home, take it seriously.
What Makes a Leaky Faucet Drip?
There are two types of commonly used faucets in today’s homes; a “compression” faucet and a “washer less” Phoenix faucet. When approaching these two types of leaky faucets or fixtures, consider their differences.
The compression faucet uses a rubber washer that is set into a circular receptacle to create a watertight seal. These washers don’t last forever, and eventually they begin to harden or crack, allowing the passage of water through them. It can be as easy as removing the faucet handle and assembly, replacing the washer, and putting things back together again. However, “easy” is a rather ambiguous term, depending on your plumbing experience.
Washer-less Phoenix faucets have a series of close-fitting metal parts that make contact and seal off the water flow. There are metal discs with holes in them, and when they align hole to hole, the water flows. When they are rotated, the holes are separated and the water flow stops. If any of these parts wear down, or if the openings are misaligned, they can begin to leak.
Do it Myself or Call a Pro?
Whatever style of faucet you have can be difficult to work on if you are not familiar with the mechanics of it’s inner workings. A leaky faucet can sometimes be more difficult to fix than one may think. There are as many as twelve moving parts in a faucet, each with the potential to cause a leak. It’s imperative to know what each of these parts do, and how they can contribute to a leaking problem. To replace any of these parts requires that you inspect them thoroughly, as well as the parts around the faucet. It does not require a whole lot of special tools, but it does require a working knowledge of what goes where and how to put it all back together.
While we always encourage our customers to fix what they can, we also know that plumbing repairs can require expertise to get things back in order, and because it’s what we do, we can do it quickly and efficiently.
How to Fix a Leaking Sink: Before You Begin
In order to know how to fix a leaking sink, you need to know the severity of the leak. There are a few important steps that homeowners should take to asses the severity of the leak and make sure that everything is in place before they begin to take the sink apart for repairs.
- Examine the faucet to determine where the leak is coming from. A drip from the spout and a leak from the base of the water spout require 2 separate repair methods.
- Turn off the water supply to the sink. Most shut off valves are located under the sink. Once the water is turned off, open the sink valve to relieve any built up pressure. Cover the sink drain with a rag or strainer baskets to catch any small parts that may drop.
- Set parts aside in the order that you remove them, so as not to confuse pieces. Loosen mineral deposits with the help of white wine vinegar and a soft scouring pad.
Determine Faucet Type
There are four main types of faucets that may be used in your home: compression, ceramic disk, cartridge (sleeve) and ball type.
This type of faucet uses rubber washers, that can wear out over time, to seal the valve. Most compression faucets that have sprung a leak need new seat washers to get back in working order.
Take off the decorative cap on the handle and remove the handle screw. Use a crescent wrench to unscrew the packing nut and the stem. Remove and replace seat washer, which is held in place by a brass screw. Coat washers with plumber’s grease. Remove stem from packing nut and replace O-ring. Reassemble unit.
Diagnosing the source of a leak for this faucet can be tricky. Save some time and simply purchase a replacement kit and put in all new parts for a simple repair.
Remove handle and use adjustable pliers to remove cap and collar. Using the tool provided in your kit, loosen the faucet cam, cam washer and rotating ball, lifting them out. Remove inlet seals and springs with needle nose pliers. Cut off O-rings and coat replacements in plumber’s grease before rolling them on. Install new valve seats, springs and cam washers. Reassemble unit.
Remove handle and use needle nose pliers to remove threaded retaining clip that holds the cartridge in place, pulling cartridge straight out. Remove spout and cut off O-rings with a utility knife. Coat new O-rings in plumber’s grease and reassemble unit.
If entire cartridge must be replaced, be sure to match the length of your cartridge to the length of the replacement. It is also important to match the stem end where the handle attaches, before beginning repairs.
Remove handle and escutcheon cap. Next, unscrew disk cylinder mounting screws and slowly lift out cylinder. Use a blunt screwdriver to lift out neoprene seals from cylinder and replace as needed. Use white vinegar and soft scouring pad to clean cylinder openings. Rinse thoroughly and replace seals. Reassemble unit. Take extra care to turn faucet on slowly as the returning water can damage the ceramic disk.
Say Goodbye to Leaky Faucets
Regular plumbing care and maintenance is always important and with a few simple DIY steps, you can easily take care of minor plumbing issues yourself. Keep up to date with routine maintenance visits and try your hand at tackling the small stuff like clogged drains and leaky faucets on your own. And remember, if you are unable to determine the exact source of a leak, don’t hesitate to turn to the experts for help.