A dripping faucet is not only annoying — it’s a waste of a precious resource. Did you know that a constantly dripping faucet can waste up to 3 gallons of water a day? That’s nearly 90 gallons a month. Yikes! Here in Mohave County, most of us do all we can to conserve water, not waste it. So, whether it’s your kitchen faucet or bathroom sink faucet that’s leaking, we have some easy-to-follow tips on how to fix a leaky faucet. (A leaking tub faucet is a little more complicated, because of access issues). In this article, we’re strictly addressing leaky faucets that are dripping from the spout area. If your faucet is leaking at the base, we addressed that in another recent article.
How to Fix a Dripping Faucet
First off, if you’re comfortable taking apart a faucet and putting it back together with new parts, keep reading. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, call a plumber to fix a dripping faucet. If you want to stop the dripping until the plumber can get there, you can turn off the water supply to that faucet.
If you are attempting to fix a leaky faucet yourself, you will need to figure out what type of faucet you are dealing with. There are four main kinds of faucets: compression, cartridge, ceramic disk, and ball type. You may not know what type of faucet you have until you take it apart. You may be able to find out by searching for your make and model of faucet. Many manufacturers have diagrams and troubleshooting tips on their websites specifically tailored to their faucets. Most sites also have a series of questions for you to answer if you don’t know the make and model.
Tools You Will Need to Fix a Leaky Faucet
Assemble the tools you will need, as well as an old towel to mop up any drips.
- An Allen wrench
- Screwdrivers (both flathead and Phillips)
- Adjustable wrench
- Needle nose pliers
Before you begin the repair job, shut off the water supply valves under the sink. These will be silver knobs, or blue and red knobs. Also, you will want to put a stopper or rag in the sink drain so you don’t lose any small parts down the drain. Lay out a paper towel on the counter so you can lay out parts on it as you take the faucet apart.
Replacing the Washers in a Compression Faucet
One of the most common causes of a dripping faucet is a worn-out washer. Every time you use the faucet, the washer is forced against the valve seat. This repeated friction can cause the washer to wear out. You can easily fix a dripping faucet where the dripping is caused by worn-out rubber washers by simply replacing the washer. This type of leak is common with compression faucets.
Compression faucets are faucets with two handles — one for hot, and one for cold. Here are the steps:
- Remove the handles.
- Remove the nut. Underneath, you’ll see the stem, which sits on the O-ring, which sits on the rubber washer.
- Remove the stem.
- Remove the washer, which is held in place by an upside down brass screw.
- Replace the washer. (unless you already know the part number and size of the washer, you may need to pause here to run to the hardware store. Take the old washers with you so you know what part you need.)
- Reassemble the handles.
- Turn on the water supply.
- Turn on the faucet.
- If there’s no more dripping, you fixed it. If it sprays all over the place, start over or call a plumber.
Fixing Single Handle Faucets
The three other types of faucets we mentioned, ball, cartridge, and ceramic disk, all have different fixes to stop the dripping. It’s a little involved to go into all three types and their associated methods of repair, so your best bet is to go to the manufacturer’s website for specifics on that particular faucet.
If you get stuck, or it all seems just a bit too complicated, call a local plumber to handle the job. You may also want to consider signing up for a plumbing maintenance plan, which can help fix plumbing problems when they’re still small issues.
Call Plumbing By Jake for Faucet Repair, Faucet Installation & More
Call Plumbing By Jake at 928-377-5910 for faucet repair, faucet installation and all of your plumbing needs. Looking for an emergency plumber? No problem. We’re available 24/7 to handle any plumbing emergency. We serve both residential and commercial clients in Kingman, Bullhead City, Golden Valley, Lake Havasu, and surrounding areas of Arizona.