Faucets that leak or drip can waste gallons of water — and money. Usually, the problem is caused by a worn O-ring, a loose washer or a corroded valve seat.
Shut off the water and plug the sink drain. Remove the faucet handle by loosening the set screw with a flat-head screwdriver or Allen wrench (sometimes using penetrating oil may help). Set aside the handle and any decorative parts. For professional help, contact Plumbers Sarasota now!
Often, a leaky faucet is caused by worn out parts, such as rubber washers or O-rings, or by corrosion in the valve seat or cartridge. These problems may result in a steady drip or even a continuous stream of water coming from the spout. It’s a good idea to inspect and replace these parts as needed to prevent the leaks from getting worse. Regular maintenance should also include routine inspections of all parts of your faucets to make sure they are tight and sealed properly.
Start by shutting off the water supply to the faucet and draining the water in the pipes leading to it. Then, using a flathead screwdriver or other suitable tool, remove the decorative cap from each handle knob. This will expose the screw that mounts it to the stem. If the handle is seized or stuck, you may need to use penetrating oil to loosen it. Once the screw is removed, the handle should come off easily.
The next step is to remove the escutcheon cap or bonnet. This is a piece of rounded metal that covers the disk cylinder and may have a screw or hex set screw under it. If the screws or hex set screw are stuck or corroded, you can try using a wrench or hex key to loosen them. Once the escutcheon cap is removed, you should be able to unscrew and remove the disc cylinder. If the cylinder is damaged, you will need to replace it.
The next step is to reassemble the faucet. It’s a good idea to keep track of the order in which you remove the pieces so that you can put them back together in the correct sequence. If you are unsure of how to do this, consult the manual for your specific faucet or ask a plumber for assistance. Once the faucet is reassembled, turn on the water to see if the leak has stopped. If not, you will need to repeat the process or call a plumber for further assistance. A plumber can check the spout and valve seat for damage, clean or worn out parts and make recommendations on how to fix the problem.
Cleaning the Faucet
Before you can fix the leaky faucet, you’ll need to clean the components and remove any mineral deposits. Get a small bin for your disassembled parts and set out all of the cleaning implements you’ll need. Prepare a solution of equal parts water and vinegar to clean the pieces, and be sure to note what goes where so you can put it back together correctly. Use a soft cloth or sponge soaked in the vinegar solution to remove any grime and stubborn build-up. You can also use a toothbrush to reach into the nooks and crannies. Be careful not to dislodge any retaining clips, as you may need to re-attach them later.
After you’ve cleaned each of the individual components, you’ll need to rinse them off thoroughly to remove any remaining vinegar or soap solution. Once the components are dry, you can apply a light coat of lubricant to make sure everything fits snugly and smoothly when you’re ready to reassemble your faucet.
Some areas of the world have hard water that can leave behind stubborn deposits on your faucets. In addition to cleaning the components, you should consider investing in a limescale remover to keep your faucets looking their best.
One of the most common causes of low water pressure on your faucet is a clogged aerator. The aerator is usually a small cylinder on the end of the faucet’s spout, and it can be unscrewed by hand. If it’s stuck, you can try using pliers, but be careful not to damage the aerator or faucet handle. If the aerator is too clogged to loosen with pliers, you can use a needle or straight pin to clear out any small clogs.
You can also remove the aerator and soak it in vinegar to clean it. Once it’s cleaned, you should be able to reattach it by twisting it clockwise. Keeping your faucets regularly cleaned can help you avoid the need for costly repairs. You should try to clean these and other heavily touched surfaces in your home at least once every two weeks.
Replacing the Faucet Parts
When a faucet has a leak, it’s time to start replacing the old parts. It’s usually cheaper and easier to replace the entire faucet than just a single part. Most homeowners can repair a simple faucet, but some people might prefer to hire a plumber for complex plumbing jobs like removing and installing a new faucet. A licensed plumber typically charges $150 or more per hour. A general handyman might cost less, but the job may take longer if the job requires rerouting or reworking the pipes under the sink.
The first step in repairing a leaky faucet is shutting off the water supply, usually under the sink. Then, open up the cabinet and remove the handle by unscrewing it from the faucet body. Set the screw and handle aside. The valve stem assembly might be under a decorative cap, which you can remove with a flat-head screwdriver or the edge of a utility knife. Once the cap is off, grip the hex head with pliers and turn counterclockwise to remove the assembly.
A leaking cartridge is another common faucet problem. The cartridge is a small plastic or ceramic disc that sits on top of the valve stem. When the handles are closed, they push the disc down and compress it to stop the flow of water through the valve. When the cartridge is damaged, it can’t do its job and a leak occurs. Cartridges come in a variety of styles, so be sure to buy the right one for your faucet when shopping.
There is a small washer at the bottom of the cartridge called the seat washer that’s responsible for keeping the cartridge in place when the handles are closed. It’s often the first part that fails, so look for it in the drain when you’re removing the cartridge and replace it if necessary. Also, note the orientation of the cartridge so you can reinstall it in the same way.
A worn O-ring is often the cause of a leak at the base of the valve stem. If this is the case, you can either replace it or clean it with a utility knife and distilled white vinegar. Once the O-ring is removed, you can remove the valve stem and the adjusting nut and replace them if necessary. Make sure the new adjusting nut is tight and that the nut is the right size for your faucet by comparing it to an original or buying a replacement from a hardware store. Once the new components are in place, you can put the faucet handle and escutcheon back on.
Putting the Faucet Back Together
Once you have cleaned and replaced the aerator parts and reassembled the faucet, it’s time to turn the water back on and check for leaks. It’s a good idea to have a clean cloth nearby to lay the aerator parts on, or at least put them in a tub of white vinegar, in the order you took them apart, so they don’t get mixed up. If you have a hard time getting the aerator to come off, try using a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers to hold it firmly and crank it in a clockwise direction. Be careful not to use too much pressure, or you could damage the aerator or twist it off completely.
The aerator on a faucet is used to shape the flow of water and reduce the amount of splashing from the spout. This part often gets clogged with mineral deposits, so it should be cleaned regularly to keep the water flowing smoothly. If you have a lot of deposits, it may be easier to soak the aerator parts in vinegar overnight, instead of trying to clean them by hand. After soaking, rinse them and dry them thoroughly before putting them back in place.
Reassembling a faucet may seem like an overwhelming task, but it isn’t as complicated as it looks at first glance. If you take your time and carefully place the parts in the proper order, you’ll be able to put your faucet back together in no time at all.
Even though repairing and replacing faucet washers isn’t a guaranteed fix for your sink, it is an important step in preventing other problems down the road. If your sink continues to drip after you replace the washers, it might be time to consider a new cartridge or a different type of faucet altogether. Just be sure to research the various types and manufacturers, as each has its own unique design that needs to be taken into consideration when making a decision. This way, you’ll be able to find the perfect replacement for your faucet and be confident that it will work properly.