Simple Fixes for Leaky Faucets

Leaking Faucet? Call Aaron Plumbing John's Creek

The sound of a leaky faucet can be surprisingly powerful, creating an oddly rhythmic backdrop that’s equal parts annoying and hypnotic. With each drop, there’s a persistent reminder that something isn’t quite right. The repetition might seem harmless, but beneath its rhythmic pattern lies the potential for larger problems.

Dripping faucets are a common household issue that can quickly escalate if ignored. What begins as a slight annoyance can turn into a waste of water, a spike in utility bills, and even damage to your home. The fact is that a tiny drip can waste a surprisingly large amount of water over time.

We will look at different types of faucets to help you understand leaks better. Whether it’s a compression faucet, a cartridge faucet, a ball faucet, or a ceramic disc faucet, each type has unique components and common leak points. These differences are important for diagnosing and fixing the problem.

You should regularly maintain your plumbing and repair leaks right away to avoid potential structural damage to your home, prevent costly water-related repairs, and preserve water, one of the Earth’s most valuable resources.

Types of Faucets and How They Leak

There are several different types of faucets used in homes today. They have unique components and mechanisms that can develop leaks over time. Let’s look at how these faucets work and what can go wrong.


Compression Faucets

Compression faucets are among the oldest types. They operate by compressing a washer to block water flow. When a leak occurs, it’s often because the rubber washer has worn out or become dislodged. Fixing this involves replacing the washer or the entire stem.


Ball Faucets

Ball faucets are commonly found in kitchens. They have a single handle that controls a plastic or metal ball inside the faucet body, regulating water temperature and flow. Leaks in ball faucets can stem from worn-out O-rings, seals, or the ball itself. Repair kits with replacement parts are typically available for this type of faucet.


Disc Faucets

Disc faucets, identifiable by their cylindrical shape and single lever, use ceramic discs to control water flow. Leaks usually happen when the ceramic discs wear out or when the rubber seals around them fail. This type of faucet is more durable but can still develop issues over time.


Cartridge Faucets

Cartridge faucets, whether single or double-handled, use a movable cartridge to control water flow. When leaks occur, it’s often due to worn-out or damaged cartridges, which need replacing. In some cases, the rubber O-rings or seals around the cartridge might be the culprit.


Touchless Faucets

Touchless faucets, while convenient and hygienic, can experience leaks due to several reasons. One common cause is the deterioration of internal components such as the solenoid valve or sensor mechanism. If the solenoid valve fails to close properly after use, it can result in continuous water flow or drips. Similarly, if the sensor mechanism becomes faulty or obstructed, it may not accurately detect hand movements, leading to unintended water activation. Additionally, like any faucet, wear and tear on seals and gaskets over time can also contribute to leaks. Regular maintenance and occasional replacement of these components can help prevent leaks in touchless faucets.


Touch-Activated Faucets

Touch-activated faucets rely on sensor technology to initiate water flow with a simple touch. However, leaks can occur if the sensor or electronic components malfunction. If the sensor fails to detect touches accurately or if there’s a glitch in the electronic circuitry, it may result in intermittent or continuous water flow. Additionally, like traditional faucets, leaks can also occur due to wear and tear on seals, O-rings, or the cartridge mechanism if present. Regular inspection and replacement of worn-out components are essential to prevent leaks in touch-activated faucets.

Common Causes of Leaks

Leaks can come from various points of failure within the faucet’s components and plumbing system. Here’s a list of the most common causes:

  • Worn-out Parts: Inside your faucet are essential components like washers, O-rings, and seals. These parts can deteriorate over time due to regular use. For instance, in compression faucets, rubber or plastic washers can wear out, leading to leaks when they fail to create a tight seal against the valve seat. O-rings, situated between moving components, may crack or degrade, allowing water to escape. Similarly, seals around cartridges or discs can weaken, compromising their ability to contain water effectively.
  • Corrosion: Metal parts within your faucet are susceptible to corrosion, particularly if exposed to water for extended periods. Rust can develop on components such as screws, nuts, or valve seats, weakening their integrity and creating pathways for water to leak. Additionally, minerals present in water can accumulate on internal faucet surfaces, leading to corrosion and degradation of seals. This mineral buildup not only affects the performance of the faucet but also contributes to leaks over time.
  • Loose or Damaged Components: Proper installation and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the longevity of your faucet. Loose faucet handles can prevent internal valves from closing properly, resulting in persistent leaks. Furthermore, physical damage to the faucet body, such as cracks or fractures, can compromise its ability to contain water effectively, leading to leaks.
  • Water Pressure Issues: High water pressure can exert excessive force on faucet components, causing them to wear out more quickly and increasing the likelihood of leaks. Additionally, water hammer, a phenomenon caused by sudden changes in water flow, can damage faucet internals over time, resulting in leaks. Monitoring and regulating water pressure in your plumbing system can help mitigate these issues and prolong the lifespan of your faucets.

Regular inspection, maintenance, and timely repairs can help prevent leaks and preserve the integrity of your faucets for years to come.

Tools and Supplies Needed for Repairs

Essential Tools for Faucet Repairs:

  • Adjustable wrench: Useful for loosening and tightening nuts and bolts.
  • Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers: Needed for removing screws and accessing internal components.
  • Allen wrench set: Often required for removing handle setscrews.
  • Adjustable pliers: Handy for gripping and turning various components.
  • Basin wrench: Specifically designed for tightening or loosening nuts in tight spaces under the sink.
  • Pipe wrench: Useful for securing pipes while working on the faucet.

Replacement Parts for Various Faucet Types:

  • Washers, O-rings, and seals: Commonly needed for compression faucets and other types where these parts degrade over time.
  • Cartridges, discs, or balls: Necessary for repairing cartridge, disc, or ball faucets when internal components wear out.
  • New handles or handle assemblies: Required if existing handles are damaged or need replacement.

Plumbing Tape and Sealants:

  • Teflon tape (PTFE tape): Used to seal threaded connections and prevent leaks.
  • Pipe thread sealant (pipe dope): Provides an additional layer of protection for threaded connections.

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Rag or towel: For wiping away excess water and cleaning up after repairs.
  • Mild detergent or cleaner: Useful for cleaning faucet surfaces and removing built-up grime or mineral deposits.

Having these tools and supplies readily available will ensure that you’re prepared to tackle common faucet repairs efficiently. It’s always a good idea to check your inventory before starting any repair job to avoid interruptions or delays.

Repairing Specific Faucet Types

Compression Faucet Repairs

Compression faucets are among the oldest types and are prone to leaks caused by worn-out washers or damaged valve seats. Here’s how to tackle common repair tasks for compression faucets:

  1. Replacing Washers: Over time, the rubber washers in compression faucets can deteriorate, leading to leaks.
  2. Fixing Valve Seats: If your compression faucet continues to leak even after replacing the washers, the valve seat might be the culprit.

Learn how to replace them effectively with this detailed guide from Fix It 24/7: How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Leaking Compression Faucet.

Cartridge Faucet Repairs

Cartridge faucets are known for their durability, but they can still develop issues over time. Here’s how to address common problems with cartridge faucets:

  1. Replacing Cartridge: When leaks occur in cartridge faucets, replacing the cartridge is often the solution. Follow this guide from HomeDepot for detailed instructions: How to Repair a Cartridge Faucet.
  2. Fixing Handles: Loose or malfunctioning handles can also be a common issue with cartridge faucets. Learn how to fix them with guidance from The Spruce: How to Repair a Single-Handle Cartridge Faucet.

Ball Faucet Repairs

Ball faucets are commonly found in kitchens and can develop leaks due to worn-out balls or damaged seals. Here’s how to address these issues:

  • Replacing Balls: If your ball faucet is leaking, it may be time to replace the ball assembly.
  • Fixing Seals: Leaks around the handle or spout of a ball faucet can often be traced back to damaged seals.

Learn how to fix ball valve faucets with a helpful guide from HomeDepot: How to Repair a Ball Faucet.

Ceramic Disc Faucet Repairs

Introduction: Ceramic disc faucets are known for their reliability, but they can still experience issues such as leaks or cartridge problems. Here’s how to troubleshoot and repair them:

  1. Replacing Ceramic Discs: When leaks occur in ceramic disc faucets, replacing the ceramic discs is typically necessary.
  2. Fixing Cartridges: Malfunctioning cartridges can also cause leaks in ceramic disc faucets.

Check out this step-by-step guide for Dummies: How to Fix a Leaky Faucet: Ceramic Disk Type.

General Repairs:

Introduction: In addition to specific faucet types, there are general repairs that apply to all faucets. Here’s how to tackle common issues:

  1. Fixing Leaks Around Spouts: Leaks around the spout are a common problem in all faucet types.
  2. Tightening Loose Components: Over time, faucet components can become loose, leading to leaks or reduced functionality.

Preventive Maintenance Guide for Faucets

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your faucets in optimal condition and preventing costly leaks or repairs down the line. Here’s a step-by-step guide to proactive faucet maintenance:

  1. Regular Inspection and Cleaning:
    • Periodically inspect your faucets for signs of leaks, corrosion, or mineral buildup. Check for dripping faucets, loose handles, or any visible damage.
    • Clean faucet surfaces regularly with a mild detergent or cleaner to remove dirt, grime, and mineral deposits. Pay attention to aerators and spouts, where buildup is common.
  2. Checking Water Pressure:
    • Monitor water pressure in your plumbing system regularly. Excessive water pressure can strain faucet components, leading to leaks or damage.
    • Use a pressure gauge to measure water pressure at various faucets in your home. The ideal range is typically between 40 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi).
  3. Using Water Softeners to Prevent Mineral Buildup:
    • Install a water softener if your water supply is hard or has high mineral content. Hard water can cause mineral deposits to accumulate in faucets, leading to corrosion and reduced functionality.
    • Water softeners work by removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water, preventing buildup and prolonging the lifespan of your faucets.
  4. Regularly Replacing Parts Prone to Wear:
    • Identify and replace parts that are prone to wear and tear, such as washers, O-rings, and seals, before they fail. These components are essential for maintaining a watertight seal and preventing leaks.
    • Follow manufacturer recommendations for replacement intervals or inspect these parts annually to ensure they are in good condition.

Maintenance will prolong the lifespan of your faucets, minimize the risk of leaks, and ensure optimal performance for years to come.

Complex Faucet Issues and Professional Expertise

While many faucet problems can be resolved with DIY solutions, some issues demand the expertise of a professional plumber. These less common challenges often require specialized knowledge and equipment to diagnose and fix effectively.

One such issue is a sudden drop in water pressure. If your faucet’s flow weakens unexpectedly, it could indicate a hidden blockage or a more significant problem within your plumbing system. A professional plumber can perform a thorough inspection to identify the root cause and restore optimal water pressure.

Another less common problem is a persistent foul odor emanating from your faucet. This could be a sign of bacteria or mold growth within the pipes, which can compromise water quality and pose health risks. A professional plumber can assess the situation, recommend appropriate remediation measures, and ensure your water remains clean and safe for use.

Mysterious noises coming from your faucet, such as rattling or humming sounds, could indicate underlying issues with the water supply lines or valves. These noises may signal potential leaks, blockages, or pressure irregularities that require professional attention to prevent further damage to your plumbing system.

Aaron Services: Plumbing, Heating, Cooling offers reliable expertise in diagnosing and resolving uncommon faucet issues. With our skilled technicians and commitment to customer satisfaction, we can address even the most challenging problems with efficiency and precision.

When faced with less common faucet issues that defy DIY remedies, don’t hesitate to contact a dependable plumber. By entrusting your plumbing concerns to experts like Aaron Services, you can expect a swift and effective resolution, restoring your faucet’s functionality and peace of mind. Schedule a service today and take the proactive step toward maintaining a healthy and efficient plumbing system.