How to Fix That Leaky Faucet
The steady drip of a leaky faucet is more than a nuisance, it’s a costly waste of water — a single drip per minute can waste 34 gallons in a year’s time. Fixing a leaky faucet isn’t a difficult chore, and it can help trim your water bill and end the annoyance. Just gather together a few basic tools — a flathead screwdriver, penetrating oil, vinegar and a bucket — and follow these steps:
- Turn off the water supply to the fixture, either by the valve beneath the fixture or at your home’s main shutoff. Then, place the bucket underneath the sink to catch any spills.
- Depending on the type of faucet, it may have separate hot and cold handles or a single lever. Use the flathead screwdriver to remove the cap, then unscrew each handle and remove it. You can use a spray of penetrating oil to loosen a stuck handle if necessary.
- Turn each handle stem toward the “on” position and remove it. Soak the stems in vinegar for about 15 minutes and use a wire brush to clean off any dirt. Then, disassemble the faucet’s remaining inner workings.
- Inspect the removed parts for wear and damage, paying special attention to the most common causes of leaks. If you’re fixing a compression faucet, that’s the stems, O-rings and washers. If it’s a washerless faucet, it’s the seals, O-rings as well as the cartridge if there is one. Take any defective parts with you to the hardware store and make sure you buy identical replacements.
- Put the new parts in place and carefully reassemble the faucet. Make sure that everything is tight and secure, and that the handles are in the “off” position, then turn on the water supply to the fixture.
- If the faucet still leaks, it’s time to call a professional plumber for help.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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