Troubleshooting a leaky faucet makes sense when you consider the alternative: A single faucet that drips once per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water in a year. Multiple dripping faucets in a home represent substantial expense literally going down the drain. Faucets come in several varieties today. The traditional “change the washer” remedy doesn’t apply in all cases anymore, but troubleshooting a leaky faucet can at least help separate the do-it-yourself projects from those that require a professional plumber.
Conventional Compression Faucet
These models have independent rotating hot and cold handles. The standard fix is to turn off water to the faucet at the shutoff valve below, then follow these steps:
- Take off the handle and remove the packing nut.
- Unscrew the valve stem out of the faucet body. Examine the valve seat inside the faucet body. If the metal is rough or ragged, the new washer will deteriorate rapidly. This calls for a qualified plumber with the right tools to resurface the seat.
- If the seat appears intact, remove the screw securing the worn washer to the bottom of the valve stem and replace with a new washer.
- Replace the stem, tighten the packing nut and install the handle.
- Turn on the shutoff valve to restore water to the faucet and test.
Single Lever Disk Faucets
The handle moves an internal ceramic disk that mixes hot and cold water flow into the central faucet. Dripping may be remedied by removal of the internal ceramic disk cartridge and replacing the three neoprene seals on the underside, typically available as a kit. If installing new seals fails, you’ll need to replace the entire disk cartridge.
These complex faucets don’t respond well to partial DIY repairs. A plumber may eliminate leakage by installing a full replacement kit. However, replacement of the entire faucet may be more cost-effective in some cases.
For more help troubleshooting a leaky faucet or professional service to repair it, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about leaky faucets and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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