A leaky faucet not only wastes water in your house – it's also very annoying and a bad look for any guests! If the constant dripping is becoming too much, it's time to look for a permanent fix. But what's causing that dripping in the first place? Let's take a look at the most common causes of the problem, and what solutions will make everything right again.
A Fault O-Ring
The O-ring is a little disk (typically rubber) on the inside of the faucet that holds the handle in place, essentially creating an important little seal there that prevents water from flowing. But over time, the O-ring can grow loose or get worn out, which means the faucet will start dripping uncontrollably. Replacing the O-ring is a simple project that can fix this issue. Because the O-ring is usually the first part of your faucet to stop working, this is a good place to start on older faucets. Leaks from this problem often occur around faucet handles, depending on the model.
Corroded Valve Seat
If the spout is constantly leaking, then you could have a corroded valve seat. The valve seat connects the spout to the rest of the faucet and keeps water from naturally pouring into the spout. Over time, the seat can wear out, creating a leak. This may be particularly common in areas with hard water that contains extra minerals. Replacing the valve seat will fix this problem, but it's typically a job for a professional unless you have plumbing experience.
Worn Out Washer
The washer's job is to make sure the valve seat is properly sealed when in use, directing water and keeping pressure high. But if the washer wears out and is no longer able to help the valve seat, then the faucet can start leaking, especially immediately after it's used. The washer is a simple component that's usually easy to replace. Sometimes new faucets can experience this problem because of a washer that's not installed correctly.
Worn Out Cartridge
Cartridge faucets work with a single handle that's adjusted up and down for water flow and back and forth to control temperature. When the "cartridge" that controls this process wears it, it will also cause leaks from the faucet spot, as the cartridge itself acts like a valve to control water. Replacing the cartridge will help fix this problem, but this is also a good time to consider replacing the entire faucet assembly.
Water Pressure Problems
This isn't as common, but sometimes water pressure problems throughout the house can cause leaky faucets. This occurs because of water pressures that are getting backed up and is rerouting water to places it shouldn't go. This can place extra pressure – literally – on faucets and force them to leak a little. A professional should take a look at your plumbing system to find out what is causing pressure issues.
If your leaky faucet is driving you crazy and you aren't sure what to do about it, give Amanda Plumbing a call! We'll provide a professional inspection and let you know what you should do next.