Your Leaky Faucet is Money Down the Drain.Posted on
There is nothing quite as irksome to homeowners as a leaky faucet. Maybe it’s the sneaking feeling that, even when you not looking, it’s leaking. It’s leaking when you’re at work, out to dinner, at a movie and yes, even while you’re sleeping. It’s leaking. That unrelenting leak is wasting a lot of water and sending your money down the drain, one drop at a time. If that wasn’t bad enough, let this soak in: these leaks typically get worse over time.
The good news is that, in many cases, these sneaky leaks can be stopped with just a few tools and a little DIY knowledge. We’ll do our best, here, to get you started on your way to a drip-free faucet, a little peace of mind and, perhaps, a few more dollars in your pocket.
What Type of Faucet Do You Have?
As the adage says, “It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s inside that counts.” This holds true for faucets as well. Although they may look similar in outward appearance, the internal mechanisms used in faucets to control water flow varies across four widely used types. The types of faucets most oftentimes used in residential applications are Compression, Disc, Ball and Cartridge. The Disc, Ball and Cartridge faucets are known as “washerless,” while the Compression faucet uses rubber washers to control the water flow.
We thought we’d start with the most likely suspect. Compression faucets have been around since the beginning of hot and cold running water. They are inexpensive to buy, widely used (especially in older homes) and notorious leakers. They use a rubber washer at the end of a compression stem that, when the handle is turned, opens and closes the water flow. Over time, these washers wear out and begin to allow water to flow around them, which results in a dripping faucet. Compression faucets will usually have a separate handle for hot and cold water (although separate handles do not always mean you have a compression faucet) and they work by twisting them to open and stop water flow. Most likely, you will only need a pair of channel-lock pliers and a phillips-head screwdriver to complete this job. Now, let’s get started on a fix for this faucet.
Turn Off the Water
The first thing you need to do is locate the shut-off valves for the hot and cold water. These valves are located directly under the sink and are usually oval shaped. By turning them, by hand, in a clockwise direction (righty tighty) you will interrupt the flow of water to your faucet ,at which point you can begin the repair.
Remove the Faucet Handle
The faucet handle is connected to the valve assembly by a screw that is usually concealed by a cover that can be pried off the top of the handle. Once the cover is removed, use your phillips-head screw driver to remove the screw and then pull firmly on the handle to remove it.
Remove the Valve Assembly Cover
With the handle removed, there may be a cover on the valve assembly that will need to be removed to gain access to the valve stem assembly.
Remove the Valve Stem Assembly
With the cover removed, there will be a hex nut visible, which holds the valve stem assembly in place. Using your channel-lock pliers (or wrench, if you have one) firmly grip the hex nut and turn it in a counter-clockwise direction (lefty loosey) until you can remove the entire assembly.
Remove and Replace the Old Washer
Located at the bottom of the valve stem assembly, you will find the rubber washer that will be held in place by a phillips-head screw. Loosen the screw to remove the washer and replace it with a rubber washer of the same size. Once done, tighten in place with the original screw.
Put it back Together and Turn the Water Back On
With the new washer in place, the only thing left to do is to reassemble the faucet and turn the water back on. Your dripping faucet should now be a thing of the past. Congratulations!
Keep in mind, this overview was intended as a fix for a compression faucet. If you’re not sure which type of faucet you have or if DIY isn’t for you, please call Roscoe Brown at 1-888-MYROSCOE.
And remember, damage could occur to the finish of the faucet during rebuild by persons not familiar with tearing down the faucet and putting it back together.