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Follow These Steps When Fixing a Leaky Faucet

fixing a leaky faucetDripping, leaking faucets are annoying, and will raise your water bill.  If not repaired quickly, they can cause expensive water damage as well.  Of course, you can always call a plumbing professional.  But fixing a leaky faucet can be a fairly easy job, even for a beginner.  Following these steps can help you get the job done right.

  • The first step in fixing a leaky faucet is to identify where the leak is coming from.  The most common spot for a faucet to leak is from under the handle or handles.   You could also have a leak from the aerator or from the base of the spout.  If your sink has a sprayer, you could see a leak there as well.
  • Get your tools.  You will need a Phillips and/or a flat head screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and pliers.  Some WD-40 or a like product may be useful to loosen stuck parts, as is plumber’s grease for putting everything back together.
  • Turn the faucet off and shut off water to the sink.  If the sink doesn’t have a separate shut off valve, you will have to use the main one.  Close the drain and cover it with a rag to make sure you don’t lose any parts down the drain.  Make sure you have a place nearby to put the parts once you start removing them.
  • If you know the faucet manufacturer, you might want to check their website.  Some of them have very good diagrams of all the parts you should see and may also provide part numbers and information about where to obtain replacement parts.  This isn’t completely necessary, it just might be helpful.  Certainly, fixing a leaky faucet can be completed without going to a website.  The parts are generally available inexpensively at any hardware store.
  • Unscrew the handle or handles and remove them.   The screw is usually located either on the top or back of the handles.  Sometimes there is a decorative cover.  Remove that with a flathead screwdriver first.
  • Loosen the nut that holds all the valve parts together and remove it. 
  • Remove the stem and valve parts.  Pliers may be helpful here.  Note how the parts fit together and try to keep them in order.
  • Check for broken or worn parts.  The most common causes of leaks are the rubber or plastic parts.  These washers, seals and O-rings wear out.  If those parts appear worn, hard, cracked, or no longer pliable, replace them.  Sometimes the wear won’t be obvious.  It doesn’t take much to start a leak.  For leaks coming from the aerator or spout, check the seals the valves or ball are seated on or the O-rings between the spout and base.  The aerator itself can also be removed and the seal inside replaced or you can replace the entire aerator.  If your sprayer is leaking, you will likely have to replace the entire hose and sprayer assembly, since many cannot be taken apart.
  • Replace the necessary parts.  Your replacement parts need to match exactly, otherwise your faucet will continue to leak.  It is a good idea to take any part you need to replace with you to the hardware store.
  • Reassemble the faucet. 
  • Turn the water back on. 
  • Test your repair.

If you are still having problems, find corrosion in the valve seat, have broken or cracked plumbing, or encounter any other complications, it’s time to call a professional.  At ExpressRooter Plumbers, fixing a leaky faucet or any other plumbing problem you might have is our specialty!  Contact us to schedule an appointment and let us solve your plumbing problems today!

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