Professional Plumbing Tips

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How to Repair Leaky Faucets

Dripping faucets waste both water and money. If left unrepaired, drips can stain some sink basins, and the sound of a leak can be a constant annoyance. Leaky faucet repair is easy and inexpensive, but you'll need to know a few things before getting started.

leaky bathroom sink faucet

What Type of Faucet Do You Have?

  • Compression Faucets: In older homes, compression faucets are a common source of leaks. These faucets have a separate knob or handle for the hot and cold water and the handle must be turned tightly to shut it off.
  • Cartridge Faucets: These faucets are newer and more reliable than compression faucets. They also have different handles for the hot and cold water, but they turn very easily and shut off without much resistance. They are less likely to leak but can be more expensive.
  • Ball Faucets: Ball faucets have a single knob or handle for both hot and cold water. These faucets can be less reliable than ceramic disc faucets.
  • Ceramic Disc Faucets: These faucets look similar to ball faucets but have a very wide base and are found in newer or updated kitchens and baths. Ceramic disc faucets are less likely to leak than ball faucets but do tend to be more expensive.

The main causes of a leaky faucet are normal wear and over tightening. Don’t pull too hard on levers or twist knobs too far. Being gentle with handles will help extend the life of your faucet.

Fixing a Dripping Faucet

After you identify the type of fixture, turn the faucet handles on and shut off the water supply using the valve under your sink. Whatever type of faucet you have, removing the handle, or handles, is the first step to locating and fixing the problem. Many compression faucets have a plastic cover on top that pops out easily with a small flat-head screwdriver. Ball faucets often have a removable handle that you can pry off with little force. Remove the old washers, O-rings, or cartridges and replace with new ones. Kits are also available at local hardware stores, especially for cartridge models.

For more information about upgrading your home’s faucets, or to leave the repairs to a professional, contact us today!

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