The best way to fix a leaky faucet…call in an expert.
Seriously, because you can add it to your “honey-do” list, or your own To Do list for the week, but unless you are willing to schedule an extra hour of your day, or weekend, to both learn how to fix a leaky faucet, and actually fix the leaky faucet, it’s best to call C. Slany Plumbing.
Step 1 – The Tools
The first step to any DIY plumbing issue as a Gilbert, Arizona homeowner is to have the right tools and fixture pieces to actually stop the leak.
• Adjustable wrench; C wrench
• Phillips and/or flat-head screwdriver
• Penetrating oil, such as WD-40 or CRC
• Replacement washers and O-rings
If you don’t have any of these tools, or if you need to purchase replacement washers or O-rings, you’ll need to make a run down to Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware. Be sure to talk to a customer service rep just to be sure you’re purchasing the right products and tools.
Step 2 – The Diagnosis
There are four kinds of faucets: compression, cartridge (sleeve), ceramic disk, and ball type.
A compression faucet relies on rubber washers to seal the valve seat. Rubber washers wear out and must be replaced occasionally. The other types, often called washerless faucets, last longer but they too can develop leaks. When these cartridge, ceramic-disk or ball-type faucets leak, you can either replace the O-ring or neoprene seal that’s causing the leak or replace the entire assembly.
Step 3 – Shut off the Water
Don’t forget to shut off the water! This is an often forgotten step for those DIY’ers, but an important one.
The last thing that you want is a flood in the bathroom, or kitchen, that all started with a small leak.
Step 4 – Disassembly
Remove any decorative parts of the handle knobs. A simple prying with a flat-head screwdriver will take care of that. Underneath each knob, there will be a screw that mounts the handle to the stem. Unscrew, then gently remove the handle with your flat-head. Using penetrating oil can assist in loosening it, allowing you to take the faucet handle off the stem.
Step 5 – Fix the Leak
Use your wrench to loosen the packing nut. From there you should notice the stem. Remove that as well. Depending on the faucet, some stems pop right off, while others twist off from the valve. Check the removed parts for any damage.
Remove the O-ring and washer inside of the valve seat. Hopefully the faucet leak can be fixed as easily as replacing this O-ring and washer.
You’re at the point now where another trip to the hardware store might be necessary. By removing the O-ring and washer and comparing it to what you recently purchased, you will be able to determine if you got the right ones or not…
Hopefully you have the correct sizes and can simply replace the O-ring and washer and stop the leak…hopefully.
Keep in mind that one of our C. Slany Plumbers will have the correct O-ring and washer and can have this leak taken care of in no time at all…
If you do need to make another run to the hardware store to fix your leaky faucet, don’t forget to bring the O-ring and washer to show the hardware reps. They’ll be able to help you find the right size to match.
Step 6 – Reassemble
The final step in the process is to put everything back together and turn the water on to see if, indeed, all you needed was a O-ring and washer replacement.
If, after all of your hard work, you notice the faucet is still dripping, then the cause may be corrosion in your valve seat. If not cleaned over time, it can produce leaks near the spout. Other potential problems are worn-out seals, loose parts, or, even worse, broken plumbing.
If your troubleshooting leads to these areas, or if other sudden complications occur, then it may be time to call a professional plumber.