Four Reasons Why Your Faucet is Leaking, and How to Fix It

You don’t want to leave a broken faucet for long — the drips will be a constant reminder. Here’s our tips for how to fix a leaky faucet.

Leaking faucets can be a nightmare. Not only does the constant dripping get annoying, but you’ll end up with higher water bills, too. We’ve outlined four common problems for a leaky faucet below, to help you figure out the cause. Then, read on for the steps to fix it on your own.

Common Leak Issues

  • Broken Parts: There are a few different parts within your faucet that can wear down over time and cause leakage, like the O-ring, cartridge, stem, or seal. Broken parts will need to be replaced.
  • Loose Parts: Sometimes, these parts are just loose and not broken, and they’ll need a quick tightening to stop the leak.
  • Sediment Buildup: Particularly if you live somewhere with hard water, sediment can build up over time and corrode the parts. Corroded parts can be cleaned off, but if left for too long, they’ll need to be replaced, too.
  • Water Pressure: If you only notice the sink leaking at certain times, it could be a water pressure problem — too strong a flow can damage pipes over time. These issues can be difficult to fix on your own without experience, so a plumber might be your best friend here.

Turn Off the Water

When you’re ready to start, begin by shutting off the water valve, otherwise you could cause a flood. There should be a shutoff valve somewhere below your sink, but if you don’t see one, shut off the main water supply to your home. Test that it’s shut off by turning on the faucet — no water should flow through.

Disassemble the Handle

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your sink to remove the handles. You’ll likely need to use a screwdriver to remove a screw cap, then again to loosen the handle. Then, you should be able to pull it off freely.

Inspect the Parts Underneath

Take a look around inside at all the parts mentioned above — the cartridge or stem itself may have been the issue, but other parts you should inspect are the O-rings, washers, and seals. If any of the parts are damaged, they’ll need to be replaced, but they could just need to be cleaned if there’s sediment or tightened if they’re loose. If you suspect water pressure might be the cause, check for cracks in the pipes.

Replace and Reassemble

If you notice a damaged part, remove it from the faucet, but make sure that you keep it: bringing it to the hardware store with you will help ensure you can find the proper part to replace it with. Ask an employee to help you find it if you aren’t sure. Faucets come in a few different varieties, like cartridge faucets, disc faucets, or ball faucets, so if you don’t know how to reinstall the new part, read any manufacturer’s instructions you have and look up your sink online to learn the process. Once done, turn the shutoff valve back on, and test that the leak stopped, and water flows smoothly.

Still Having Trouble?

We hope that this guide helps you out, but if you’ve inspected all the parts and can’t figure out the cause, or if water pressure is your issue, there’s no shame in calling a plumber for some help. Sure, it can be a bit pricey, but in the long run leaking faucets can leave a dent in your wallet if not properly dealt with, too.

Photo credit: ArtSvetlana/Shutterstock

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