A leaking faucet may seem like a small issue, but left untreated it could turn into a costly problem. There are many reasons why your faucet may be leaking. The bottom line is a leaking faucet left untreated can cost you, the homeowner, in water waste and higher water bills. A knowledgeable homeowner might be able to fix minor leaks, but often times a licensed plumber will be needed to ensure the job is done right. Let’s take a look at some reasons why your faucet might be leaking.
Worn or improperly installed rubber washers
This is the most common reason for leaking found in compression faucets. Over time the constant pressure from the valve seat, being pushed against the washer with each use of the faucet, will cause it to wear down. You may have noticed dripping or a wet spot around the spout. Replace the washer as soon as you notice the problem. Likewise, if the washer was not installed properly you may notice a leak soon after installation. This can also happen if the washer is the incorrect size. If you are hesitant to repair any of these, call a plumber to ensure the leak is fixed.
Loose parts in the stem screw
A cartridge faucet, unlike a compression faucet, is not designed with a washer. If you have noticed water leaking from the faucet handle, there may be a worn out O ring. The faucet handle is held in place by the stem screw. The O ring attaches to the stem screw to prevent water escaping. After much use the O ring may loosen allowing water to leak out. Other parts associated with the stem screw include packing nuts and adjusting rings. These may also wear out and become loose over time, causing water to leak from the faucet handle. Tightening the nuts may solve the problem, but if that doesn’t work the faucet may need to be replaced. Many homeowners can handle these simple fixes. If the repairs are beyond your knowledge call a plumber.
Corrosion to the valve seat
The valve seat connects the spout and the faucet. Often, water sediments accumulate and will corrode the valve seat. When this happens you may observe water leaking from the spout. To combat this problem you will need a plumber to clean the sediment from the valve seat. Regular cleaning of the valve seat will help control any future leakage.
Corrosion to the seals
Water sediment can also corrode the inlet and outlet seals from a cartridge faucet causing them to wear out. Inlet and outlet seals insure proper functioning of your faucet. When they wear out, leaking occurs. A plumber can clean the sediment from the seals or you can replace them altogether.
If everything else in your cartridge faucet seems to be in working order, the cartridge itself may need replacing. You may be able to replace this if you have carefully measured the cartridge to guarantee an exact fit. If possible return to the original store where the faucet was purchased to ensure a perfect match. Otherwise, call a plumber to repair the cartridge and prevent future leaks.
Although rare, broken plumbing may be the cause of your leaks. You may notice leaking or loss of water pressure. Small cracks in the pipes may be the problem. Be sure to inspect all of the other potential causes first. If the leaking persists, call an experienced plumber to inspect your water pipes.