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How to Fix Leaky Faucets

How to Fix Leaky Faucets

July 20, 2022

Leaky faucet in Norcross

At some point in the life of every Georgia homeowner, one or all of their faucets are going to leak. Some faucets were simply not installed properly, while others that spring leaks have simply succumbed to the ravages of time and the stresses that come from water delivered under pressure. Leaky faucets can be repaired, but our plumbers at Bardi also know that each type of faucet needs to be repaired in a somewhat different way.

Different Faucets

There are several types of faucets.

  • Compression
  • Cartridge
  • Disk
  • Ball

Compression faucets work on the basis of a rubber washer that compresses into a valve seat when you want to turn the faucet off. You would raise the faucet up from the valve seat to turn the faucet on. They are most often found in older homes and, unfortunately, they are the most likely to break. This is because of the washer, which simply starts to break down after years and years of use. Compression faucets have two handles, one for hot water and one for cold.

Cartridge faucets can have one or two handles for hot and cold water, but unlike compression faucets, they have a stem cartridge that controls the flow of water. If the faucet has one handle, the cartridge controls the water by moving up or down. If the faucet has two handles, the cartridge shuts off the flow of water much like a compression faucet but with less force.

New homes are often fitted with disk faucets. These faucets have one handle over a cartridge shaped like a cylinder. Inside the cylinder, two ceramic disks control the flow of water. One is stationary, and the other moves to turn the water on or off. These newer faucets don’t need repairing as often as older types.

The rotating ball faucet is notable for not having a washer, though it does have O-rings. It has one handle and a cap shaped like a ball above the spout. The spout has another ball beneath it that controls both the temperature and flow of water. Though the ball faucet is more modern than the compression faucet, they both share a tendency to need repair more than other kinds of faucets.

Here are some ways to fix leaky faucets. The one thing to remember with all of them is to turn off the water at the source before work begins.

Repairing a Compression Faucet

The important parts of a cartridge faucet are its handle, packing nut and washer, another washer, stem threads, stem seat and the mounting nut. First, use a screwdriver to take the escutcheon off the handle, then pull the handle up and out. Use a wrench or pliers to take out the packing nut, then unscrew the stem and remove it. The washer sits at the bottom of the stem, and it should be replaced along with the O-ring, which is somewhat north of it. Clean the valve stem with steel wool. If the valve seat needs to be smoothed out, use a valve seating tool to remove it then use a vacuum to remove any debris. Before putting the faucet back together, wind fresh packing around its stem, then reinstall the packing nut, the handle and the escutcheon.

Repairing a Cartridge Faucet

The parts of a cartridge faucet are the cap, the handle, the spout, the retaining clip, the cartridge and the body of the faucet. When this faucet starts to leak, replace either the O rings if it has any or the cartridge itself. Cartridge faucets have a retainer clip that needs to be removed. In some faucets the handle needs to be removed, while in other faucets the spout itself has to be removed. Some retaining clips can be seen at the junction between the base and the handle, while other faucets have two clips near the handle.

First, use a screwdriver to take off the cap, then pull out the screw in the handle beneath it. Take off both the handle and the spout. Pull the retaining clip out with needle-nose pliers, then pull out the cartridge. Replace the O-rings, and then reassemble.

Repairing a Disk Faucet

The disks in these kinds of faucets don’t tend to wear out because they’re made of ceramic, but the slots in them can become clogged with limescale. If the faucet leaks from its base, there’s a problem with the inlet seals. Even if only one of these seals is impaired, replace all of them anyway.

First, take off the decorative cap, then take off the screw and the handle. Unscrew the screws that are holding the cartridge, and pull it out. If the cartridge is in really bad shape, the entire thing can be replaced. Check the inlet seals, then make sure to remove dirt or limescale between the disks. Replace the assembly. If the faucet has two handles, take one of the handles apart. There should be a rubber diaphragm at the bottom of the stem, Replace it if it’s worn out. Our plumbers at Bardi have entire kits that can replace the components of these faucets.

Repairing a Ball Faucet

Ball faucets are usually reliable and can go for years without needing repair. When they do start to leak, it is most often a problem with the seats and the springs. If it’s leaking around the handle, it’s a problem with the O-rings. By the way, the difference between a washer and an O-ring is that an O ring is round and is made out of softer material such as rubber. A washer is usually but not always made of metal, such as aluminum, copper or steel, and it may have a square or rectangular center.

Rotating ball faucets also have repair kits, but each make and model has its own kit. Our plumbers can help with this. These faucets have a single handle and a set screw. Beneath the handle is a cap, the spout, a cam, the seal and a ball.

Ball faucets can have fixed or swiveling spouts. If it’s fixed, remove the handle and the cap beneath it. Then take out the cam, the ball and the stem, and replace the worn-out O-rings. Take off the seals and springs with needle-nose pliers, and replace them if necessary. If the spout swivels, take off the spout as well as the handle and the cap. Then, check the ball for corrosion, and replace it if it needs to be replaced. After this, simply replace the parts in reverse order. If the faucet has a swiveling spout, push the spout down until there’s a click. You may need to use some elbow grease to do this.

Call Bardi Plumbing for Leaky Faucets

Even though most faucets are relatively easy to fix if they’re leaking, fixing them is still time-consuming and may be frustrating if you don’t get it exactly right the first time. Our plumbers have years of experience not only fixing leaky faucets but other kinds of plumbing problems. We also have the parts and can let you know if your faucet has seen better days and needs to just be replaced altogether. For more information, don’t hesitate to call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Norcross.