Whether you own your own home, or rent a house or an apartment, there are certain things that you’re going to need to take care of. These are generally small situations that don’t quite justify hiring a professional. Simple repairs, such as fixing a shelf or replacing a door frame often fall under this heading.
Minor plumbing problems also tend to fall under this heading. Things like a clogged toilet or a clogged sink are the sort of thing that you can take care of on your own, and so calling a plumber might be a little bit too much. However, there are a few things that are just on the edge. They may be simple, but you’ve got no idea how to do them. You’re fairly certain you can take care of the problem, but you’re not entirely certain. Fixing a leaky water faucet is exactly this type of situation. It always seems as though fixing a leaky water faucet should be a simple, easy to do thing. Yet so many people have no idea how to do so.
The first thing you need to do is identify what kind of faucet you actually have. There are four kinds of faucets; a compression faucet, a ball faucet, a cartridge faucet, and a ceramic-disc faucet. Compression faucets are the most common for bathroom sinks, and can be identified by the fact that they have two handles or knobs to work the water. The other three tend to be used for kitchen sinks, and in order to determine what kind of faucet it is, you’ll have to actually take it apart. This is because the last three all work on a single handle, but use a different internal mechanism at the very base of the arm.
No matter what kind of faucet you have, you’ll start by turning off the water and plugging the sink drain. Turning off the water is obvious, plugging the drain is because you don’t want to accidentally drop any parts down the drain.
For a compression faucet, you remove the handle by unscrewing the screw at the top. If you can’t find a screw at the top, try prying off any kind of decorative plate (such as one reading H or C). Once removed, you’ll need a wrench to remove the nut. Upon pulling free the nut, you can pull away the O Ring, which is a metal ring that sits on top of a rubber washer. Nine times out of ten, the degradation of this washer is what’s causing the leak. Rubber degrades over time, so don’t worry about whether or not you did something wrong in order to make the leak happen. Likely, your washer is simply old.
From there, you simply pull out the stem, remove the old washer, and replace it with a new washer. You’ll need to be careful with each piece, since they’re all quite small and easy to drop or lose. That’s why you made sure to plug the drain. You did make sure to plug the drain, right? Nothing will ruin your day faster than losing a piece down the drain!
Fixing a leaky water faucet isn’t exactly difficult, but you do have to be careful. If you have a different kind of faucet, one of the other three listed, the steps are roughly the same. Take the faucet apart, try replacing the washer. If that doesn’t work, you may have to call a professional. However, chances are that replacing the old washer with a newer one will fix your leak, and save you a great deal of money in the process.