If your sink sounds like this, you’re wasting water and money. You might not think those small drips amount to anything, but you’re wrong. The United States Geological Survey Department website offers a tool to help you estimate the amount of water wasted by your leaky faucet.
Start by counting how many drops of water come out of your faucet in one minute. Let’s say you count four drips in one minute. Doesn’t seem like a lot, right? However, those four drops per minute add up to about one liter of water per day, and about 140 gallons per year, according to the USGA website.
Furthermore, think of how much extra money you’ll pay on your water bill. It could tack on hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars per year. Wouldn’t you rather use that money for something else?
A leaky faucet is a pretty easy fix that doesn’t cost a lot of money. In fact, most manufacturers sell kits so you can repair your own faucet. For just a few bucks, all the parts and tools you need to do the job come in the kit.
Before you get into repairing your faucet, we have a few tips to make the process easier. First, make sure you turn off the water to the sink you’re repairing. If not, you’ll have a small geyser or flood on your hands. Cover the drain opening with a rag; this prevents parts from disappearing down the drain. Also, keep a bowl nearby to store the removed parts, keeping them safe and in one spot.
Fixing a Compression Faucet
A compression faucet has two handles, one on each side of the spout. Plumbing experts note that generally the rubber washers – called seat washers – wear out, causing most leaks.
Start by taking off the caps on top of the handles, exposing the screw underneath. After removing this screw, you should be able to pull the handle off. Next, remove the packing nut, holding the stem in place. Unscrew the exposed stem, which will have the seat washer at the bottom. Pull the rubber washer off and put the new one on. Plumbers add to coat the new washer with plumber’s grease to help the seat washer last longer.
Reassemble the faucet, making sure to tightly screw down each nut. Turn the water back on, and you’re all set!
Fixing a Ball-Type Faucet
A ball-type faucet usually has a single handle on or near the spout. Like the compression faucet, the cause of the leak is usually a worn-out seat washer.
Start by removing the handle. It’s held on by a screw located in the front, and it’s either exposed, or possibly covered, by a temperature indicator sticker that shows which side is hot and cold. Next, using an adjustable wrench, unscrew the cap covering the internal components. This exposes what plumbers call the cam and cam washer, which you’ll also need to take off with your adjustable wrench. Once you remove the cam parts, you can take out the ball.
You’ll see two small openings containing the rubber seat washers. Take them out with needle nose pliers, and replace the old washers with the new ones. Reassemble the faucet and that’s it.
Fixing a Ceramic-Disk Faucet
Ceramic-disk faucets have a whole unit controlling water flow inside the faucet, which makes repairs pretty easy. Remove the handle and cap (follow the same directions as the ball-type faucet above), exposing the entire cartridge. You can clean the individual parts of the cartridge, or you can spend a few bucks and just replace the whole thing. Replacing the entire cartridge now will save you time later
If you have a leaky faucet, try fixing it yourself. You don’t need a ton of special tools or plumbing skills. You’ll save a ton of money by fixing it yourself. Plus, you can brag about it to your friends. So stop wasting water and money, and get that leaky faucet fixed!
Have you fixed a dripping faucet before? Do you have any tips for first timers? Share them below!