Your faucets are among your home’s most important fixtures because they give you access to clean hot and cold water. But when things go wrong with a faucet, expenses can rack up quickly. A single leaky faucet dripping once every two seconds can cause you to waste two gallons of water a day — and that can add up on your water bill.
Not to mention, faucet problems can drive you a little batty — if it’s not the sound of constant dripping, it could be low water pressure, misting, noises, a leaky handle or a hard-to-turn handle. Fortunately, many faucet problems are easy for even the most casual DIY-er to fix. Let’s take a look at some of the most common faucet problems, and how to fix them.
Constant dripping is one of the most common, and most easily fixed, faucet problems. Usually, the cause of a leaky faucet is a bad O-ring or washer, or both. You should be able to disassemble the faucet yourself to fix this.
Before you start any DIY repairs to your faucet, make sure to turn off the hot and cold water using the knobs under the sink. Pry off any decorative portions of the handle knobs with a flathead screwdriver. Then you should be able to remove the screw that holds the faucet handle to the stem. Use a penetrating oil like WD-40 if necessary to loosen the faucet handle. Now you should be able to pop or twist the stem off the handle.
Check the faucet stem and other removed parts for corrosion or damage. Replace the washer and O-ring inside the valve seat, and then put everything back together again. Turn the water back on and check for leaks. If your faucet is still leaking after replacing the O-rings and washers, you should try lubricating the O-ring with a silicon-based lubricant. Make sure you’re using the right size O-rings and washers. If your faucet still leaks you may need to contact a Denver plumbing service for faucet repair.
Water hammer occurs when water slams against the inside of your pipes, due to excess hydraulic pressure caused by sudden valve closures. You can install air chambers or water hammer aerators to reduce water hammer and the resultant damage it can cause to plumbing pipes and joints. If you’ve already installed air chambers or aerators, you may need to reduce your home’s water pressure. Most modern homes have a water pressure reduction valve installed where the water supply enters the home, so you can lower the water pressure by adjusting this valve.
A faucet handle that has become hard to turn may be clogged with debris or mineral sediment. Disassemble the handle and examine it for build-up or damage. You may need to replace the cartridge within the handle or lubricate it with a silicon-based lubricant.
A halo of mist that emanates from your faucet’s flow is usually the result of a faulty aerator. It may simply be loose or clogged. Otherwise, you may need to replace the aerator washer or, if it’s damaged, replace the aerator itself.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure from a faucet is usually the result of a clog in the diverter valve, which is located inside the body of the faucet. A clogged aerator can also be the culprit. If you’ve tried cleaning the diverter and aerator, but the problem persists, you may need to replace one or both of these components.
A leaky faucet handle can be the result of a faulty O-ring in the handle mechanism or a loose packing nut. Try tightening the packing nut first, and if that doesn’t work, replace the O-rings. Make sure you’re using the right size O-ring and lubricate it with a silicone lubricant before installation.
A faucet that isn’t working right can be a real pain. You need your faucet to work properly, and that includes operating without leaks, hammering or other issues. Fortunately, most homeowners find that faucet problems are easy enough to fix with a little know-how and elbow grease — and when they’re not, you can always call in a professional.
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