Does your kitchen faucet always drip? Does it annoy you? Isn’t it true that no matter how much cleaning you do, minerals always build up on the faucet and the sink? Learn how to fix a leaky faucet in your home with our easy DIY tutorial. Having a kitchen faucet that drips is not only annoying, but also increases your water bill.
Based on the US Geological Survey drip calculator, if a kitchen faucet has only one drip per minute, it will waste 0.3 gallons per day. It doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of the year you will waste 104 gallons of water.
What Are the Causes of a Dripping Kitchen Faucet?
There are many reasons why the faucet drips. The most common problems you can encounter when dealing with a leaky faucet are listed here.
Usually a damaged cartridge occurs with faucets with one or two handles over time. A faucet cartridge controls the flow of water between the supply lines and the spout. It is a sign of damaged cartridges when the spout drips continuously.
Worn Out Washers
A broken washer may cause frequent leaks. A washer is located at the valve seat. Through friction, the washers become worn down over time. This leads to leaks in the faucet. The most common mistake is when the washers are not installed correctly or the size is not right. This leads to dripping faucets.
Seat Valve Corrosion
The valve seat is the main link connecting the faucet spout to the compression mechanism. Minerals build up on the seat and cause corrosion. The spout area will show signs of leakage. This can be fixed by cleaning the seat valve.
You can find O rings inside the faucet. The rings look like small rubber washers. When the rings wear out or become loose, the faucet leaks. The easiest way to tell that an O Ring is broken is if the handle dribbles.
If your faucet leaks only at certain times of the day, it could be caused by high plumbing water pressure. This may happen during night time or when other fixtures in your home are not used. This means that your water pressure is too high, which can cause serious leakage and damage to your fixtures.
Damaged or Old Plumbing
Leaking faucets are most likely caused by cracked or lost fittings when the plumbing is old and rusty. If you discover a steady drip from the faucet or surrounding area, check under the sink for damaged plumbing or loose fittings.
Types of Faucets
There are different designs for faucets, both aesthetically and functionally. Knowing what type of faucet you have will help you disassemble all the parts, fix it, and put it back together.
Ball faucets are common in kitchen sinks, and they were the first to be built without a washer system. It is easily recognizable by the single handle that moves around a ball-shaped cap. A ball made of metal or plastic that moves inside the faucet is used in this type of faucet.
The ball is equipped with special gaps with O rings and rubber seals. By turning the handle, this ball allows the water to flow depending on the pressure and temperature selected.
There are many parts in a ball faucet that make it less reliable than cartridge or disk faucets. Leaks often occur in ball faucets when rubber seals fail.
This type of faucet is probably familiar to you if you aren’t too young. These types have been used in plumbing since the beginning of time. They may be found in old houses or even updated versions in the homes of those who are still attached to them. These fixtures are cheap, reliable and prone to leaks.
There are two types of handles on compression washer faucets: hot and cold. When the handle is tightened, the washer presses against the valve seat, stopping water flow. When the washer wears out, leaks occur.
The cartridge faucet was invented by Al Moens many years ago. It is found on the best Moen kitchen faucets. Even though cartridge faucets are more sophisticated and technologically advanced than early models, they still follow the same basic principle.
The cartridge is made up of a cylindrical body and a thick stem at the top. A strategically placed hole allows water to pass from water inlets to the spout when the handle is turned. In the long run, rubber gaskets on valve seats and O rings surrounding the cartridge might wear out. When this happens, dripping occurs.
Ceramic Disk Faucet
The ceramic disk faucet is the latest innovation in the plumbing industry. This device is simple to operate and highly efficient.
In general, there are two ceramic discs with holes through them. One is fixed, while the other moves along with the handle. When they’re aligned, water can flow freely. If the holes are not aligned, water cannot flow.
Ideally, a ceramic disk faucet will last a lifetime. However, it all depends on the faucet and the hardness of the water.
How to Fix Your Dripping Faucet
If you want to repair a leaky kitchen faucet, you do not need special skills, but you need to know what type of faucet you have. Each faucet type has a different design, different parts, and a particular repair procedure. In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to repair various types of faucets.
- Allen Wrench
- Silicone Grease
How to Fix a Dripping Ball Faucet?
1. Shut the water off
Look under the sink for the shut-off valves to turn off the water. These valves are usually located under the sink. Some people find that they have to locate the main valve to control water supply for their whole house if they cannot find the valves.
Once all the valves have been turned off, turn on the faucet to ensure that nothing is leaking.
2. Remove the Faucet’s Handle
On the faucet’s handle, there is a small cap that shows the water temperature or the company logo. The cap can be removed using a flat screwdriver. There is a screw underneath the handle that allows it to be tightened. With the screwdriver, remove the faucet top cap by loosening the screw.
3. Collar and Cap Removal
As soon as the handle is removed, you’ll see the collar and cap that hold the ball assembly in place. With a wrench and a piece of cloth or rubber, you can remove them without damaging the finish.
4. Pull-out the Cam
Remove the cam by unscrewing and lifting gently with pliers. It is shaped like a white plastic disk with a hole in the middle.
5. Lift Up the Ball Assembly
As soon as you remove the cap, you’ll see the ball assembly. In general, the ball is made of brass or plastic and has a lever attached to it and special holes through which water flows. Check the ball for signs of mineral build-up or wear. The ball should be replaced if it is damaged.
6. Seals and Springs Removal
You will find two rubber seals with special springs attached beneath the ball assembly. Remove the seals on the bottom of the faucet’s body with a small flat screwdriver.
7. Replace the Seals and Springs with New Ones
Make sure the inside of the ball faucet is free of minerals or damage before installing the new repair kit. To clean the faucet valve seat, you can use a special penetrant or vinegar.
Now that the new seals and springs are in place, you can install them again. It’s easy to do with a flat screwdriver or a pencil. Just make sure they’re positioned properly.
8. Install the New Ball and Cam
If a ball or cam is damaged, it can also be replaced. These devices are cheap and usually come with seals and springs all in one repairing kit. If not, put the ball assembly back together and be sure to align the ball holes with the seals.
9. Reassemble the Faucet
Once everything is correctly positioned, screw the cap on the faucet’s body, taking care not to overtighten. If the cap is too tight, the ball inside the faucet becomes stiff and leaks may occur.
10. Test the Faucet
Having reached this point, all you need to do is mount the handle. Once the handle is mounted, turn on the water supply and test the faucet.
If you use the wrench directly on the faucet’s finish, you will damage it. Always use a piece of cloth or rubber to protect it.
How to Fix a Dripping Compression Faucet?
1. Remove the Handles
First, make sure the water is turned off to prevent flooding. Then, remove the handle using an Allen key or a Philips screwdriver. There are some brands with special covers to conceal the screws. To remove the screw cover, you can use a flat screwdriver or a knife blade. Be careful around sharp objects to avoid injury.
2. Remove the Stem
Using a wrench or pliers, you must unscrew the nut that holds the stem in place. Some valve stem assemblies have a cover that goes over the top. Be sure to remove it before removing the stem nut.
3. Check the Stem for Wear and Damage
Check the stem washer and O-ring for tears and damage. Leaking compression faucets are usually caused by faulty seat washers.
4. Replace the Stem Washer or O-ring
Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the securing screw from the washer. Take off the old washer and replace it with a new one. Check the size and shape of the new one with the old one to make sure it fits tightly.
5. Assemble the Faucet
Reassemble the stem by tightening the nut after replacing the washer and O-rings. Attach the handle and replace the decorative caps. Turn on the water supply valve and test the faucet for leaks if all parts are in place and properly assembled.
To begin with, check the loose nut. If the retaining nut is loosened under the handle, the faucet may leak. Therefore, check the retaining nut before you disassemble the whole faucet. You can use plumbers putty if the stem assembly does not have a washer or has a damaged one. This will seal the stem and stop the leak.
How to Fix a Dripping Cartridge Faucet?
1. Handle Removal
Make sure the water supply is turned off before disassembling the faucet. Then remove the cap over the screw. Remove the screw that holds the handle in place by using an Allen key or Philips screwdriver.
2. Unscrew the Retaining Nut
As soon as you remove the handle, you’ll notice the retaining nut. Most brands have decorative covers or plastic rings as well. Then, remove the cover and gently unscrew the retaining nut with pliers or a wrench.
3. Remove the Cartridge
Now it’s time to take out the cartridge from the faucet. Use pliers to lift the cartridge by its stem. It may be necessary to wiggle a bit because minerals build-up can make removal more difficult. It is a good idea to clean the inside of the faucet at this point. Using a special rust penetrant or vinegar is a good option.
4. Insert the New Faucet Cartridge
Replace the new cartridge by sliding it down until it is firmly seated. Make sure you choose the right cartridge for your faucet. Some brands use a special cartridge only for their faucets. Use the wrench to tighten the retaining nut.
5. Install the Handle
Once you have the cartridge in place, replace the handle. You can use an Allen key or screwdriver to tighten the screw.
6. Test the Faucet
Connect the supply lines and turn on the faucet. At this point, the faucet should be leak free. You might notice that some brands include a hex screw with the valve assembly. The cartridge can be removed by using an Allen key.
How to Fix a Dripping Ceramic Disk Faucet?
1. Remove the cap over the handle screw
Discover where the cap is located. Usually, you’ll find it on the front or back of the faucet. Use a utility knife or a flat screwdriver to remove the screw cap.
2. Remove the Handle
Remove the screw and lift the handle using an Allen key or a Philips screwdriver. Do not lose the screw while removing the handle.
3. Lift off the Decorative Cap
Once the handle is removed, you’ll see a decorative cover. It can be lifted or unscrewed manually. You can see the ceramic cartridge under the cover.
4. Loosen the Ceramic Disk Cartridge
Ceramic disk cartridges are retained by a special nut. You can loosen the ceramic cartridge by unscrewing the nut with a wrench or a pair of pliers.
5. Remove the Ceramic Disk Cartridge
You can now lift the ceramic cartridge. Make sure that there is no wear or mineral buildup on the cartridge. If the ceramic cartridge is broken, you can either replace the seals and O-rings or replace the entire cartridge.
6. Clean or Replace Ceramic Disk Cartridge
Clean the inside of the faucet and the cartridge using vinegar and a brush. The seals inside the faucet body and on the ceramic cartridge should be renewed. If the cartridge is worn out, replace it.
7. Reinsert the Ceramic Cartridge
Use a wrench or pliers to tighten the retaining nut on the new cartridge. Once complete, put back the decorative cover.
8. Reassemble the Handle
You’re almost finished! Put back the handle, tighten the screw, and secure the cover. Turn the water on and check the faucet if it’s still dripping.
You should grease the valve seats and O-rings with plumber’s grease to prolong the life of your faucet.
Best Tips To Prevent Dripping Faucets
Maintaining your faucet is probably not something you think about until there is an issue with it or it begins to drip. Therefore, it is important to keep the faucets in your kitchen and bathroom in good working condition. It saves you both time and trouble, as well as money. Here are a few tips for maintaining your faucets.
1. Regular Maintenance
Any type of faucet can be maintained on a daily basis. You can maintain your faucet by wiping it with a damp cloth and using a mild cleanser.
Keep in mind the faucet finish when using cleansers. Ensure that the cleaning products you use are suitable for delicate surfaces and compatible with your faucet’s finish by reading their labels. If you want to maintain your faucet on a daily basis, a window cleaner is also a mild option.
2. Clean and Remove Minerals Buildup
Many faucets get mineral buildup even with daily maintenance. This is especially the case if you live in an area with hard water. Lime buildup is difficult to remove. A mild scrub or some vinegar often solves the problem.
However, when you’re dealing with stubborn deposits you’ll need specialized cleaners. Again, use care when using a powerful cleaner on the faucet’s surface.
3. Remove and Clean the Aerator
An aerator mixes water and air to reduce water usage and ensure a smooth flow. An aerator consists of a housing, a rubber or screen insert, and a gasket. As we deal with faucet maintenance, we often forget the importance of aerators. However, experts recommend cleaning the aerator at least once a year.
All you need to do to clean the aerator is to remove it. Aerator can be unscrewed with your hand or pliers. Wash all the parts with water and clean the screen with an old toothbrush. If minerals are hard to remove, you can always soak all the parts in vinegar. After everything is clean, reinstall the aerator.
If the aerator is clogged and rusted, replacing it is the best option. Aerators are not expensive and can save you a lot of trouble.
4. Faucets Parts and Repair
Although regular maintenance and aerator cleaning should keep your faucet drip-free. There is a possibility that small parts of your faucet may break down. It is easy for these small parts to wear out and to be damaged, which can result in leaks in the faucet.
The smallest springs, seats, seals, and O-rings can become damaged over time and may need to be replaced. For any type of faucet, you can find very straightforward repair kits.
5. Don’t Forget the Warranty
In buying a faucet, most homeowners are concerned with its looks and features. While these are important factors, don’t ignore the warranty. Many faucet brands offer lifetime or limited warranties.
Find out what defects are covered by your faucet’s warranty. It will save you money on replacement parts that are covered under warranty. This also applies to damaged finishes and other issues with your faucet.
Therefore, next time you purchase a new faucet, don’t ignore its warranty. It will save you money and a lot of problems.
5 Best High End Faucets
We can’t deny the fact that a high end kitchen faucet is one of the most important appliances in a modern kitchen. It is also a very personal thing, so it’s not surprising that the best kitchen faucets in 2022 are very different from each other.