A leaky faucet is a common household water waster. A steady drip at the rate of one drop per second wastes 192 gallons of water in a month! The first step in fixing a leaky faucet is to identify the faucet type. Faucets are divided into two basic types: compression faucets and washerless faucets.
Compression faucets, sometimes called stem faucets, always have two handles, one for hot water and one for cold water. When the handle is turned on, the stem rotates. The threads cause the stem to rise, moving a rubber washer away from the faucet seat and allowing water to flow. Then turning the faucet off, you can sometimes feel the rubber washer being squeezed against the faucet seat to stop the flow of water.
Washerless faucets typically have just one handle that controls both the hot and the cold water. They are known for providing years of trouble-free service because their design minimizes friction and wear. There are three main types of washerless faucets:
- A ball faucet has a single handle over a dome-shaped cap.
- A cartridge faucet has a narrow plastic or metal cartridge inside the faucet body. Most cartridge faucets are single-handle model, but some two-handled faucets use cartridge designs.
- A disk faucet has a single handle and a wide cylinder inside the faucet body.
• Turn off the water before you start any faucet repair. The shutoff valves for indoor faucets are underneath the sink. Turn the left knob clockwise to shut off the hot water; turn the right knob clockwise to shut off the cold water.
• Before disassembling a faucet, cover the sink with a towel to protect it from dropped tools and to prevent small parts from going down the drain.
• When dismantling parts, line them up in the order and orientation in which they were removed to make it easier to properly reassemble the pieces.
• When using metal tools on a polished surface, protect the polished surface with a rag or several layers of masking tape.
Take the old parts with you when you go to a plumbing or hardware store to buy replacement parts. This will help ensure that you get the right parts for the job.
• Most faucet repair kits come with good instructions. Follow them!
• Once the faucet brand and type is identified, visit the manufacturer’s website for How to Repair Instructions.
• YouTube has numerous video tutorials on how to fix a dripping faucet: https://www.youtube.com/
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