One of the most annoying plumbing issues that need to be promptly addressed is a leaky faucet. You don’t need anyone to remind you of the higher water bills that could possibly result from all the wasted water steadily dripping from a spout that’s virtually impossible to shut off fully. What’s more, choosing to ignore the incessant dripping will not only push your patience to the limit, but it will also make your home vulnerable to potential water damage. In most cases, this plumbing problem is caused by mineral buildup or corrosion that can affect the inner portions of your faucet. Furthermore, all that wasteful dripping can also be caused by the type and style of the faucet or the worn O-rings that are found underneath the faucet’s spout assembly. Although you can find countless home improvement tips that would help you fix this nuisance, you might want to check out the simplest way to solve this plumbing problem.
What are the 7 Steps to a Drip-Free Faucet?
Step 1: Turn the water off
Before you get started with your little home improvement project, be sure to shut off the water to avoid the occurrence of an instant flood the moment you begin to disassemble the leaky faucet. To do this, you need to locate the shutoff valves under your sink and turn their handles clockwise. If you can’t find these fixture shutoff valves anywhere in the area, you’ll need to turn off the main water supply. To make sure that the water is already shut off and the plumbing lines are relieved from pressure, try turning the faucet on. Don’t forget to use a stopper or a piece of cloth to keep the drain covered to keep the small parts from going down the drain.
Step 2: Remove the handles on the faucet
The next step would be to carefully remove the faucet handles. However, this would greatly depend on the type of faucet you have. For example, you’ll only need to use a flathead screwdriver to effectively remove the caps that are found on top of a standard faucet handle. You can easily pull the handles after you unscrew them.
The process is different for a single-handle faucet because a hex setscrew holds it securely in place. You’ll need to loosen the setscrew first before you pull the handle upward. If rust has eaten up the screws or other parts of the handle, they might be a little difficult to remove. To manage this, you’ll need to use spray some oil on the corroded parts in order to loosen them.
Once you’ve successfully removed the handles, set them aside. Remember where these parts go so that you won’t have a problem with their reinstallation.
Step 3: Remove the cartridge or the valve system
Once you’ve removed the handles, the faucet’s cartridge or inner valve system will be in full view. You’ll need to remove this from the faucet’s body depending on the faucet’s style, as well as the shape of its components. While other types of compression faucets may carry a brass valve system that can be unscrewed from the faucet’s body, cartridge faucets make use of a brass cartridge assembly that can be pulled out of the faucet’s body. When in doubt, it’s best to refer to your faucet manual for instructions.
Step 4: Inspect the parts you removed
It’s extremely important to inspect the rubber O-rings, traditional rubber washers, and the ring-shaped rubber seals after you remove them. If you have a single-handle faucet, check for large O-rings that can possibly be found around the faucet’s body. These are used to seal the spout and to prevent leaking from around the faucet base. It might also have rubber seals and springs inside its valve’s brass body. The point is, every removable part must be carefully inspected for signs of damage.
Step 5: Replace the damaged parts
After carefully inspecting all of your faucet’s removable parts, you’ll need to the worn or damaged parts that you need to replace. However, plumbing and home improvement experts highly recommend replacing every removable part of your faucet to give it a nice tune-up. You can find a wide variety of kits sold at the local hardware or home improvement center that includes all the parts that are needed to perform a faucet model tune-up.
If you have a cartridge faucet, you have the option to purchase kits that only have replacement seals in them or kits that allow you to replace the entire cartridge. To make sure that you won’t end up buying the wrong replacement parts, be sure to take the old parts with you to the home improvement or hardware store where you can ask the staff to get you the exact duplicates.
Step 6: Clean the valve body and its parts
As soon as you’ve removed everything that needs to be removed from your faucet, you can now move on to the next step which is the inspection and cleaning of the valve body. In case you’re wondering, this refers to the brass assembly that holds the cartridge or the stem in place. There’s a big chance that your faucet’s brass parts are pitted with the mineral buildup or scale. Some parts of it may also be roughened as well.
You may clean the valve body by pouring white vinegar over its valve seat. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a nylon scrub pad until the brass is restored to its former shiny and smooth glory. Once you’re done, remove the stopper or the piece of cloth from the drain and pour clean water over the valve assembly to get rid of all the debris. If you’ve decided to keep your old cartridge or valve system, make sure to have all the parts thoroughly inspected and cleaned with vinegar, as well as a scrub pad.
Step 7: Reassemble the faucet
The last step would be reassembling your faucet. All you have to do to put everything back together is to reverse the order you used when you took it apart. Once you’ve reassembled the faucet, turn the water on and keep an eye out for signs of leaks.