Oh no! You turned your faucet off, but it won’t listen! Leaky (or dripping) faucets are a common plumbing issue, and they can occur for multiple reasons.
Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this predicament.
FIRST, LOCATE THE LEAK
The location of the leak will give some clues as to what might be wrong. Is it dripping through the spout? Is water pooling near the base of the handle? Is water leaking under the sink basin or near the pipes? The more obvious the leak source, the better chance you have of addressing the problem yourself.
If the leak doesn’t seem to be coming from the pipes, check the faucet body. If you’re confident in your DIY abilities, unscrew the handle and remove the pieces. You should keep the pieces organized, so you don’t get lost when putting everything back together.
If you can’t figure out the cause of the leak after investigating, call a professional to assess the situation.
COMMON LEAK CAUSES
Loose or Broken Parts
If you inspect the faucet and notice that pieces are loose, that could be the reason for the leak. Alternately, loose parts may be a sign that another part of the faucet is not working correctly. Either way, try tightening these pieces and see if the leak subsides.
You should also check the valve seat. This mechanism connects the faucet to the spout and can rust over time if liquid or sediment builds up. A plumbing professional can assess these fixtures and recommend repairs.
Worn Out O-Rings or Washers
O-Rings and washers are two small elements that keep water flowing where it’s supposed to. You can find these under the valve seat, in the aerator, and elsewhere. An o-ring will be a smooth, circular rubber gasket, while a washer will be circular and flat. Make sure there are no cracks or breaks, as that will show that the watertight seal has broken. Typically, most faucet leaks can be fixed by replacing a worn-out washer or O-ring.