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What Causes a Leaky Sink Faucet?

Leaky faucets are a common problem and one of the easiest to ignore because they may seem only annoying. Eventually, the faucet may wear down so much that the leak becomes a fountain and becomes an emergency plumbing situation. The water dripping from a leaky faucet also contributes to a home’s water bill. If a homeowner can fix a leaky faucet instead of ignoring it, they will save money and conserve water. The most common causes of faucet leaks are the o-ring, the washer, and the valve seat.

Suspect #1: The O-Ring

o ringThe O-ring is a small rubbery ring that helps seal the valve in a handle that turns the water on and off. A faucet leaking from the handle is likely the result of a worn-out or broken o-ring. When they turn the sink on, a homeowner may notice that water is coming out near the base of the handle or handles. This is evidence that the o-ring is worn out or broken.

  • Worn Out O-Ring: The o-ring may have stretched and lost some elasticity, breaking the seal and allowing water through.
  • Broken O-Ring: Though it is not as common, the o-ring could be sheared in half, allowing water through.

When replacing the o-ring, the entire handle must be removed and the single part replaced. Likely, the spring next to the o-ring in the valve apparatus should also be replaced. Should the whole valve need to be replaced, adding a new o-ring and spring would be best.

Suspect #2: The Corroded Washer

The washer is another part of the faucet handle system that can become corroded or worn out and cause leaks. Washers are flattened rings that can be made of metal or silicone. They are part of many different construction projects and are often used with bolts and nuts to help secure pieces of furniture. In this case, they are used at the bottom of the handle valve to contain water flow. The washer is exposed to water, and sometimes the minerals in the water can cause corrosion. This will keep the valve from sealing completely and cause the tap to leak. This is the type of leak that can be fixed for a while by using extra force when putting the handle into the off position

Suspect #3: The Valve Seat

valveNot every sink faucet has a valve seat. This piece is in those taps with a single handle used for hot and cold water. The valve seat is the internal part of the handle, like the socket of a ball and socket joint. It helps to seal the valve and turn the water off. It is like a counterpart to the seat washer in a sink with two handles. Replacing a valve handle is fairly simple and can be done by a homeowner, though it is always best to hire a professional. The main problem is making sure that the right replacement part is purchased. The steps for changing a valve seat are as follows:

  1. Turn off the water to the faucet via the valves under the sink
  2.  Remove any decorative cover disguising the bolt that holds the handle in place
  3. Remove the screw and the handle
  4. Remove the valve and the valve seat
  5. Replace with the new valve seat
  6. Replace the other parts in the proper order
  7. Attach the handle
  8. Turn the water back on to make sure it works

About Daniels Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, LLC

Offering 24/7 emergency service and excellent workmanship, Daniels Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, LLC proudly deals with all home comfort problems in Albuquerque, NM, and the surrounding areas. Call them today for 100% satisfaction guaranteed on plumbing service.

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