If you have ended up reading this article, you must be fed up trying to fix your leaking bathroom faucet. A leaking faucet which drips and is unable to be shut fully, is a nuisance which you may face at some instance. The issue can cause water bills to spike and unnecessary wastage of water.
To top it off, the sound of a dripping faucet is alone enough to annoy anyone. But wait, you don’t need to worry as we have got you covered! This guide will tell you simple steps on how to fix a dripping bathroom faucet on your own, without the hassle of getting a plumber.
Why Faucets Leak?
Let’s learn the cause of this problem first, before getting to the method of fixing it. Faucets work by the control of water flow via an inner cartridge or stem with neoprene or rubber washers or seals.
When these are unable to fit correctly, a small amount of water flows to the faucet spout, causing the water to drip uncontrollably. The fault in the seal can arise due to several reasons – foreign residue building up in the faucet body, corrosion, or only the loss of resiliency of the washer or seal.
What do you need?
Gathering all the tools required to complete the task is essential to efficient completion of it, hence make sure the following listed items are available when you head to fix the leaking faucet:
- Channel-lock pliers
- Adjustable and Allen wrenches
- Flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers
- Scouring pad
- White vinegar
- Washers and seals
- Spray penetrating oil (if required)
- Replacement faucet cartridge (if needed)
How to Fix a Dripping Bathroom Faucet – in a few simple steps.
Shut Off the Water Supply
The foremost thing to do is to shut off the water supply before you begin to fix the leaky faucet. If you forget this step, get ready to find yourself in flood instantly while disassembling the faucet.
The fixture shutoff valves are below the sink, turn their handles clockwise to shut the water flow to the faucet. If your faucet does not have such valves, turn off the main water supply of the house.
Ensure that the water supply is shut by turning the faucet on; this will also relieve the pressure from lines. Cover the drain with a cloth or stopper to avoid losing any small parts/screws while disassembling.
Remove the Handles of the Faucet
The process for this step depends on the type of faucet. Usually, the standard faucets need a flathead screwdriver to remove the decorative caps on the handle, which reveals the handles’ screws.
Unscrew them and pull the handles. In case of corrosion or difficulty in removing the screws, spray oil, or any other lubricant can be used to loosen the part and remove it quickly.
Just make sure that all parts are placed aside in the order you disassemble them and make a note on how to install them back.
Remove Valve Cartridge or Stem
Once the faucet handle is removed, you will see the inner valve stem/cartridge. This part shall be extracted from the faucet body; the technique to do so, however, depends on the faucet style shape of its parts.
A brass valve stem is featured in some compression faucets which separates the valve stem from the valve body. On the other hand, cartridge faucets generally have a brass or plastic cartridge assembly which pulls straight out of the faucet body.
There is also a collar nut or brass retaining clip sometimes, remove it to separate the cartridge. You must look into your faucet manual or search for online directions to identify the correct procedure of removing your cartridge.
Check the Faucet Parts
Check the parts of the stem/cartridge you just removed. It may include conventional rubber washers, ring-shaped rubber seals or rubber O-rings depending on the faucet style.
Large O-rings may also be present around the faucet body, which seals the spout and keeps the water from leaking around the faucet base. Springs and rubber seals may also be located below,
inside the valve body.
Just make sure you check all the parts which can be removed very carefully!
Replace the Necessary Parts
Replace any parts which may appear damaged or old. It is ideal for replacing all the elements which are removable, giving a full tune-up to the faucet.
Many manufacturers also sell kits comprising of all the necessary parts required to tune up a specific faucet model. Kits having only replacement seals are suitable for cartridge faucets, or you can change the whole cartridge as well.
To avoid any hassle, take the old parts which you need to replace and ask for their new duplicates from your nearest hardware store!
Now that you have removed all the parts from the faucet, the valve body can be inspected, i.e., the brass assembly from which you just removed the cartridge/stem.
These brass parts may have some buildup or be roughened or pitted as well. Pour some white vinegar on the valve seat and let it sit for a while. Now using a nylon scrub pad, clean the surfaces – remember, your goal is to achieve a smooth and shiny, new-like condition.
Now remove the stopper from the drain and rinse the valves using clean water to remove any debris or dirt. If you keep the old parts as well, make sure to check them thoroughly as well and repeat the same cleaning steps on them as well.
Reassembling the Faucet
Remember how you disassembled the entire faucet? Carefully assemble it back together, step by step in the reverse order you used to separate it. Turn the water supply on and check the faucet for any leaks.
And this is how to fix a dripping bathroom faucet very simple and get rid of the drip, drip sound you have been hearing and getting frustrated with for the past days. Alas – you can sleep in peace now, without the stress of extra water bill, the ethical burden of wasting water, and the annoying drips!