The constant drip, drip, drip. The annoying sound keeps me up at night. My mind wonders which faucet is faulty...kitchen sink or bathroom...and should I get up out of my cozy bed to detect the leak. Then, I start thinking about this month’s bills and if I can afford to pay a plumber. Not to mention my green guilt as I know that the leak is wasting water. The clock ticks, I lie awake, losing precious beauty sleep, knowing this home repair needs attention first thing tomorrow. #homeownerstruggleisreal
The good news is that repairing a leaky faucet is actually a fairly straightforward task that even DIY amateurs like me can handle. If you're caught in a similar situation, here's what you need to know on how to repair it:
Step 1: Turn off the water
Skipping this step can result in a flooded bathroom or kitchen later in the process, so be sure to turn off the water to the faucet before getting started. There are shut-off valve handles on the pipes under your sink that you can twist clockwise to turn off the water.
Step 2: Plug the drain
The Home Depot smartly advises covering the drain with a sink plug or towel to make sure you don't lose any screws or other precious parts of the faucet during the repair job.
Step 3: Disassemble the faucet
Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screws and remove the faucet handles. How you complete this step will vary depending on the type of your faucet. For instance, a compression faucet has two handles to remove while a ball faucet has just one.
Once you remove the handles, use a wrench to loosen the packing nut underneath. You should then be able to remove the stem by either popping or twisting it off. Next comes the O-ring and washer.
As you remove each part, check for signs of damage. Clean all the parts to remove buildup and deposits.
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Step 4: Replace parts as necessary
Replace the seals, washers and O-rings with fresh ones as they're often the reason for the leak. If any other parts are corroded or damaged, consider replacing them as well. You can buy replacement parts at your local hardware store.
Step 5: Clean the valves
The Spruce suggests pouring white vinegar over the valves, letting it sit for several minutes until the buildup dissolves. You can remove the stopper momentarily to pour fresh water over the valves and rinse away the debris.
Step 6: Reassemble the faucet
Reverse the order of step three to put the faucet back together.
Step 7: Turn the water back on
Turn the faucet on and twist the valves slowly to avoid a rush of water. According to Lowe's, leaving the faucet off and turning the water back on too quickly can cause a pressure overload with potential to damage the parts of the faucet you just carefully put back together.
If the leak persists, you may need to replace your faucet entirely. Don't worry, installing a new faucet is also a relatively easy DIY plumbing task. However, if you feel that this is out of your home repair comfort zone, you can always call in a plumbing professional.
Being prepared for home repairs is always a good strategy. See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs.