Why is My Faucet Dripping: 6 Causes of Dripping Faucets

A dripping faucet will waste an awful lot of water. The first clue that you have a leaky faucet in your house may be a bigger water bill than expected. If not repaired, a leak may become an even bigger problem than the extra money you are spending. The constant drip of water can stain your sink. It may corrode the drain. It can even put undue pressure on the plumbing lines in your house. The good news is that issues easily repaired by the homeowner causes most leaky faucets.

Here are the most common causes of faucet drips and how to fix the problem.

Cause #1: Loose screws

All kitchen and bathroom faucets contain various screws, nuts, and bolts. These components are, by nature, prone to loosening and wearing out over time. Fortunately, there is a straightforward way to determine if this is the problem. Just give your faucet a wiggle. If it moves around, you likely have loose or worn-out connections that need to be either tightened or replaced.

Cause #2: Worn out washer

Is your faucet leaking around the spout? If the answer to this is yes, the chances are good that you are dealing with a worn-out or broken washer. Each time you turn your taps on or off, the motion of the turning handles causes friction that wears on the components of the faucet.

There is also a chance that the washer is the wrong size or has not been installed correctly. It is normal to eventually need to install a new one. Contact a plumber for help.

Cause #3: Loose O ring

An O-ring is a small rubber ring that you can find around the valve stem of your faucet. O-rings will become loose or damaged over time just through the everyday use of your faucet. If you see water leaking from underneath the faucet handle, you likely need to replace the O-ring.

Cause #4: Corrosion in the valve seat

The valve seat is the part of the faucet that allows the water to flow into the spout. Because of this function, its location in the tap means that water tends to sit and collect. In older style faucets, this part was usually made of brass and could be resurfaced and reused, but unfortunately, in most faucets that you buy now, this part is made of plastic and has a much shorter lifespan.

Cause #5: Damaged cartridge

If you have a faucet that has a separate handle for hot and cold water, then it will contain a cartridge underneath each of the faucet handles that control the water flow out of the tap. They are often made of a combination of plastic and metal and will eventually need to be replaced. It is crucial to make sure that you buy the right kind of cartridge for the brand of faucet that you own.

Cause #6: Mineral deposits on the internal parts

Many people live in areas with hard water. The calcium and mineral deposits found in hard water will build up over time and can contribute to a leaky faucet. The deposits eventually prevent the faucet’s interior components from operating how they are meant to. It can also build up in filter screens, causing blockages that the water cannot flow through. Calcium and mineral deposits are usually easy to remove. Once you have the faucet taken apart, soak the pieces that have been affected in vinegar for a few minutes. It should then be easy to scrub away.

How to Fix a Dripping Faucet

First, turn off the water. The valve to do this will be located under your sink. Then, collect the tools required for the job. This often includes a screwdriver, Allen key, needle-nose pliers, and wrench. Remove the faucet handle, and also remove the faucet cartridge or valve stem. Inspect the components of the faucet and determine what parts are causing the issue.

Tighten loose parts or replace damaged parts. Remove any calcium build-up if applicable. Afterwards, put the faucet back together. Turn the water back on and run hot and cold water through the faucet for a few minutes!

Without regular maintenance, all faucets are eventually likely going to get leaky. The vast majority of the time, it is a simple issue that you can quickly repair without needing to call in a plumber. Faucet repairs are typically quick and inexpensive. You should be able to find any of the parts that are required at your local hardware store. If you have thoroughly inspected your leaky faucet and none of the above issues appear to be the problem, it might be time to call in a professional.