Fixing a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet can be an unnecessary cause of annoyance and frustration. No matter how tightly you twist the valve, it won’t seem to stop dripping.

Not only is it a source of annoyance for you, it can also waste water. You may be unwittingly paying more than you should for your water bill because those drops are starting to add up.

The excess may not seem like much, but over time it does accumulate, and, depending on your water rate, that can cost you. Perhaps it is time for you to fix that leaky faucet and save yourself some frustration.

The first thing to do is to remember to turn off the water. In order to properly fix the faucet, you will need to remove the fixture.

Imagine if the water was still running up into the faucet when you removed it. You would have a bigger problem than just a steady drip with which to deal.

If you do not already know, find out where the main water valve is that brings water to the faucet. When you are ready to remove the faucet, be sure that you have completely turned off the water before doing so.

Also, be sure to turn the faucet all the way off. Turn the handles to the right as tightly as you can.

In addition, be sure that you plug the drain of the sink or shower where you are working. A loose screw or washer may fall down the drain, adding to the problem of fixing the faucet.

When you are ready, you can take the handles off the faucet. This is the primary step toward fixing a dripping faucet.

There are screws that hold the handles on, so use a screwdriver to remove those. If the screws are not apparent, they are probably underneath a plastic or metal cap.

This cap will need to be removed before you can access the screws. To remove the caps, use a screwdriver or another flat-edged implement to create leverage.

Once the caps are off, remove the screws. The handles should then come away easily.

If, however, the handles do not come away easily, you will need to use your implement to again provide leverage. Either way, when the handles have been removed, check whether there are washers at the bottoms of the handles.

Some fixtures may not have washers at the base of the handles, but you will want to include one later. Regardless of whether there were washers or not, place a new washer at the base of each handle.

Be sure to remove the old washer before installing the new one. The new washer should be the same size as the old one, just fitting over the post which is twisted by the handle.

You will now be able to replace the handles. Be sure to put the proper handle over each post.

When you replace the screws in the handles, try not to over tighten them. Turn them as far as you can by hand.

Once the screw feels tight, stop turning it. If you had to remove caps to unscrew the handles, be sure to replace those as well.

You can now turn the water back on. Turn the valves for the main water pipe to the left so that they open.

The faucet should not be leaking any more. If it is not, congratulations, your troubles are over.

If the faucet is still leaking, you can try to tighten the screws in the handles a little bit more. Again, be careful of over tightening.

However, if this added tightening does not fix your problem, you should consider calling the plumber. A leak that just will not quit may require the work of an expert.

Plumbers have often learned from experts already working in the field. After some time working under an expert plumber, an apprentice plumber can apply to be licensed to do his own work.

If you have to call a plumber, ask your friends to suggest a trustworthy one. Having several options is the best, so ask for a price quote for the job from each plumber with whom you talk.

Hopefully, your leaky faucet will be fixed in no time. Good luck!