A faucet that leaks or drips constantly may seem like little more than an annoyance-something to put on your "honey-do" list and deal with it sometime. But that dripping faucet is probably costing you hundreds of dollars per year on your water bill. In fact, a single faucet losing just 10 drops per minute will waste 347 gallons of water in a year! Suffice it to say you'll save money by fixing that drip as soon as possible.
What causes your faucet to drip constantly? Let's look at some of the most common causes:
Loose or damaged washers are perhaps the most common source of faucet drips. If the drip occurs directly from the spout, the washers are usually the first things to check. As the washer gets pressed against the valve seat by repeated use, eventually it loosens or simply wears out and needs replacing. If you have a washer-less faucet, like cartridge or ball faucet, the cartridge or ball may need to be replaced.
Corrosion of the Valve Seat
Another common cause of leaks from the spout may be the valve seat itself. If your water supply has a high sediment or mineral content, this sediment can accumulate around the valve seat and cause corrosion. Sometimes cleaning the valve seat will solve the problem; at other times it might need to be replaced.
If you notice a leak from the base of the faucet handle, chances are the O-ring is loose, damaged or worn out. An O-ring is a small rubber gasket that forms a seal around the valve stem, and it's often a simple matter to replace.
Water Pressure Issues
If the water pressure in your home is fairly high, it may prevent the natural flowback of water when it's turned off. That water may be forced into other areas, often through a faucet, causing an intermittent leak or drip. If the faucet dripping seems to occur randomly or only during certain times of the day, water pressure may be a factor, and you may want to call a plumber out to look at it.
Over time, the impurities in your water supply will eventually take their toll on your faucet. If none of the above fixes solves your dripping problem, the issue may be with the faucet itself-it might just be time to replace it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Palady, RMP is the President and co-owner of Budget Rooter Plumbing & Drain Cleaning. This family owned plumbing company has been serving their customers for more than 25 years, and makes customer service and quality of work their priority.
Jeff started working in the field at the age of fifteen under the tutelage of his father, who owned a Philadelphia-based plumbing and drain cleaning company. At the age of eighteen, Jeff and his mother decided to open their own shop in their home state of Delaware. For the first few years, Jeff was Budget Rooter's only field technician, and was often out on calls until late at night while going to school to earn his Master's License. As Budget Rooter grew, Jeff trained new technicians, researched and purchased the best equipment, and today he manages the operations of the company.
Known for being dedicated to Budget Rooter, Jeff is one of the first to arrive in the morning and is usually the last to leave. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys fishing, modifying his truck, and spending time with his wife and two sons.