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When to Call a Plumber for a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet is more than just an annoying drip—it can lead to significant water waste and even damage to your property. Did you know that a single dripping faucet can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water a year? In some cases, this bothersome issue can be fixed with simple tools, but certain situations demand professional expertise. When should you decide that professional help is necessary?


Let’s explore the scenarios that clearly signal it’s time to call a plumber and take steps on how to fix leaky faucet components like a pro.


plumber fixing leaky faucet


What Are the Common Causes of a Leaky Faucet?


  • Worn-Out Washers. The rubber washer in the faucet handle wears out over time, causing leaks.

  • Valve Seat Corrosion. Corrosion at the valve seat can lead to leaks around the spout.

  • Buildup of Sediment. Sediment and mineral buildup in faucet components can disrupt the flow of water and cause leaks.

  • O-Ring Issues. Problems with the O-ring in the faucet handle can lead to leaks at the base.

  • Poor Cartridge Seal. A bad seal in cartridge faucets can cause leaks and require replacing the cartridge components.


When Should You Call a Plumber for a Leaky Faucet


While minor faucet repairs can be handled on your own, some scenarios call for the specialized skills of a plumber. If you have persistent leaks despite attempted repairs, it's time to seek professional help. Visible signs of corrosion, such as discoloration and crusty buildup, are indicators that the problem is deeper than a DIY fix.


Complex faucet types, such as Ceramic Disc, Ball Type, and Cartridge Faucets, may require technical expertise and special tools. Moreover, leaks causing significant water damage or high water bills necessitate immediate plumbing services to prevent further complications.


How to Fix a Leaky Faucet


Tools You’ll Need


Gather the necessary tools for your leaky faucet repair, including an adjustable wrench, needle-nose pliers, flathead screwdriver, and a faucet repair kit. These are essential for removing the faucet handle and internal components. Petroleum jelly and white vinegar can also help clean parts and ensure a tight seal. An adjustable crescent wrench and channel-lock pliers are also useful for removing stubborn parts. Keep a utility knife handy for precise cuts when needed.


Shutting Off Water Supply


Before performing any repairs on your faucet, ensure the water supply valves under the sink are turned off. Locate the shutoff valves and turn them clockwise until completely closed. This prevents accidental water flow while working on the faucet. Check that the flow of water has stopped by turning on the faucet handle. Keeping a towel or bucket close by can help manage any remaining water in the supply lines.


Removing the Handle


Start by removing the decorative plastic button or screw cover on the faucet handle. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the handle screws. Carefully take off the handle assembly to reveal the internal components of the faucet. Be gentle to avoid damaging the handle or the screws. It’s important to keep track of the screws and any small parts for reassembly.


Inspecting and Replacing the Cartridge


Once the handle is removed, inspect the cartridge for signs of wear and tear. Remove the retainer nut using an adjustable wrench and pull out the entire cartridge with pliers. If the cartridge appears damaged or worn, replace it with an exact match from a faucet repair kit. Ensure the replacement cartridge is compatible with your faucet model. Apply silicone faucet grease to the new cartridge for smoother operation.


Reassembling the Faucet


After replacing the worn components, carefully reassemble the faucet in the reverse order. Tighten the retainer nut and reattach the handle using the handle screws. Replace the decorative cover or plastic button over the screw heads. Turn on the water supply valves to check for any leaks. If the faucet is still leaking, it may be time to call a professional plumber for help.


Testing the Faucet


Upon completing the reassembly, turn the faucet handle to test the water flow. Observe if there are any drips or leaks around the faucet spout and handle. If everything is functioning correctly, clean up any tools and excess grease around the faucet body. Leaving the area clean ensures you can easily spot any future leaks. It is recommended that you keep an eye on the faucet for a few days after repair.


Frequently Asked Questions About Faucet Repairs


What If the Faucet Still Leaks After a Repair?


If your faucet continues to leak after performing a repair, the issue might be more complex than initially thought. Reinspect the faucet for any missed worn-out parts like O-Ring Seals, seal washers, or inlet seals. Persistent leaks indicate internal component damage that requires professional expertise. Contacting a plumber can ensure a thorough inspection and lasting fix for your faucet.


Can Mineral Buildup Affect Faucet Performance?


Yes, mineral buildup from hard water can significantly affect the performance of your faucet. Over time, this crusty buildup can clog the faucet aerator and disrupt the flow of water. Cleaning the affected parts with white vinegar can dissolve the mineral deposits. If the buildup is extensive, professional cleaning or part replacement might be necessary. Regular maintenance can help avoid these issues.


Are There Special Tools Required for Faucet Repairs?


While basic repairs can be done with general tools like an adjustable wrench and flathead screwdriver, some faucets require special tools. For instance, ball-type faucets and cartridge faucets may need specific tools for disassembly and reassembly. Having a faucet repair kit with rubber seals, a faucet cam, cam washers and additional screws can be beneficial. For complex types of faucets, it is often best to consult a plumber.


How Do I Identify My Faucet Model?


Identifying your faucet model can help you acquire the correct replacement parts. Look for a brand name and model number usually found on the faucet body or underneath the handle. If this information is not visible, taking a photo and showing it to a plumbing supply store can help. Matching the exact model ensures compatibility when purchasing a faucet repair kit or replacement parts.


Is It Cost-Effective to Repair or Replace a Faucet?


Determining whether to repair or replace a faucet depends on the extent of the damage and the cost of parts. Minor issues like replacing a worn-out rubber washer or damaged O-Ring can be affordable. However, extensive damage or older faucets may justify a replacement for a more cost-effective long-term solution. Consulting with a plumber can provide clarity on the best course of action.


Need Professional Faucet Repair Services? Contact The Plumber is Here


Hiring experienced plumbers for faucet repairs can prevent further damage, ensure a lasting fix, and save you valuable time and effort. Addressing leaks promptly is essential to avoid bigger, costlier problems and water damage to your property. For anyone in the West Michigan area facing leaky faucets, The Plumber is Here offers comprehensive plumbing services.


Whether it's a single-handle faucet in your kitchen or a leaky bathtub faucet, our trained technicians are ready to assist. We provide reliable day service and emergency services whenever you need us.


The Plumber is Here promises satisfaction with every service, leveraging over 58 years of combined experience. Book your plumbing service online now.

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