When you’re trying to save money on general everyday expenses, it’s important to look around your home and see if there are any culprits in and around the property that could be draining more resources than necessary.
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians
A common issue arising for many people is a faucet leak, whether slow or fast. Leaks can not only cost you a lot of money when it comes to your water bill but also be a savings sucker if water damage occurs. It helps to understand some reasons why many of them happen, so you know what to look out for.
Problems with Washers
Dripping faucets are often caused by washer problems, as these little pieces seal gaps in pipes to prevent water from getting out where it shouldn’t. If washers have worn out on your tap, you’ll likely start to see leaks. Wear occurs when washers are forced against valve seats, a process that happens whenever you use a device. It creates continual friction, which in turn leads to wear. You’ll pick up on this if you see leaks around the spout of your faucet. It’s generally not too tricky to handle replacing washers, though, so it’s likely something you can do yourself if and when necessary.
Sometimes, though, the problem isn’t that washers have worn out, but that they weren’t installed right in the first place. Alternatively, if the wrong-sized washer gets put in, this can also lead to leaks. When replacing this piece in your tap, be sure to choose the correct size and follow the directions on how to install it correctly.
Plumbing Connections that Have Become Loose
If you seem to have leaks occurring close to your faucet’s base, this indicates a loose connection might be to blame. These products contain a mix of small parts that have to work together to create a smooth water flow. Over time, though, and continual usage, some or all of these parts may wear out and get loose. At this point, leaks begin.
To attend to this issue, remove the handle and tighten up the pieces. This is easiest on a rotary ball faucet and usually involves sorting out the packing nut and/or adjusting the ring. If you still have the problem of water pooling around your tap’s base, though, you may need to go one step further and replace springs or seals in the faucet, too.
Broken Plumbing or Machine Parts
Something much harder to contend with, and likely something you can’t sort out yourself, is broken plumbing or machine parts. If you find leaks coming from pipes under sinks or in other such spots, rather than close to the faucet itself, the culprit is properly a busted pipe or a broken fitting.
Unfortunately, these problems often come hand in hand with a big leak where water truly gushes out. This situation not only wastes a considerable amount of water and costs you money on your utility bill but can create significant property damage if not caught in time. Search online for “local plumbers” or “home improvement near me” or some other handyman-related term to find a qualified tradesperson to help you. You’ll need a contractor to fix or replace pipes ASAP, so don’t delay in calling someone out.
Valve Seats with Corrosion
Have you recently noticed a leak that seems to be occurring around the spout of your faucet? If so, this indicates a corroded valve seat at play. The valve seat is what connects the spout and the faucet and is used in compression-based setups. Water sediment builds up in products over time, which often erodes the valve seat and causes leaks. Try to avoid this by cleaning valve seats a few times per year. If there’s too much damage, though (and a plumber can diagnose this for you), it’s time to replace the whole corroded part.
Another common reason for faucet leaks is worn-out O-rings. These rings are small discs that attach to stem screws holding faucet handles in place. If these little but essential discs degrade or get loose after regular usage, drips start happening near the handle of a cartridge faucet. Happily, you only need to replace the damaged O-ring, which shouldn’t be too expensive. Do this job yourself if you feel capable or hire a plumber for the work.
Less-than-Ideal Water Pressure
A less-than-ideal water pressure level might be too high or low for a faucet or cause water to surge in and out too much. When this happens, taps may drip on occasions or leak when moving the tap handle in particular ways. If this is the case in your home, contact a licensed plumber. They can check out the entire plumbing system and confirm if pressure is the issue, then rectify it if so.
Faucet leaks are a problem for many households every year. They not only waste water but cost you more money than necessary. Address any issues as quickly as possible, and don’t be afraid to consult with a professional for assistance whenever you feel out of your depth.