What Causes a Faucet To Drip?

Dripping Water Prior to Faucet Repair

Irritating Leak Problems

Homeowners rarely seem surprised when these leaks pop up. After all, if water is going to drip anywhere in the house, it’s not going to be through your premium roofing! Water faucets, on the other hand, seem destined for these miniscule leaks that simply aggravate more than they threaten. However, any leak in your plumbing system holds the potential to hasten mold growth and mildew, so it’s important that we understand this dripping phenomenon.

Today, we’ll dive into leaks, faucet repair, and all the details homeowners need to know to understand what’s happening. By the end, you should have a working knowledge of why your faucets leak, and potentially how to fix the problem. Let’s get started!

Common Faucet Headaches

When it comes to plumbing (and any other major utilities in your home), the more parts an appliance or fixture has, the more opportunities it has to break down. Considering your faucet has multiple moving parts that see use every day, it makes sense that parts may loosen over time. Below, we address some of the most common issues homeowners notice with their faucets.

Handle Leaks

Faucet Leaking From Handle

Why is water leaking from my faucet handle? That’s a question our plumbers hear a lot over the years. When it comes to handle leaks, most are the result of a degraded seal in the affected handle. Some of the most frequently needed faucet repair parts are the seat washer and the rubber o-ring. These stop the flow of water when the handle is turned to the off position.

How Do You Fix a Leaking Compression Faucet?

If you’re planning a DIY project, this will take a little bit of preparation. There aren’t many parts involved, but you’ll need to be very careful to keep them in order during disassembly. As for equipment, make sure you have a screwdriver, a crescent wrench, o-ring, seat washer, and plumbing grease. Lay out a cloth or paper towel as a place to lay out each part.

  • Step #1: Turn off the the valve beneath the sink to stop water flow.
  • Step #2: Unscrew the affected handle. If need, remove the top cap first.
  • Step #3: Carefully lift the handle off the packing nut.
  • Step #4: Using the wrench, unscrew the packing nut.
  • Step #5: Do the same for the stem beneath, and lift the packing nut off of the stem.
  • Step #6: Coating your new o-ring and washer in plumbing grease.
  • Step #7: Lay the new pieces back into place on their respective places on the stem.
  • Step #8: Reassemble your handle and screw it into place.
  • Step #9: Turn on the valve and test the new handle.

Spout Leaks

Faucet Leaking From Spout

If your faucet is leaking water from the spout instead of the handle, there’s a high chance that the degraded part is (again) a washer. It presses tightly against a part called the valve seat at the base of the spout when you turn on the faucet. Eventually, the washer starts to wear down, letting water slip through. Mineral content and metallic bits may also cause rusting in the valve seat.

Should water come out of the base of the spout, there’s likely a problem with one or both of these parts.

Repair or Replace?

Leaky Faucet Repair or Replace

Compared to appliances (like your water heater) that cost thousands of dollars to replace, your faucet is a relatively low-stakes fixture. It’s easy (and cheap) to repair in most cases of leaks, as shown in our repair steps. It’s just as simple to find a replacement.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can easily find and purchase faucet repair parts online or at your local home improvement store. Should you have a more relaxed budget, keep repairing your faucet as long as you like! When you’re ready for a design change, you can always swap it out.

Faucet Leak Q&A

Below are more typical problems that homeowners face with their faucets. We don’t have time to get into too much detail, so we’re going to answer them in rapid-fire fashion. For more detailed instructions, consult with your local plumber or homeowners guide.

Why Does My Shower Head Keep Dripping?

The seal preventing water flow when the shower is turned off seems a likely culprit. Mineral content can also wear down parts in the valve. You’ll have to shut off the water supply and disassemble the valve to see for certain.

What Causes a Bathtub Faucet to Leak?

Most bathtubs run on a compression system similar to that of a sink faucet. That means they often suffer from a worn out washer in the stem of the faucet handle. You can replace this washer in the method we described above. Just be sure to turn off the water supply first!

Why Would a Faucet Lose Water Pressure?

Barring something extreme, such as main water line damage, there may be a problem with the faucet cartridge or aerator. Casual repairs may also cause partial pressure loss if done incorrectly.

Plumber Tightens Hot Side Handle During Bathtub Faucet Repair

Find Your Professional Plumbing Repair!

Some challenges go beyond what homeowners are equipped to handle. If you face a situation that requires professional plumbing repair, call our local experts at Lantz's Lakeside Plumbing and AC! We’ll be more than happy to get to the bottom of the leak and find a lasting solution. Call (512) 260-7881 and ask about our Leander and Lago Vista, TX faucet repair service.