“Every single drop of water in the ocean may seem insignificant…until you take them all away. Only then is their true worth appreciated.” – Susan Gale
A single drop of water is insignificant to the average household because they are often unaware of the impact a leaky faucet can have in both a wasteful and monetary sense. According to the EPA, households across the nation annually waste over 1 trillion gallons of water due to plumbing leaks within a home. In fact, one leaky faucet that drips at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 3,000 gallons a year. Fixing these leaks is often easy to do yourself or will cost you little to have repaired by a professional. More importantly, repairing these leaks could save you up to 10 percent of your current water bill.
Hopefully, you now see the significance of leaky faucets within a home and how important it is to fix them. With that in mind, here are four things that could cause your faucet to drip and send your money down the drain.
The most common reason behind a dripping faucet is due to a damaged or improperly installed washer. Through everyday use, the faucet washer is forced against the valve seat causing friction between these two faucet components, wearing out over time. It may also be possible that the washer was not the correct size for the specific faucet type or was not originally installed correctly. In either case, an ineffective washer causes water to drip from the spout of the faucet. To fix this, remove and replace the washer by simply using pliers and a screwdriver.
Corroded Seals and Valve Seat
It is likely that over time water sediments will begin to build up around the inlet and outlets seals (common in disc faucets) as well as the valve seat (common in compression faucets). This deposit of water sediments can start to corrode the seals and valve seat within both types of faucets causing the spout to leak. Regularly clean or simply replace the inlet/outlet seals and valve seat to stop current and future leaks.
The O Ring
A problem commonly found in cartridge faucets is the loosening or corrosion of the O Ring. The O Ring is a rubber washer placed on a stem screw that is used to securely hold the handle of a faucet in place. Due to regular use, the O Ring can eventually become loose or deteriorate causing the faucet to leak near the handle. Replacing the O Ring will save you money in the future and keep your faucet from leaking.
Loose Packing Nuts
On the stem screw within a faucet there is the adjusting ring and the packing nuts. These parts may become loose or damaged with regular use, causing the faucet to leak near the handle. A quick, easy fix for this is to simply tighten the packing nuts or replace both the adjusting ring and the packing nuts.
With these four common causes in mind, you can stop wasting gallons of water by making some repairs yourself or hiring a professional plumber to do them for you. Best of all, there is little cost for the new parts and you will be putting the money you save in your pocket instead of down your drain.