One drip here and one drop of water there might not seem like much, but what most people don’t know is that a leaky faucet losing one drop per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water per year. That’s about enough water to fill 60 bathtubs. When you hear water dripping, it may be time to call a plumber for leaking faucet repair.
If it’s water pooling under your sink, or the annoying dripping sound that keeps you up at night, a leaky faucet is a nuisance that could turn into a full-blown problem if not addressed quickly. Fortunately, putting a stop to a leaking faucet, such as the compression faucet in your kitchen, is as simple as calling a professional plumber. There are some drips and leaks that you can fix yourself. A loose joint in the pipes may just need a snug-up with a wrench. Cracked pipes and stripped fittings may need the touch of a professional for bathroom or kitchen faucet repair.
How to Replace the Washer in Your Tub Faucet
The most common cause of a leaky water faucet is a worn out washer, so you could potentially save yourself a large amount of money by replacing all of your washers with new ones. This is something you may be able to do yourself.
The washers in your bathtub’s faucet is either made out of plastic or rubber. As time goes by, the contact with water causes the washers to dry out and crack. This eventually makes it impossible to create its tight seal. This is what leads to the drips and leaks in the faucet. You can close the faucet as tightly as possible to attempt to stop the leak as a short-term fix, but this puts more pressure on the old broken washer, which causes it to wear out more quickly than it would if left as it was. The best solution for long-term bathtub and shower faucet repair is to replace the washers. If you’re uncomfortable with the concept of doing it by yourself, you can call a plumber to do it for you.
Shut off the Water
There is no way to make any repairs to your system while the bathtub water is still running. Some systems will allow you to turn off the water from just below the sink. If this is not an option in your home, you may need to turn off the main water supply to the entire house while you make the necessary repairs. Once your water is turned off, turn the handles of the bathtub faucet to the position as if you were going to run a bath. This allows you to drain any excess water from the pipes before you start your repairs.
Take the Tub Faucet Handles Off
In order to replace the washers on your faucet, you need to first remove the handles. You should start by using a pocketknife or thin flathead screwdriver to pry off the handle inserts. These are the covers on the handles. They are usually plastic and come with a hot or cold label on them. Once the inserts are removed, you will see a screw on each of the handles. Next, remove the screws with a screwdriver. Once you have the screws removed, you’ll be able to disconnect the handles from the stems. This is usually the most difficult step in the repairs, because corrosion can cause the handles and stems to stick together. It will be very hard to get them apart, so if you can’t get them off on your own, try using a special tool called a handle puller. Either way, don’t force the handles off because that can damage your faucet almost beyond repair. If the handle puller isn’t working, then you should give us a call at A-1 American.
Replace the Washer
Once you’ve removed the faucet handles, you can replace the washers. First, use a screwdriver to remove the seat washer screws from the stems. This allows you to take the old washers off. Most likely you’ll need something to pry them off of the fitting. Afterwards, replace the washers as well as the seat washer screws with brand new ones. It’s a good idea to use some liquid thread sealant on the stem’s threads and put them back into the faucet openings. Most of the hard labor is then finished.
Put it Back Together and Test it Out
Now that you’re done with the adjustment, screw the faucet handles back into place and secure the handle inserts on the tub and shower faucet handles. Be sure that they’re on the correct temperature handles, hot and cold, and that they’re upright and readable. Once they’re nice and secure, turn the water supply on and turn the faucet on to test it. When you turn the faucet off again, there shouldn’t be a leak. If there is, you should call a professional plumber.
If you have a drip, puddle or water pipe leak in your kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere in your home, call A-1 American. From the kitchen sink to the bathtub and shower to the hot water heater and beyond, we’re your leaking faucet repair experts. We carry a wide range of plumbing pipes, fittings and fixtures in our vans to minimize the amount of time it takes to remedy the problem. Call (757) 425-2400 for an appointment.