Have you found anything more annoying than a steady drip, drip, drip of a leaking faucet? Perhaps it has a sporadic leak that only gets louder at night as you try to sleep. There is no money in the budget right now for a plumber and none of your DIY-type friends are available to help. With this in mind, its time to be a big girl and fix that leaky faucet. This guide is for compression type faucets.
Replace the gasket (washer). Most DIYers will tell you that fixing a plumbing issue works best through the process of elimination. As the gasket is the most likely cause of a leak, and the easiest part of the faucet to replace, this is the logical place to start. Here’s how:
Close the drain and put a light colored towel in the sink to catch dropping parts. Turn off the water supply, which is usually located under the sink. If not, you may have to turn off the entire water supply to your home. Make sure family members are prepared for a while without water. Unscrew the gasket from the faucet head. This is sometimes as easy as unscrewing it by hand, but if it is really tight, you need to use a crescent or adjustable wrench. When this is removed, look for the gasket. It may be inside the piece you’ve removed or still attached to the head. Often it will fall off in a few pieces. If this happens, you can be fairly certain that a faulty gasket is the cause of the leak. Save the gasket, or pieces of the gasket, to take with you on your trip to the home improvement or plumbing supply store. Don’t be afraid to ask for help finding the right gasket while you’re there. While the faucet is disassembled, check the inside of the head and make sure there are no buildups of rust, mineral deposits or just plain crud. Clean the inside of the faucet head with a sponge and household cleaner, organic or chemical. Carefully place the gasket on the faucet head. Screw it back into the faucet, tightening slightly with the wrench if necessary. Make sure it is screwed on straight. Turn on the water supply and check your handiwork.
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