Why Won’t My Faucet Stop Dripping?

dripping faucet

Dripping faucets are one of the most common types of household leaks and, perhaps, the most aggravating. As shown in My Cousin Vinny and a classic Donald Duck cartoon, a dripping faucet is an infamous source of annoyance--but did you know that it can waste quite a bit of water as well? According to the EPA, one leaky faucet dripping at a rate of one drop per second can waste over 3,000 gallons a year!

Below, we’ll explain the three most common reasons why faucets drip and how to solve and prevent this issue.

1. The washer is worn out.

This is one of the most typical reasons why faucets drip. When you turn the water on, this forces the washer against the valve seat. That repetitive friction over time can wear down the washer. You can also wear out this component by overtightening the faucet handles when you shut off the water.

Solution: Replace the washer. This is a relatively simple repair for plumbers. It’s crucial to get the right size part and complete the installation correctly to prevent future leaks.

2. The valve seat has corroded.

If you’ve replaced the washer and still experience a leak, then your faucet’s valve seat has likely corroded away after accumulating sediment over the years.

Solution: If the valve seat can be removed, you’ll need to replace it. If the valve seat is not designed to be removed (which is more common in older seats), you’ll need to resurface it.

3. The O-ring is worn out.

A cartridge faucet will sometimes have problems with a small rubber gasket inside it called the O-ring. A worn-out O-ring can no longer seal gaps effectively, so you’ll start to get issues with leaks around the handle and hot and cold water mixing.

Solution: In many cases, you only need to replace the O-ring. However, if the faucet spout has deteriorated from corrosion or hard water, the O-ring might not be able to form a seal. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the faucet.

At Albright's Mechanical Services, our Baltimore plumbers never cut corners when fixing your home’s plumbing issues. For reliable plumbing service, give us a call at (410) 834-0148 or contact us online.

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