20 Mar. 15

4 Causes of a Leaky Faucet

While most people find dripping faucets irritating, what many people don’t realize is leaks can also be expensive. Leaks can sometimes develop in the sinks and showers in basements, or in other areas, and go unnoticed. Even in areas more obvious, homeowners often don’t realize the amount of money being lost, and neglect prompt repairs. Water leaks should always be repaired as soon as possible.

Most leaks can be repaired easily, and inexpensively, and are generally caused by simple problems. There are a few basic causes of water leaks, such as problems with worn out washers, broken valve seats, corroded O rings, or broken pipes. These are some of the first things repairmen look for when dealing with leaking faucets.

Broken or Corroded Washers

Leaks will develop fast around washers that are thin, have holes, and in need of replacement. Washers are essential to water that doesn’t leak and flows easily through the faucet. Washers that are corroded often fail to prevent water from leaking from the base. They are also the first thing plumbers will check.

Broken Valves

Broken valves are another common problem associated with water faucet leaks. The valve seat is located in the compression mechanism, and is where the sprout and faucet meet. If valves are broken or corroded, leaking water from the spout is the result. Mineral deposits can often cause valves to become corroded. This problem is easily solved by replacing the valve.

Missing or Broken O Rings

A missing O ring can also cause leaking problems. The O ring is a disc that fits around the stem screw. The stem screw is used to keep the faucet handle in place. When the O ring comes loose, or is corroded or damaged, the faucet handle is no longer secure. When O rings are the problem, leaks happen around the handle. Replacing the O ring normally fixes this problem.

Broken Pipes

More serious problems, involving leaking faucets may be broken pipes in need of repair. Not all pipe breakages result in a pipe burst, wherein water flows onto floors, causing excessive home damage. Some faucet leaks in homes are indicators of a pipe breakage, and this should always be investigated by a professional plumber. When pipe breakage is the problem, faucets will leak nonstop. Pipes leaking nonstop indicate other problems, such as water leaking in walls. A professional plumber is needed to assess the problem, who can indicate the source of the leak.

While some leaks can be repaired by replacing hardware, other leaks require more advanced measures. Pipe breaks and leaks require a full assessment of the home to indicate the source of the pipe break. It’s always good to hire a professional plumber who can rule out simple problems, and indicate the cause of the leak. Homeowners may wrongly assess the problem as a simple corrosion problem, missing the fact a more serious problem exists. Even simple problems are better repaired by a professional to assure all parts are inserted correctly and all parts properly tightened.