Dripping sinks are irritating to listen to and also bring about other problems, like higher bills, wasted resources, and the risk of there being water damage or mold and mildew growth. Although the problem might appear small, letting the leak get worse is simply throwing money down the drain. If you know how to fix that leaky kitchen faucet, though, you will be able to avoid any damages and save money in the long run.
Causes of Leaky Faucets
Though it would be nice, faucets are not something that lasts forever, especially kitchen faucets. The more a faucet is used, the quicker it will wear out and begin to leak. Here are some common causes of faucet leaks:
- Worn out washers – Every time the kitchen faucet is turned on, there is friction between the faucet and the washer. Inevitably, the faucet will begin to drip. Also, if a washer hasn’t been sized appropriately or installed correctly, there will be leakage.
- O-ring issues – O-shaped discs are responsible for helping the faucet handles turn. With repeated use, the o-ring will wear out, get thinner, or loosen.
- Loose pieces – When nuts and rings or other hardware isn’t tightened completely, leaks can occur.
- Corrosion – The valve seat in the faucet connects it to the spout via compression. Every time water passes through, water sediment will collect around the valve and corrode it.
- Seal problems – Same with corrosion, there is a certain amount of sediment that will gather around seals and eat away at them.
With any of these issues, you can usually replace that single component to resolve any leaking. Regular cleaning and maintenance will also extend the life of these pieces.
Fixing a Kitchen Faucet
Now, let’s look at the step-by-step process of taking apart a kitchen faucet to repair a leak:
1. Turn off the water at the valves beneath the sink. Then turn the faucet on above to allow any remaining water to drain out. Make sure the
drains are plugged once this is done to prevent any small pieces from falling in.
2. Using an Allen wrench, loosen the setscrews on the faucet handle then remove it. Be sure to keep every piece nearby, laid out in the order that you remove them so you don’t forget how to put the faucet back together.
3. Now, to remove the bonnet, ball and cam assembly. You need a pair of slip-joint pliers to remove the bonnet. To avoid damaging the metal bonnet, you should wrap masking tape around the teeth of the pliers.
4. Remove the ball and cam assembly.
5. Use needle-nose pliers to remove springs and packing pieces that may have come loose. Take this time to also remove any sediment that you find inside the faucet. Replace any washers or seals that might be causing the leak.
6. Once you have cleaned the faucet, you can now remove the O-rings and diverter. Grab the spout and loosen it gently. Once it is loosened, you should be able to remove it from the faucet face. Use a spanner to remove the O-rings and a needle-nose plier for the diverter. If the O-ring looks worn, replace it. Otherwise, it may simply need some cleaning.
7. Reassemble everything. Start with the new diverter (if necessary), install new o-rings, starting with the top one first. Coat every O-ring in packing grease.
8. Put the spout back into place, using both hands to add firm pressure. Use a spanner and Allen wrench to put springs and packing pieces back into place.
9. Return the faucet ball to the right slot. Reinstall or install the cam and packing. Do the same for the bonnet and handle.
10. Turn on water to test for leaks.
Hiring a Professional Plumber
When a leak doesn’t stop, no matter how much you have done to stop the flow, or when you are uncomfortable with doing anything DIY, it is time to call a professional plumber. Getting a professional on the job is going to give you peace of mind, because you know the project will be done correctly. Further, if there is an underlying issue that you haven’t be able to locate, the plumber will have the trained eyes and tools to find out exactly what is going on.
Just be sure you are hiring someone who can be trusted and has the proper licenses or accreditation.
Fixing a leaky kitchen faucet might seem like a drawn-out project, but it is actually quick and easy most of the time. Don’t let the tiny leaks turn into big issues, like water damage and mold growth. You can avert these major projects by keeping up with maintenance and having supplies on hand. When all others are exhausted, however, you should hire a professional to stop the dripping once and for all.