The drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet is enough to test anybody's patience, and left unattended to, all that water wasted is going to rack up a completely unnecessary bill. A small leak can often lead to bigger problems in the long run, too. When you have a leaky faucet fix on your hands, you need to act fast.
It's obvious that a leaky faucet needs to be fixed ASAP, but what happens when you don't know how to fix it yourself? Calling a plumber seems a little extreme, not to mention costly. But what alternative do you have when you don't know the first place to begin?
The answer lies here, on the internet, of course. It is perfectly possible to fix a leaky faucet yourself, as long as you have the right tools, can follow simple instructions, and are willing to try your hand at something new. Give yourself half an hour of time, and you should be able to master the DIY leaky faucet fix no problem.
Diagnosing the Cause of the Problem:
If you have a leaky faucet, you need to first diagnose the issue at its source. More often than not, a leaky faucet is caused by a worn out or incorrectly-placed washer or a looseness of the O ring. Both of these issues, once discovered, take just minutes to fix.
But before you give in, here's a simple explanation of the above.
The washer is a small, round piece of rubber, usually white or black, that can be found inside your faucet handle. O rings are thinner disks that are similar in appearance to washers. They are attached to the stem screw that holds the handle of the faucet in place.
If you still can't be certain of the exact cause of your leaky faucet, don't panic. You can find everything on Amazon for less than $10
So you won't be breaking the budget if you decide to play it safe and replace both.
TIP: Washers and O rings come in a number of different sizes. It may be best to take your old parts with you to a hardware store, to ensure that the new ones you buy are a perfect size match. Remember, though, if these have been worn down, they might be slightly smaller than what you are after.
Tools You'll Need:
-Replacement O rings
Step 1: Turning Off Your Water
First things's first, you'll need to turn off your water. The last thing you want is a jet stream hitting you in the face while you're busy at work. Underneath your sink, you should find a valve that connects to sink's water pipes. Usually turning it clockwise will do the trick.
It's wise to also plug your drain at this point. If you don't have a sink plug, lay a towel flat on the surface of your sink. This will prevent tiny screws and other necessary items from falling down the drain.
Step 2: Remove the Faucet Handle
Once you have tested your tap to ensure the water is switched off, it's time to remove the handle. If your handle has a decorative cap, remove this first. Next, unscrew the handle using your screwdriver, and remove it. Sometimes, the handle can stick. If this happens, simply nudge it up from the bottom with your flat-headed screwdriver.
Step 3: Unscrew the Packing Neck
Now your faucet handle is removed, you should be able to see the packing nut, a metal cylinder around the valve that provides a watertight seal, directly underneath. Remove the packing nut by twisting it anticlockwise with your wrench. It may be a little tight, so don't be afraid to use your strength.
Step 4: Remove the Valve
Next, the valve, or the stem, needs to be removed. Depending on the type of faucet you have, you might need to twist the valve. Otherwise, it should pop straight off with a bit of pulling pressure. If you're struggling to remove your twist-off, here's a trick: put the faucet handle back over the valve and twist anticlockwise. When you remove the handle, the valve should be removed also.
Step 5: Replace the Washer
Below this is where you will find the rubbery cylinder called the washer. Remove the washer and replace it with one of your newly-bought ones. Be careful to place the washer back in the exact location you removed the old one from. This way, you won't experience issues from incorrectly placing it.
Step 6: Replace the O Ring
You should find the O ring attached around the bottom part of the valve you removed earlier. Carefully remove it and replace it with the new one, making sure it is the perfect fit. Depending on whether your washer is cone-shaped or flat, you must buy the right O ring to smoothly slot into place when you return the valve.
Step 7: Reverse Your Steps
Once your issue has been fixed, reverse the above steps to reassemble your faucet. Your order of assembly should be washer, O-ring, stem, packing nut, screw, and finally, handle.
Make sure that everything is in the right place, and tightly screwed on. It is especially important to ensure the valve and packing neck are tightly in place, as if these are loose, they can cause more leakage.
Step 8: Test Your Handiwork
Now for the exciting part: turn your water on and check to see if you've got rid of the pesky leak. If you have, congratulations! If the leak still remains, you may want to go back and triple check that everything is correctly sized, in the right place, and tightened to the max.
Doing a DIY leaky faucet fix not only saves valuable time and money, it also prevents unnecessary water loss. There is no reason why anybody can't successfully replace a washer or O ring without the need for a professional. If your faucet has been leaking recently, have a go fixing it yourself. You will most likely be surprised at just how easy it is.