A leaking bathroom faucet is not only annoying — it can significantly increase your monthly water bill if left to drip constantly. The leak will also get worse over time until it's fixed due to the way compression faucets work.
Common in older bathrooms, compression faucets use a washer to prevent water from leaking into the faucet head. Over time, all the shearing force from rotating the rubber washer against metal will degrade it, causing it to wear away. The problem is even worse if your home has hard water. You'll have to periodically replace the washer to prevent your compression faucet from leaking.
It's usually best to replace the O-rings at the same time and to replace them on both faucet handles at once since there's a good chance all of these components are wearing out. While this task is easy to do yourself, you should call professional plumbing services if you are worried about damaging your faucet or plumbing.
Turn Off the Water to the Faucet
Underneath the sink, you may see a shutoff valve for the faucet. This will either be a rotating valve or a lever. Turn the valve or pull the lever down to stop the flow of water to the faucet, then turn the handles of the faucet on to drain any remaining water. If your sink doesn't have a shutoff valve, you'll have to turn off the main water supply to your home.
Neglecting to do this step can lead to major water damage — when you remove the stem assembly, water will rush out of your faucet much faster than you ever thought possible. Always ensure water is turned off to your faucet before you work on it.
Remove the Stem Assembly and Purchase O-Rings and a Replacement Washer
You may have to remove a cap from the handle in order to expose the screw. Remove it gently with a screwdriver and then unscrew the handle to reveal the stem assembly. You'll see a hexagonal nut that can be rotated with pliers. Double check to ensure the water is off, and then rotate the nut to remove the stem assembly from the faucet.
Once the assembly is removed, remove the washer screw at the bottom of the assembly and pry off the washer. You'll need to remove the O-rings as well, which are the rubber rings on the threaded portion of the stem assembly. A good tip is to only do one faucet handle at a time so you have a reference for what the completed stem assembly should look like.
You'll need to go to the hardware store for replacement parts and some plumbing grease. Your washer and O-rings must be the exact same size as your original parts. You may have to purchase a kit that contains multiple washers of different sizes, but this is an inexpensive purchase.
Replace the Parts and Re-Install the Assembly
Apply a very small amount of plumber's grease to the O-rings and slide them onto the stem assembly where they were originally placed. Press the washer against the valve seat and screw it back in with the washer screw. Take your finished work, place it back into your faucet and tighten the hexagonally-shaped nut with your pliers. Reattach the handle and its cap, turn the water back on, and test to make sure the leak has stopped.
Replacing the washer and O-rings will fix the majority of compression faucet leaks. Unfortunately, it won't fix them all. The leak may be caused by extreme wear on the valve seat or damage to the faucet valve itself. Replacing the valve seat requires specialized plumbing equipment. If your faucet continues to leak, call professional plumbing services to have an expert inspect your faucet and stop your annoying and expensive leak.Share
5 April 2018
When I started focusing on plumbing problems, I realized that my home had more than it's fair share. I started thinking about what I needed to do in order to make things right, and it occurred to me that I should hire a professional to fix the problems. It was a little overwhelming at first, but after the plumber went through the property, things were a lot better. This blog is all about the importance of having a professional fix your plumbing problems. Check it out for more information that could help you to enjoy a happier life every day.