One of the most common potential plumbing concerns out there is a leak to one of your components, and faucets are a particular type that’s often impacted. While that slow drip from your faucet might not seem like a big deal, it’s wasting more water than you might think — and also may be signaling a larger concern that could eventually pose a much larger problem.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to help with a variety of plumbing services, including faucet repair and several related themes. We’ll also provide expertise on the initial causes of many faucet leaks we see, plus what you can do to avoid these risks ahead of time. Here’s a primer on leaking faucets, how they come about, why they’re a problem, and what you can do about them.
Why Are Leaking Faucets a Problem?
An old saying in the plumbing world is that a quarter-turn of the handle means a quart of water goes down the drain. That’s not an exaggeration — even slow leaks can waste water and money. That said, you may never know you have a leak if it doesn’t make any noise or create any other telltale signs. That could lead to some expensive surprises when a hidden leak starts causing other problems, such as mold or peeling wallpaper from excess humidity.
Leaking faucets also cause sanitary problems, as they allow bacteria to collect along the edges of your sink and countertops while leaving behind mineral deposits on your fixtures or tubs. All these risks combined should be enough to convince you that getting help with a leaking faucet is more than worth the time and expense.
Our next several sections will go over the most common causes of leaking faucets.
Damaged or Worn-Down Parts
Leaks are usually caused by worn-out or damaged parts. In a faucet, that could include the O-rings or gaskets that keep water from leaking out of your fixture, or possibly the packing nut underneath the handle or knob and other various nuts, washers, seals, springs, and other parts that connect to one another.
As your faucet ages, these parts wear out and need to be replaced. You can also tighten or lubricate most of these parts, but in some cases you might have to replace them outright. If you’re dealing with one of the tougher fixes — like a gasket replacement or something else that requires specific training — Action Plumbing is happy to help out to ensure the part is replaced properly.
High Water Pressure
In other cases, the cause of a leaking faucet can be traced back to water pressure that’s too high. Water pressure is a factor in how well your faucet seals around its O-ring or gasket to prevent leaks. The higher the water pressure, the tighter it’s going to need to be for proper operation and efficiency.
How do you know if your water pressure is too high? There are several ways, but one common method is to see if you can feel the water pressure behind your faucet’s handle or knob. If the water feels too forceful — as in it’s pushing back noticeably against your hand when you turn on the faucet — it could be causing a leak by stressing out your plumbing fixture and its parts.
Many faucet pressure issues will require the assistance of a plumber, especially if pressure needs to be restored to a previous level. If you’re unsure about any part of this process, leave this job to us.
Cracks in Faucet Plumbing
In rare cases, a faucet leak can be traced back to a crack in the plumbing lines that are connected to your sink or tub. That usually means you’ll see water leaking down from above your fixtures and dripping off the walls or ceiling near your faucet, which is an obvious sign you’ve got problems.
Once again, this is a job best left to the professionals. Do not try to repair these lines on your own, as they can be hard to reach and even harder to seal correctly.
Problems With Ignoring Faucet Leaks
Perhaps the single most common error among homeowners when it comes to this realm: Ignoring a small faucet leak, simply assuming that because it’s only a small drip, this isn’t really much of a problem.
Simply put, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even a small drip from your faucet can waste a surprising amount of water over time. For instance, if your faucet is leaking at the rate of just 1 quart (32 ounces) every two hours, that totals up to 748 quarts of wasted water per year.
The cost for this kind of leak doesn’t look quite as frightening until you put it in those terms. At a typical cost of $3 per 1000 gallons of water, a faucet leak that’s dripping at 1 quart every two hours wastes as much as $2165 per year on just water bills — probably enough to pay for most repair or replacement jobs in the first place!
This is why it’s so important for faucet leaks to be addressed immediately, either by the homeowner, a plumber or some combination therein. We’re happy to help with any and all faucet issues as soon as they arise, so do not delay in calling us.
For more on the culprits in a leaking faucet, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.