Faucet Repair & Maintenance

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Noisy pipes, dripping water, and other common faucet issues can drive any homeowner crazy. Luckily, repairing a faucet can be a very simple process. Even the most inexperienced handyman can learn the basics of faucet design and avoid the expense of hiring a plumber. It all comes down to where the problem is. Below are some common faucet problems and their fixes so that you can put a stop to those annoying drips, agonizing groans, and high water bills.

Problem 1: Your Faucet Shakes and Groans

If a hand-numbing vibration begins when you turn on your water, then the problem is your pipes. If your pipes are too small they won’t be able to handle the pressure of the water coming into the faucet. Alternatively, clogged pipes could also be the culprit.

How to Fix It:

Whether your pipes are too small or they are clogged by years of dirt and mineral deposits, replacing them with new ones will help. Then again, this is the most drastic of all solutions in this list.

It could be that a loose washer in the faucet is the source of your problems. Most faucets come apart quite easily, so you would need only to remove the tap handle and unscrew the stem to tighten the washer.

Sometimes the answer rests in cleaning the seat of a tap, and this is an especially likely solution if you have hard water. Simply disassembling a faucet and cleaning the insides can solve or minimize a myriad of plumbing problems.

Problem 2: Annoying Leaks

Leaky faucets can be a sign that your faucet is getting too old or that something was installed incorrectly.  Tub faucets are really no different from those in a kitchen or traditional bathroom sink. The only real difference is that sink pipes are often hidden in a cabinet while bathtub pipes are usually hidden behind a panel in the wall.

How to Fix It:

1. To repair a bathtub faucet, start by removing the decorative cap on the knob. After this, you can remove the screw in the middle and twist the knob off.

Keep in mind that, if the shower is old, the knob may be welded on from heat and moisture. Luckily, there are special tools to help with faucet knobs. These tools grab hold of the knob on both sides and pull upward like a plunger. When it comes to super stubborn knobs, a hair dryer might help loosen the corrosion that’s keeping it stuck.

2. Once the knob and screw are removed, you can remove the plate that holds everything to the wall. You can then utilize special socket wrenches to pull the stem out of the wall. The stem bonnet should be turned counterclockwise.

3. Now it’s time to turn your attention to the seat, which is the last piece on the back of a stem. You you can tighten or replace the seat washer using a seat wrench, which reaches way back into the wall like a torque wrench. Keep in mind that new seats should be greased before they are tightened into place.

4. Check the stem for any repairs that might be necessary, then screw it back into place. The plate and the knob should be returned to their previous positions.

It is worth noting that repairing leaky sinks is not nearly as involved a process. Sink faucets have the same parts as other types of faucets. The main difference is that they sit on top of the sink basin.

Problem 3: Discolored Water

If your water is brown, yellow, orange, or otherwise discolored, this is usually an indication of rust or some form of mineral buildup in your water lines.

How to Fix It:

For the easiest fix, run the water until it clears. If the water fails to clear, however, you should report it to the city. Persistent water discoloration indicates that the city water system may need to be flushed. In extreme cases, the previously mentioned solution of new pipes may be your best bet.

In Summary

Minor faucet issues can often be resolved by something as simple as tightening or replacing a part. Sometimes the issue rests with the pipes themselves. If the issue involves water leaks, however, it is more than likely that a seal or gasket has gone bad somewhere in the system.

Understanding the ins and outs of a faucet is the basis of all faucet repairs. When in doubt, it is best to install a new faucet. In fact, many professionals say that it’s optimal to replace fixtures every 10 to 15 years. Doing things yourself has its perks, but there is no shame in calling a professional. This is especially true regarding problems that concern the pipes. Good plumbing is essential to any household, so paying to get it right is certainly worth it.

Author

Dan