Common Causes Of Leaky Faucet And How To Fix Them

Are you getting tired of hearing the drip, drip, dripping of your leaky faucet? If you find yourself constantly waking up to the continuous dripping noises in the middle of the night, it’s time for you to fix that leaky faucet.

Such a small issue might not sound like the biggest deal, but even a single drop of water can be wasting water as well as your money. Yes, those little drops are adding to your utility bill. It might not be a lot, but why pay more than you need to?

No matter what, there is no doubt that a leaking faucet can be a real inconvenience if not attended to promptly. However, the good news is that most issues can be fixed by yourself without calling in a repairman. In fact, it can be surprisingly cheap and simple to repair.

3 Possible Reasons for a Leaky Faucet

Here are some issues that could be the cause of your leaking faucet:

O-Ring Issues

Often, leaks result from an issue with your faucet’s O-ring. As time passes, this ring can deteriorate or become damaged, meaning it will no longer be able to act as a proper seal. Repairing your O-ring is pretty straightforward and requires removing the faucet.

Depending on what kind of faucet you have, this shouldn’t be too hard to do. Screws and connections will vary from one faucet to another, so you will want to figure out the instructions for unscrewing your specific model. You can always look up the removal online for your specific brand so that you don’t cause unnecessary damage.

Washer Issues

Another common reason for a leaky faucet is a worn-out washer. Your washer will be subject to constant friction, which cannot be good for it. Washers deteriorate over time.

If they are not installed correctly, there can be a leak, which will need to be fixed by professionals. Call up a plumber or a contractor, if not your manufacturer.

A Corroded Valve Seat

Together, water and oxygen will create a perfect environment for corrosion. If the valve seat in your faucet gets corroded, it can start to break down, resulting in a leak. This kind of issue will need a full-on replacement of the valve seat.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet – DIY Guide

Before You Start

  • Make sure you have all the right equipment.
  • Close sink drain. Cover it with a rag to catch the parts that may be dropped.
  • Shut off the water under your sink.
  • Put all removed parts in the same place so you don’t lose them.
  • Remove mineral deposits found on faucet parts by using a soft scouring pad and distilled water.
  • Tape your wrench’s jaws using a layer of the duct so you don’t scratch your fixture.

Tools You’ll Need

  1. Adjustable C wrench
  2. Replacement washers and also O-rings
  3. Penetrating oil (WD-40 or CRC)
  4. Phillips or a flat-head screwdriver

Step #1: Know the Type of Faucet You Have

Figure out what kind of faucet you have. There are four types of faucets: compression, ceramic disk, cartridge or sleeve, and ball type.

A compression faucet makes use of rubber washers for sealing the valve seat. Since rubber washers tend to wear out, they must be replaced from time to time. The remaining types of faucets, also known as washerless faucets, generally last longer, although they tend to develop leaks.

In these types of faucets, you can choose to either replace the neoprene seal causing the leak or the O-ring.

Another option is to replace the entire fixture. If you decide to replace the entire thing, find a faucet brand you can count on to last for many years.

Step #2: Remove All Decorative Parts 

Do this by simply prying with a flat-head screwdriver. Below each knob, you will find a screw mounting the handle of the stem. After locating the screw, remove the handle gently using the flat-head screwdriver.

To help loosen the screw, use a little penetrating oil. This way, you can easily remove the faucet’s handle from the stem.

Step3: Loosen the Packing Nut With Your Wrench

It should be easy to see the stem at this point, which you also need to remove. Some stems will pop off right away, but this depends on the type of unit you have.

Some stems will need to twist from the valve. Inspect the parts you have removed for any damage as you remove them. Check for damage as you take the faucet apart.

Step #4: Check the O-ring

If you realize that all the parts you have removed are intact, you need to check the O-ring and the washer found inside the valve seat. These could very well be the reason for the leaking. Remove this washer and then put its replacement inside the valve seat.

It is important to ensure that the replacement O-rings and washers fit exactly the removed ones. If you are unsure about either of them being an exact fit, check the valve seat to determine if the sides are made to fit a flat washer or a cone-shaped one.

Purchase the appropriate type. You may need to bring your old O-ring to the hardware store to verify the perfect size.

Step #5: Reassembling the parts

At this stage, carefully reassemble all parts. The order of reassembly should be O-ring or washer first, followed by the stem, packing nut, the screws, and finally, the handle.

Gently and slowly turn your knob to see how the water runs. Check to find out if the faucet is still leaking or if the problem has been fixed.

If your faucet is still leaking, the problem might be caused by corroding the valve seat. If the valve seat is not cleaned regularly, it tends to cause leaks. Loose parts, worn-out seals, and broken plumbing are other potential causes of a leaky faucet.

If the fix is not as simple as the instructions above, then it might be time to call a professional plumber to come and take a look. Whatever the cause of your leaking faucet, a professional plumber will help identify, fix, and maintain the problem. 

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Mas Broto

Written by: Mas Broto

Mas Broto is a small business owner with 30 years experience in the real estate industry. He is the founder and editor of, the most comprehensive free home improvement website on the planet!

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