Bathroom faucet leaking is a common problem. Don’t worry because the solutions are not worth a fortune. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a plumber or handyman either. You can fix bathroom faucet leaking on your own. The only thing you should not do is ignore the slow or incessant drips. Allowing a leak to fester will only worsen the problem and you would spend more money eventually.
• The first step of the whole process of fixing a bathroom faucet leaking is to turn off the water supply. You can reach the shutoff valve, usually under the sink or somewhere accessible in your bathroom. You don’t need to turn off the mains. Shutting the water supply to the bathroom will be good enough. If it is only the washbasin faucet or the bathtub faucet that is leaking then you can shut off the dedicated valves if you have them.
• Let the water drain by opening the faucet. Make sure the pipe or the stem is dry. You will need some tools including wrenches and screwdrivers. While you cannot do anything about a screwdriver, you can always tape the wrench so it doesn’t scratch or leave marks on the faucet. You will find mineral deposits, effects of corrosion and other stains on the faucet. You can use vinegar to clean these. Now before you can go further, you will need to know what type of faucet you have in your bathroom. The faucet may be one of the four types including ceramic disk, compression, ball type, and cartridge.
Fixing Bathroom Faucet Leaking
A compression faucet uses rubber washers. Worn out or damaged rubber washers will fail to seal the valve. These are also known as seat washers. The other types of faucets don’t have washers. Cartridge faucets or ceramic disk faucets don’t have the washer problem but they too can leak, mostly due to problems with the ‘O’ ring. Compression faucets usually have two handles. The others with the ‘O’ ring usually have one handle.
You need to check the seals, gaskets and rubber washers. You must look at the valve assembly to inspect these. Have the replacement parts with you as you start. Make sure you have identical replacement parts. If you find the whole faucet is corroded and damaged, then you must get a new faucet. In most cases, however, replacing the worn-out parts will be sufficient.
• To begin, get a pocketknife and try to pry off the handle insert. You will have some trouble depending on how old the faucet is and when was the last time you had the handle opened. Be gentle but assertive. Don’t be too forceful as you will break the handle. Use handle-pullers if you have them around. You may get them from the hardware store as well.
• Remove the handle, get to the escutcheon plate and unscrew it. You will get to the stem assembly. Remove it. You can use socket wrenches to remove the stem. Now look for the seat washer. You may find stiffened seat washers which will be prone to leaks since they don’t really seal properly. Get a seat wrench and remove it.
• Uninstall the stem, check all the parts, grease the ones you would continue to use and replace all the damaged parts. Whether you have corroded parts or some are deformed, don’t use parts that will affect the efficiency of the faucet or the water pressure. To get to the washer, remove the packing nut and slide out the stem valve assembly. Get rid of the old washer screw with the worn-out seat washer. Take the new washer, grease it and also lubricate the screw threads. Install the washer, grease the spline, reinstall the escutcheon plate and reinsert the handle.
• Single handle faucets need a replacement of the ‘O’ ring. You need to follow the same steps as with double handle faucets. The only difference will be the nature of the valve system and the O ring in place of the washer, not exactly at the same place but in functional terms. You would simply have to replace the O ring and that is if it is damaged. The other components may also be damaged, be it the valve stem or the handles that may have got loosened.
Whether you are dealing with single-handle faucets or double handle faucets, you should turn on the water supply after fixing the leak and then allow enough water to run out of the faucet to check if the leak has been repaired. You should turn off the faucet and wait for some time to look for drips. If there are no drips, then you can be certain that the leak has been repaired. It is quite possible that the leak will reappear if the repairing was faulty.