This post will help you describe what is leaking or broken in your faucet. This is the critical first step in repairing the faucet. Regardless of whether you are trying to repair the faucet yourself or want to better describe to someone else what is happening to your broken leaking faucet. The first challenge I face when trying to help a customer by repairing a “leaking” faucet is: what do they mean? Faucets can have several different types of leaks;
- The faucet does not turn off completely so that water is dripping from the spout.
- Water leaks into the cabinet below the sink
- When the faucet is turned on
- At all times, regardless of whether the faucet is on or off
- Water leaks at the base of the faucet, just above where it attaches to the sink.
- If none of these descriptions fit your situation, you might try looking at my Kitchen Sink leaks video.
The least expensive service call to repair a broken leaking faucet is the one where I have the parts with me on the first visit.
The easiest faucets to repair are cartridge (vs. washer type) from manufacturers where they use the same parts across a large number of faucets. The design and operation of the cartridge is a critical aspect of ease of repair. For these reasons I my favorite manufacturer is Delta. This is because a very small handful of parts will repair almost any faucet they’ve made. Which brings me to the next type of faucet.
Tub faucets that are two handled typically turn the water on and off by pressing a flat washer against a “seat.”
The good news is that I carry a range of washers that fit most of these types of faucets. Many times replacing the washers keeps the faucet functioning. Many times the faucet still drips after a repair, but much less than before the repair. Two handled faucets from the 1920’s and 1930’s are the best made. There are no guarantees with trying to repair any faucet especially old faucets. I advise against trying to repair two handled tub faucets. Many two handle tub faucets made in the 1950’s-present were poorly designed (read: cheaply made) and thus have a very small chance of being successfully repaired.
Unfortunately, there are a range of challenges that can crop up to derail the repair process. What I do is show you the status of your faucet as I take it apart. Usually the faucet is much easier to operate after the washer is replaced. On occasion the faucet still drips slightly after the repair. This can be due to a flaw in the seat. For many reasons it is not possible to replace the seat even though the faucet was originally designed so that this could be done.
If it cannot be repaired, I will advise you of that and put it back together. The faucet still functions which gives you time to make important decisions about when to replace, what to replace it with, budgeting for the work, etc.
Some of my clients purchase faucets from discount home centers, then ask me to install them. I don’t like to do this for the following reasons:
- If the faucet comes out of MY box, I provide a one year parts and labor warranty. This means that if the faucet is defective, from the time of install and for the next 12 months, I will repair it at no charge to you. This warranty does not include abnormal usage.
- If the faucet is purchased by the customer, the customer has warranty responsibility. This means that the customer has to incur the additional costs of disasembly, returns, and reassembly/installation of the replacement faucet or parts.
- I have seen faucets purchased at a retailer that stop functioning that the customer tells me are only 1 to 2 years old. The cost of locating the parts makes replacement the better (if frustrating for the customer) solution.
- Some retailers sell faucets for which there are no repair parts