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10 Common Causes of a Leaking Faucet and How to Repair Them


Dec 11, 2023
Leaking Faucet and How to Repair Them

A dripping faucet can be a persistent nuisance, not to mention a potential source of wasted water and increased utility bills. If you’ve ever wondered what causes that incessant drip and how to stop it, you’re in the right place. Ten common culprits behind a leaking faucet and provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix leaking faucets. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or simply want to understand the inner workings of your plumbing, those needing professional assistance, we’ll connect you with trusted plumbers in New Jersey who can help you bid farewell to that pesky leak.

1. Worn-Out Washer 

A worn-out washer is a frequent culprit behind a leaking faucet. These small rubber or plastic components sit inside the valve seat, creating a watertight seal when the faucet is turned off. Over time, due to the constant friction and water pressure, washers can deteriorate and lose their effectiveness. As a result, water can seep through, leading to that annoying drip. Fortunately, replacing the washer is typically a straightforward and cost-effective repair. By turning off the water supply, disassembling the faucet, and installing a new washer, you can end the leak and enjoy a drip-free faucet once again.

2. Damaged O-Ring 

Much like washers, O-rings serve as seals in the faucet to prevent water from escaping. However, O-rings are typically used in cartridge faucets and are positioned around the valve stem. Over time, these rubber or silicone rings can become damaged or worn out, resulting in leaks around the base of the faucet handle. Replacing the O-ring is a relatively straightforward repair. You’ll need to disassemble the faucet handle, remove the old O-ring, and replace it with a new one of the appropriate size. This repair should effectively resolve the leakage issue at the handle’s base.

3. Corroded Valve Seat 

A corroded valve seat is a common reason for leaks around your faucet’s spout. The valve seat is the connection point between the faucet and the spout. Over time, mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate, leading to corrosion and damage. This corrosion creates gaps and allows water to escape, resulting in a persistent drip. Repairing this issue involves cleaning or replacing the valve seat. You’ll need to disassemble the faucet, access the valve seat, and clean it thoroughly using a special tool or replace it if the corrosion is extensive. Addressing the corroded valve seat can restore your faucet’s functionality and eliminate those troublesome leaks.

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4. Worn-Out Cartridge 

Cartridge faucets are commonly found in many modern homes due to their durability and ease of use. However, the cartridge inside the faucet can wear out over time, leading to leaks. The cartridge controls the flow of hot and cold water, and when it becomes worn or damaged, it can no longer maintain a watertight seal. Fixing this issue typically involves replacing the cartridge with a new one. Begin by shutting off the water supply, disassembling the faucet, removing the old cartridge, and installing the new one according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This repair should resolve the leaks and restore proper water flow.

5. Loose Parts 

Sometimes, a leaking faucet can be attributed to loose components within the assembly. Handles, adjusting rings, or screws may gradually become loose due to regular use and temperature fluctuations. When these parts are not tightly secured, water can find its way through the gaps, resulting in a leak. To address this issue, inspecting all the faucet’s parts and tightening any loose components is essential. A simple wrench or pliers can secure handles and other elements in place. Regular maintenance, which includes checking for and tightening loose parts, can prevent leaks from occurring and extend the life of your faucet.

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6. High Water Pressure 

While adequate water pressure is essential for a functional plumbing system, excessively high water pressure can be detrimental to your fixtures and lead to leaks. The increased pressure can strain the faucet’s components, causing them to wear out prematurely and develop leaks. Consider installing a pressure regulator in your plumbing system to mitigate this issue. A pressure regulator reduces the incoming water pressure to a safe and manageable level, protecting your faucets and pipes from unnecessary stress. By maintaining balanced water pressure, you can prevent future leaks and extend the lifespan of your plumbing fixtures.

7. Cracked Pipes 

A leaking faucet can sometimes be traced back to cracks or damage in the pipes that supply water to the faucet. These pipes can develop small fissures or more significant cracks due to various factors, including age, freezing temperatures, or physical damage. Water escaping from these cracks can manifest as a faucet leak. To address this issue, it’s crucial to inspect the pipes for visible damage carefully. If you identify any compromised sections, they should be promptly replaced to stop the leak and prevent further water wastage or potential water damage to your home.

8. Improper Installation 

Even the highest-quality faucets can experience leaks if they are not installed correctly in the first place. Incorrect installation can result in gaps or misalignments that prevent the faucet from forming a watertight seal when turned off. To rectify this issue, it’s essential to consider reinstalling the faucet according to the manufacturer’s guidelines or seeking professional assistance. Proper installation ensures that all components are aligned correctly, allowing the faucet to function as intended without leaks. Whether installing a new faucet or re-installing an existing one, following the recommended procedures is essential for preventing leaks and maintaining a functional plumbing system.

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9. Faucet Age 

Like any other fixture, faucets have a lifespan. Over time, the materials and components within the faucet can deteriorate, making it more prone to leaks. If you have an aging faucet that continually drips despite attempts to repair it, it may be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Modern faucets offer improved functionality and are designed with durability in mind. Upgrading to a new faucet can not only resolve the issue of leaks but also enhance the overall efficiency and aesthetics of your plumbing fixtures.

10. Mineral Buildup 

Mineral buildup, particularly in areas with hard water, can significantly contribute to faucet leaks. Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can accumulate within the faucet and restrict water flow. This buildup can cause increased pressure inside the faucet, leading to leaks. Preventing this issue involves regular cleaning and descaling of your faucet. A descaling solution or vinegar can help break down and remove mineral deposits, restoring proper water flow and preventing leaks. By incorporating regular maintenance into your routine, you can keep your faucet in top condition and reduce the likelihood of mineral-related leaks.


Don’t let a leaking faucet continue to drip away your resources. For comprehensive plumbing services and expert assistance, including fixing leaky faucets, contact Zeek Plumbing. Their team of experienced professionals is ready to help you resolve any plumbing issues promptly and efficiently. Visit their website to learn more and take the first step toward a leak-free home and reduced water bills.

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