Table Of Contents

Faucet leaks are one of the most common household plumbing issues homeowners face. A leaking faucet wastes water and can lead to more significant water bills and potential damage to your home.

Understanding the causes behind faucet leaks is crucial in preventing them and addressing the problem promptly. Here, we will discuss why faucets leak and provide practical tips to help you fix or prevent leaks. Keep reading to learn more!

Causes of Leaky Faucets

Here are some of the reasons why faucets leak:

Normal wear and tear

  • Rubber O-ring Deterioration: Faucets contain rubber O-rings that form a tight seal within the moving parts to prevent leaks. Over time, these rubber O-rings can deteriorate due to constant water pressure and temperature changes, resulting in water dripping from the faucet.
  • Worn-out Washers: Another common cause of a leaky faucet is worn-out washers, especially in compression faucets. The constant compression and release of the washer against the valve seat during usage can cause it to degrade, leading to leaks.

Loose or damaged parts

  • Loose Faucet Handles: Loose handles can cause small leaks around the base of the handle when the faucet is in use. This usually occurs when the screws holding the handle become loose over time.
  • Damaged Cartridge or Valve Stem: Modern faucets often use cartridges or valve stems, which can develop cracks or damage due to mineral buildup or excessive force during usage. This damage can result in leaks around the faucet spout or handle.

Corrosion and mineral deposits

  • Corroded Valve Seat: The valve seat connects the faucet spout to the compression mechanism. Over time, sediment and mineral deposits can accumulate on the valve seat, causing it to rust. This corrosion can lead to water leaks around the spout base.
  • Mineral Deposits on Faucet Components: The presence of hard water can lead to the buildup of mineral deposits within faucet components. This mineral buildup can obstruct water flow, affect the faucet's performance, and potentially lead to leaks.

High water pressure

  • Water Hammer: High water pressure can cause a phenomenon known as water hammer, where sudden pressure changes inside the pipes create a shock wave. This shock wave can damage the faucet's internal parts and lead to leaks.
  • Erosion of Inner Seals: Excessively high water pressure can erode the inner seals and gaskets within the faucet, compromising their ability to create a tight seal. Consequently, leaks can occur.

Improper installation

  • Loose Connections: Poorly installed faucets can have loose connections, such as loose supply hoses or improperly tightened fittings. These loose connections can easily lead to leaks around the faucet.
  • Incorrect Washer Size: The wrong size washer used during installation can prevent the faucet from creating a proper seal. This misalignment can allow water to leak despite the faucet being closed.

Freezing temperatures

  • Pipe Expansion and Contraction: In regions with freezing temperatures, water that freezes within the pipes can expand and exert pressure on the faucet. The expansion and contraction of pipes as a result of freezing temperatures can cause damage to the internal components, resulting in leaks.

Dangers of Leaky Faucets

There are several potential dangers associated with leaky faucets:

  • Water wastage: Even a tiny leak can result in significant water wastage over time, leading to higher water bills and resource depletion. According to the prestigious Environmental Protection Agency, a one-drip-per-second leak can result in water wastage of over 3,000 gallons per year.
  • Structural damage: Continuous water dripping can lead to wear in the areas surrounding the faucet, such as countertops, sinks, and cabinets. Over time, this moisture can cause rotting, warping, staining, and deterioration of the affected surfaces, leading to costly repairs or replacement.
  • Mold and mildew growth: Moisture from a leaky faucet can create a conducive mold and mildew growth environment. These organisms can harm indoor air quality and cause respiratory problems like allergies, asthma attacks, or other health issues.
  • Damage to plumbing system: Persistent leakage can strain the plumbing system, resulting in issues such as pipe corrosion, worn-out seals, or even burst pipes. These additional problems can cause further water damage and require significant repairs.
  • Pest infestation: Stagnant water from a leak can attract pests like mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches. These pests can breed and multiply in a damp environment, creating an unhygienic and unpleasant living space.
  • Increase in utility bills: A dripping faucet can cause a significant increase in water and heating bills. Your water heater or tankless water heater might need to work overtime due to water wastage. The wasted water adds up over time, leading to unnecessary expenses that could have been avoided. 
  • Slip and fall accidents: Water accumulating around the faucet due to a leak can create slippery surfaces. This increases the chance of slip and fall injuries leading to sprains, fractures, or head trauma due to accidents.

Note: It is advisable to repair leaky faucets promptly to lessen these risks and prevent further damage or related problems.

How Can You Prevent Faucet Leaks?

You can prevent faucet leaks by taking the following steps:

  • Regularly check for leaks: Inspect the faucets in your home occasionally to identify any leaks. This includes both indoor and outdoor faucets.
  • Replace worn-out parts: Over time, the internal components of a faucet, such as washers, O-rings, or cartridges, can wear out. Inspect these parts and replace them if necessary to prevent leaks.
  • Avoid over-tightening: Do not overtighten the faucet handles, as this can cause more significant damage to the internal components and lead to leaks. Turn the handles gently until the water is properly shut off.
  • Install a pressure regulator: Excessive water pressure can strain faucets and cause leaks. Consider installing a pressure regulator on the primary water supply line to maintain proper and consistent pressure throughout your home.
  • Don't force stiff handles: If you have a stiff or difficult-to-turn handle, do not force it. Apply a lubricant or contact a plumber to fix the issue. Forcing the handle can break internal components and lead to leaks.
  • Use plumbers' tape: When installing or replacing faucets, apply some plumber's tape (Teflon tape) to the threaded connections. This helps create a tight seal and prevents leaks.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Certain cleaning chemicals can corrode the internal parts of faucets, leading to leaks. Use mild cleaners and avoid abrasive or chemical-based cleaners to prevent damage.
  • Fix leaks promptly: If you happen to notice a leak, repair it immediately. Ignoring or delaying the repair can worsen the problem and cause more extensive damage.
  • Hire a professional plumber: For more complex faucet installations or repairs, it is best to consult a professional plumber. They have the expertise and tools to ensure proper installation and prevent leaks.
  • Educate household members: Teach each member about the importance of not forcing or mishandling faucets. Proper usage and care can help prevent leaks and extend the life of your faucets.

Fixing Faucet Leaks Using Professional Plumbers

Various factors, including normal wear and tear, loose or damaged parts, corrosion and mineral deposits, high water pressure, improper installation, and freezing temperatures, can cause faucet leaks. Identifying the underlying cause of a leak is essential to effectively fix or prevent issues.

Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and professional assistance when needed can help you save water money and avoid potential damage in the long run. When seeking professional assistance, there are a few things you'll need to do, among which include researching and choosing a reputable professional.

You will need to look for licensed and experienced plumbers in your area. Check online for local reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family. You'll also need to inquire about their experience by asking the professional about their experience in fixing similar faucet leaks.

An experienced plumber will know how to accurately diagnose the plumbing problem and provide a reliable solution. If unsure about their validity, verify their licenses and insurance to ensure the professional has a valid license and insurance coverage. This will safeguard you from liability for damages or accidents during the plumbing repair.

Sugar Bear Home Services Gets It Done, Just Right!

If you're looking for the highest quality, professional plumbing services, call our team today!

More from Our Blog

You Might Also Like

See All Posts