Drip … drip … drip. You can fix that leaking faucet that's been making you crazy. It's easier than you think — and much less expensive than hiring a plumber. And although there are many styles and models of faucets, the process of repairing a dripping faucet is similar for all of them.
The first step is to figure out what type of faucet you're trying to fix. Compression faucets control water by pressing a stopper against a metal opening inside the faucet. It's like tightening the top on a bottle: As you turn the lid, it becomes tighter until it stops liquid from pouring out. If a faucet has separate handles for hot and cold water, it's probably a compression faucet.
There are three general styles of another type — washerless faucets: ball, ceramic disc and cartridge. These all work on the same principle: aligning two holes within the faucet to allow water through and moving the holes out of alignment to stop the flow of water. Washerless faucets usually have only one handle, but some cartridge faucets have two handles.
Regardless of which type of faucet you have, leaks most often stem from plastic or rubber seals (washers, seals, O-rings) wearing out and allowing a little bit of water to sneak past. It takes only a slightly worn or damaged seal to allow a drip of water to pass by every few seconds.
Common tools you'll need for faucet repairs include screwdrivers (both flat and Phillips), pliers and a channel lock (adjustable jaw pliers). Then follow these easy steps:
Most parts of a faucet are made of soft metal that scratches easily. To protect the outside parts, cover them with masking tape before applying a plier.
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