How Much Water Is Wasted from a Dripping Faucet?

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How Much Water Is Wasted from a Dripping Faucet?

Water dripping from a bathroom faucet - Williams Comfort Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & More

A dripping faucet in the home leads to costly repercussions. In Indianapolis, Indiana, homeowners want fast, reliable techniques to deal with a leaky faucet to prevent the issues which may stem from this household problem. The amount of water wasted by dripping faucets impacts water bills, the environment, and the home. 

At Williams Comfort Air, we take a dripping faucet seriously. We inform homeowners about the most common causes of a drippy faucet and let them know the best way to fix it. DIY solutions for this plumbing problem are easy for every homeowner. It’s important to take your leaking faucet seriously, so be sure to follow these tips when your faucet drips. 

Causes of a Dripping Faucet

Most homeowners experience a dripping faucet at least once during their time in a home. While inconvenient and annoying, the causes of this problem are relatively easy to diagnose and typically don’t take much to fix. Here are some of the most common reasons why a faucet drips:

  • Water pressure. If you notice the faucet dripping at certain times of the day or when you use another water fixture, the drip likely stems from water pressure issues. Because one fixture connects to all other fixtures via pipes, any water pressure problems impact the system as a whole.
  • Valve seat. One of the most important parts of a faucet fixture is the valve seat because it connects the faucet to the spout. Mineral buildup collects on the seat valve which causes it to corrode. When this happens, a dripping faucet is a common occurrence. 
  • Seals. Inlet and outlet seals both keep water from leaking from the faucet. When one or both of these seals wear down from water sediments and use, drips are more likely to occur. Along with corrosion from water sediments, the seals are worn down over time because of infrequent cleaning.
  • O-ring. O-rings are a small disc component used to hold the faucet handle in place. When this dislodges or wears out, a water leak occurs near the handle. 
  • Loose or broken parts. Loose or broken parts of the faucet lead to a dripping faucet. Some parts on the faucet are hard to assess without a professional around, so take a look on your own, but remember to call a plumber if you are not able to identify and fix the issue on your own. It’s important to replace broken parts with an identical part to avoid future drips.
  • Cartridge. Cartridges control the amount of water going through the faucet. A dripping sink happens when the cartridge gets loose or wears out. Owning a replacement cartridge helps when you’re in a pinch and need to replace it fast.
  • Washers. Washers and valve seats work together to connect the spout and faucet. The washer rubs against the valve seat every day, which causes it to wear out over time. The washer breaks down enough for water to drip through when left without attention for too long. Additionally, incorrect washer installment causes a dripping faucet.  

Dripping Faucet Problems

Even though the common causes of a leaking faucet aren’t too extreme, going without repairs leads to disastrous problems. From unnecessary costs to water damage, the repercussions of an unfixed faucet drip impact homeowners in negative ways. Because of this, be sure to take care of dripping faucets as quickly as possible to avoid these issues. 

 

  • Mold and mildew. Firstly, mold and mildew forms when water is left to collect. When a dripping faucet goes for too long, mold and mildew have a higher chance of growing in the area where water has leaked. Mold and mildew growth damages the home and puts your family at risk of health issues due to exposure.
  • Costly water bills. Next, dripping faucets lead to higher water bills. For every gallon of water used, homeowners are charged for the usage. When water continuously drips from the sink, you are still charged for the many gallons lost from the drip. This raises your water bill significantly the course of an active dripping faucet. 
  • Water damage. In the worst-case scenario, water damage occurs from a dripping faucet. Though most causes of drippy faucets are minor, some are more serious and require the help of a plumber. If these types of drips go untreated, water damage becomes a possibility. It is difficult to detect if the leak originates from something deeper in the plumbing, so avoid the risk by quickly handling the drip.
  • Water wasted. Lastly, water is wasted when the faucet drips. On average, 3,000 gallons per year are wasted from dripping faucets according to the EPA. This negatively impacts the environment as well as local water supplies. When water usage goes up, everyone in the community suffers from the repercussions.   

 

A dripping faucet has relatively simple fixes, so it’s important to take the time to fix them in a timely manner. Drips left alone for a long time cause the issues listed above, which are much harder to deal with than an easy leaky faucet fix. 

How to Fix a Dripping Faucet

Many homeowners are able to fix their dripping faucets without the help of a plumber. The solutions usually entail nothing more than taking the faucet apart and replacing some parts. As long as you put the parts back in the correct order, the faucet stops leaking. 

If you are comfortable attempting the repair yourself, here’s what to do when you encounter a dripping faucet:

  • Turn off the water. Before anything else, turn off the water supply. The last thing you want is for water to burst out like a fountain while you’re trying to make fixes. Turn off the water first to avoid this troubling scenario. 
  • Cover sink drain. Don’t forget to cover the sink or bath drain with a drain stopper before you begin. When you remove the small parts on the faucet, they have the potential to fall down the drain. Retrieving these items from the drain causes unnecessary stress, wastes time, and may lead to a lost or damaged component. Be sure to prevent this problem by covering the drain.
  • Remove the handles, packing nut, and stem. In order to access the essential parts of the faucet, remove the handles, packing nut, and the stem. Sometimes, these parts are the cause of the drip if they are loose or damaged in some way. In many cases, you only need to take them off and give them a quick clean. 
  • Assess the O-ring, washer, and valve seat. The crucial parts of the faucet are the O-ring, washer, and valve seat. Take these parts off and check them for wear. In most cases, these are the parts causing the dripping faucet, so carefully inspect each piece. You’re looking for corrosion, worn areas, or sediment collection. 
  • Clean with white vinegar. After all the parts are removed, scrub them gently with white vinegar. This removes any water sediment buildup on the parts. Sometimes, all the parts need is a good cleaning to fix the dripping. Try this before doing more involved fixes. 
  • Replace parts. Lastly, if the cleaning doesn’t work, replace the O-ring or washer. Make sure the new part fits the faucet exactly. Anything too big or small allows water to pass through. Bring the old part with you to the hardware store if you are unsure of what to get. 

Call A Professional for a Dripping Faucet

Despite the homeowner’s best efforts, sometimes a dripping faucet needs the attention of a professional plumber. When the at-home methods don’t work, call a plumber to fix the issue. Some deeper issues are possible when the DIY fixes aren’t able to fix the problem. A plumber fixes these possible sources of your dripping faucet:

  • Loose parts. Loose part corrections usually covered in DIY solutions, but this isn’t always possible if the loose parts are hard to locate. A plumber diagnoses which parts are loose in a visit and tighten them with special tools. For example, they use a seat wrench—which most homeowners don’t have—to tighten a valve seat.
  • Worn seals. Seals need to be handled by a professional because homeowners are not usually versed in seal replacement. When installed incorrectly or if an improper replacement seal is purchased, seals cause more leaks than the original dripping faucet. Clean the seals regularly to avoid spur of the moment leaks from the seals. Cleaning extends the lifespan of inlet and outlet seals. 
  • Valve seat corrosion. Valve seat corrosion needs to be handled by a plumber. A plumber knows how to effectively clean or tighten a valve seat. As previously stated, plumbers carry a seat wrench in their toolbelt, which is the correct tool used to remove or tighten a valve seat. 
  • Broken plumbing. When all else fails, a plumber takes a look at the plumbing system as a whole. Though a leaking faucet normally doesn’t have serious causes, a deep-seated issue in the pipes needs to be considered if nothing else fixes the issue. When there’s a problem with the plumbing, you need a professional to fix it.

Williams Comfort Air Handles Your Dripping Faucet

Williams Comfort Air deals with plumbing problems every day, so your dripping faucet is no problem for our professionals. However, with the DIY tips on this list, homeowners across Indianapolis, Indiana are able to deal with dripping faucets on their own. Never waste water again with this expert advice!

For more information on our services, give us a call today. We offer free service estimates and are ready to help with any plumbing problems you have. We look forward to hearing from you!

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