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Worn Out Seals & Other Causes for Your Leaky Faucet

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Last Updated on: January 9, 2024

Drip. Drip. Drip. It’s hard to listen to and even harder on your pocket and your plumbing. A leaky faucet can be caused by a variety of plumbing problems, but the good news is that most of these isues don’t require a brand new faucet or all new pipes.

relaxed seal

Here are the top reasons your faucet might be leaking.

  • Your washer has lived out its lifespan and needs to be replaced. If your faucet is leaking around the spout, chances are good that the washer is the culprit. Each time you turn on your faucet, the washer is pushed against the valve seat, causing friction. Over time, it will get worn down and you’ll need to install a new one. It’s also possible that your washer was installed incorrectly and needs to be adjusted. You may need help from a professional plumber to get it right.
  • The valve seat is corroded or needs to be cleaned. This is a part of your faucet where water has a tendency to collect. Over time, the natural minerals in your tap water can eat away at the valve seat, resulting in a leak. Preventative cleaning is the best way to avoid needing a valve seat replacement.
  • O-ring issues. If you have a cartridge faucet, there are several things that can go wrong with the o-ring internally, all of which are likely to result in leaking or dripping. Regular wear and looseness are common problems. You can recognize this issue because your faucet will be leaking at the handle rather than the spout, but a new o-ring can fix things right up.
  • Your seals are all worn out. Playing in the water all day is tiring for the marine mammals, and it can wreak havoc on the seals in your faucet, too! If you keep the inlet and outlet seals free from minerals and sediment (a natural result of being exposed to tap water), you can help extend their longevity. However, too much build-up can result in the need for new seals – a job for an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a professional plumber.
  • The packing nuts have become loose. The packing nuts in your faucet (not to be confused with the packing peanuts that protect your valuables during shipping) can loosen over time. Loose packing nuts are a secondary cause of leaking around the handle of a faucet. They can usually be tightened up without needing any replacement parts.  
  • There’s a deeper issue. It’s rare, but sometimes problems within your pipes themselves can cause a faucet to drip or leak. Cracks can cause fluctuations in water pressure that lead to drips that are otherwise hard to detect and repair. If you’ve already investigated the options above, it may be time to call a plumber who can look beyond the faucet itself to diagnose and repair any issues.

As you can see, most leaky faucet causes have to do with a lack of maintenance. Talk to us about our regular maintenance agreements that will allow our expert plumbers to evaluate your plumbing and catch potential problems before they turn into larger issues (and start costing you a lot of money). 

When it comes to your plumbing, DIY attempts can be risky. If you don’t want to brave the repairs yourself, SSI is on hand to help. Schedule an appointment today and we’ll put an end to the dreadful drip, drip, dripping

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