Do you ever remember lifting the handle on your faucet just a little bit too far and seeing a small stream of water leak out of the base? How about opening a bathroom sink valve and having water pool up behind the knobs? If so, you have seen the beginnings of a leaky faucet. These leaks usually start out small and get ignored, at least until they are leaking 24/7. If they aren't ignored they can actually be made worse by a well meaning DIY repairman.
Our Saratoga plumbers know that, while you may be tempted to tighten down the pipes at the first sign of a leak, this isn't always the best solution. The majority of leaks are caused by a cracked seal or washer. In standard compression type faucets, like those found in bathrooms, the washers and seals are repeatedly compressed and released to allow water to flow. Repeated torquing of the seal breaks down the rubber and causes cracks, especially in areas where use is infrequent and the seals dry out. Replacing the washers and seals will usually eliminate the leak.
Of course, all faucets aren't bound by washers. There are three types of washerless systems: disk, cartridge and ball. The type is determined by the shape of the sealing mechanism.
In disk systems, there are two seals. Our Saratoga plumbing team has seen both of these fail at one time or another. These two seals, the inlet and outlet seals, are located at either end of the main water line. They are disk shaped rubber seals that compress around the threading of the water pipe. Replacing them is as simple as unscrewing the pipe and popping them off. Slip new seals around the pipe and retighten.
Cartridge systems are a bit simpler. There is an O ring that attaches at the base of the cartridge to the faucet. If it begins leaking the whole unit needs to be replaced. There are thousands of different replacement cartridges on the market so you must make sure to match the one you have exactly. Major home improvement and hardware stores often carry the most common brand in the area but you may need to order a replacement online if you have a faucet rare to the area.
In a ball system there are both O rings and inlet seals. If the handle of your faucet leaks, remove the handle and tighten down the adjusting seal. If this doesn't fix the problem you'll need to replace the inlet seals and springs. If fixing the inlet doesn't stop the leak, your ball has cracked or warped and you'll need to purchase a new one.
Of course, if you don't have the time to replace a seal on your own, you can call in our Saratoga California plumbing team to get it done for you. We're always happy to help you get your plumbing back in working order. We're always phone friendly and ready to deploy within minutes, so you should never hesitate to call.