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Seven Common Causes of a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet is one of the most common plumbing problems that homeowners can encounter in their homes. It can be both annoying and expensive if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are a number of causes for a leaky faucet, and most of them are relatively easy to identify and fix. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at seven of the most common causes of a leaky faucet. 

1. Worn Out Washer

The most common cause of a leaky faucet is a worn-out washer. A washer is a small rubber seal that is placed between the faucet handle and the valve stem. Washers can wear out over time due to age and use, causing them to become brittle and unable to seal the connection between the handle and stem. Replacing the washer is a relatively simple fix that can be done in just a few minutes. 

2. Corroded Valves

Another cause of a leaky faucet is corrosion of the valve stem. Over time, certain minerals in the water can build up on the valve stem, leading to corrosion and eventual leakage. Replacing the valve stem is more involved than replacing a washer, but it is still a relatively simple process that can be done by most homeowners. 

3. Loose Connections

A third cause of a leaky faucet is loose connections. Over time, the connections between the pipes and the faucet can become loose, leading to water leakage. Tightening the connections is a simple job that can be done in just a few minutes. 

4. Cracked Faucet Pipes

A cracked pipe is another common cause of a leaky faucet. Pipes can become cracked due to age, wear and tear, or even freezing temperatures. Replacing a cracked pipe is a more involved process that is best performed by a professional plumber.  

5. Inadequate Sealant 

Sealant is used to create a watertight barrier between the faucet and the pipes. If the sealant is not applied correctly or if it has worn out over time, it can cause the faucet to leak. Replacing the sealant is another relatively simple task that can be done in just a few minutes. Some homeowners may feel comfortable tackling this project themselves 

6. Clogged Aerator

Sometimes faucets can leak because they have a clogged aerator. The aerator is a small screen at the end of the faucet that helps to regulate water pressure and flow. Over time, the aerator can become clogged with sediment and other debris, leading to a leaky faucet. Unclogging the aerator is an easy fix that most homeowners can do without calling in professional help. 

7. Malfunctioning Cartridge

Clearly, there are many factors that can contribute to a leaky faucet and one last potential cause is a malfunctioning cartridge. A cartridge is a small valve that is located inside the faucet that helps to regulate the flow of water. If the cartridge is malfunctioning or worn out, it can cause the faucet to leak. Replacing the cartridge is a more involved process, so most homeowners will feel more comfortable enlisting the help of a professional. 

Never Ignore a Leaky Faucet

Leaky faucets are a common nuisance in many homes. While they may seem like a minor annoyance, the effects of neglecting a leaky faucet can be much more serious than many people realize. 

Water Damage 

A small leak going from your kitchen faucet directly into your stainless steel sink might not cause any permanent damage, but other types of leaks can. Depending on the severity, water leaking from another part of the faucet or overflowing the sink could cause damage to the surrounding walls, floors, and ceilings. If the leak is left unchecked for an extended period of time, the water can seep into the walls and cause mold and mildew to form. This can lead to expensive repairs and can even cause health problems.

Higher Water Bills

Neglecting a leaky faucet can result in higher water bills. A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water over time, which can add up to a significant cost. In some cases, ignoring a leaky faucet can add as much as 10% or more to your monthly water bill.

Health Hazards

In some instances, ignoring a leaky faucet is just a nuisance. The constant dripping sound can be annoying and even impact your sleep. In other situations, if it’s not properly addressed in a reasonable amount of time, it could result in serious health problems for you and your family. That’s because persistent moisture can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful organisms. This can lead to a variety of illnesses, such as skin rashes, eye infections, and even respiratory infections.

Take Care of Your Leaky Faucet with the Help of WM Buffington

There are a number of potential causes for a leaky faucet and many of them can be identified and fixed relatively easily by most homeowners. The important thing to remember is that regardless of whether or not you decide to tackle the plumbing issue yourself, make sure that you address it quickly before it turns into a bigger problem. If the problem persists, or if you just want to make sure that it gets taken care of properly the first time, it’s usually best to contact a professional plumber.

For plumbing issues in Harrisburg and the surrounding Central Pennsylvania area, give WM Buffington a call! We have over 70 years of experience helping homeowners diagnose and fix all types of plumbing dilemmas from leaky faucets to clogged drains and even broken water heaters. Give us a call – we’re available 24 hours a day seven days a week! 

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