Today, most faucets can be categorized as being "washerless
(port-type faucets), or of the Compression (washer) type.
Washerless faucets can be either single handle or
the two handle type. In washerless faucets, the control of the water flow
is done by a replaceable cartridge or arrangement of seals that allow
water flow when the holes or ports are lined up in the proper configuration.
Giving the handle an extra hard twist to stop water flow will be ineffective.
This type of faucet does not use compression strength to stop water flow.
A washerless faucet does not mean it will never leak,
but rather because of the way it is designed, the parts will last much
longer, as their design minimizes friction and wear.
When repairing this type of faucet or requesting service
on one, it is vital that you know the brand name, or have a sample of
the part you require, as there are hundreds of faucet cartridges and parts
kits on the market today.
Your licensedplumber will carry an extensive assortment
of faucet parts in his service truck, but it is impossible to carry absolutely
every part. So it can be very helpful if he knows in advance, the brand
In a compression type faucet, you will find the conventional
setup - a faucet washer on the end of the stern. Replacing the washer
usually will correct a dripping faucet.
However, when removing the stem, always check the
seat inside the faucet body - the brass ring that the washer grinds against.
The faucet seat can be worn or grooved, making the washer replacement
ineffective within days. The washer and seat are the two parts of a compression
type faucet that receives the greatest amount of wear. It is not difficult
to replace a washer. First, shut off the water supply. Usually, the shut-off
valve is under the sink in the kitchen, or in the bathroom, under the
lavatory basin. If there is none, shut off the branch-line valve in the
basement or the main valve where the water supply enters the house.
Pad a smooth jawed wrench with a cloth, then, using
the padded wrench, unscrew the large packing nut and turn out the faucet
stem. Then, with a screw driver that fits the screw slot closely, remove
the screw from the bottom of the stem and pry out the worn washer. If
the screw is tight or stubborn, tap its head lightly or apply penetrating
Next, clean out the washer seat or compartment. When
this is done, insert the new washer of the correct size and composition
for hot or cold water.
Some of the newer, soft neoprene washers are for both
hot and cold water and have a long life. The washer should fit snugly
without having to be forced into position. After inserting, replace the
screw and tighten.
It is usually just as expensive to renew a seat as
it is to buy a new faucet, unless it has been made with a renewable seat.
Check with your plumber about a badly worn faucet.
With cloth over finger, clean the valve seat inside
the faucet. The edge should be smooth and free from deep nicks. If you
find it badly worn, you will probably need to replace the seat or have
the entire faucet replaced by the plumber. Otherwise, it will leak again.
Next, replace the faucet stem and turn it in. Tighten
the packing nut. Be careful not to tighten the nut more than necessary
to stop seepage around the faucet stem.
Remembering that a faucet leaking 60 drops a minute
(not unusual) will waste 2,299 gallons of water every year. Homeowners
should repair leaky faucet at once. You pay twice - once for the water
going through the meter, and then again on your sewer bill, which is based
on water usage.