Drip. Drip. Drip. Every homeowner, at one point or another, has experienced a leaking faucet or showerhead. But, you’d be surprised at just how many proceed to ignore the problem for weeks, months, and even years. Take it from our plumbers: it’s much better, easier, and cheaper to just address these kinds of leaks right away. In this article, we’ll review the reasons you should deal with your dripping faucet or showerhead and some of the common ways to go about fixing the problem.
Is a dripping faucet that big of a deal?
The short answer is yes. A dripping faucet—even one with what seems like a relatively minor drip—can be a major, headache-inducing waste of water and money. Here’s how:
You’re wasting more water than you think
According to a water waste calculator from the USGS, a single dripping faucet losing water at the rate of one drop every minute (pretty slow, if you think about it) will waste a whopping 34 gallons of water over the course of a year. A faucet or showerhead that is leaking faster than that (say, 30 drips per-minute) will waste more than 1,000 gallons in a year. That’s a lot of water just being wasted—this use doesn’t even include the water your family uses on a daily basis.
Higher water bills
Yes, there’s a lot of water in Lake Michigan, and you’re probably not going to run Chicagoland dry. But, beyond the environmental impact, you’re probably inflating your water bills unnecessarily. Water isn’t free and it isn’t cheap: here in Oak Forest, our water rates and costs are higher than many other parts of the Chicago metro area (you can see where your community’s rates fall in this interactive survey from the Chicago Tribune).
Up all night
For many homeowners, the primary motivation to address a leaking faucet is that constant, obnoxious drip-drip-drip. Even sound sleepers might be kept up at night by this unending sound. Trust us: it gets old after awhile.
Take all these things into account, and there’s no real reason to waste the water—especially when the fixes are typically easy. Let’s dive into that subject in the next section.
What causes dripping faucets, and what should be done about them?
In most cases, fixing a dripping faucet or showerhead is a relatively straightforward task that homeowners can take on themselves. In some cases, you might need to give us a call—we offer free plumbing inspections here in the Chicago area.
Most sink faucet drips are caused by a worn-out rubber washer. As the faucet is used continually over the course of many years, the washer is continually worn through until eventually it is no longer able to keep the water completely inside of the fixture. As a result, water begins to leak out. The fix here is easy: handy homeowners can take apart the faucet and replace the washer with a new one from your local hardware store. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, be sure to call in one of our plumbers here at King to help.
In some cases, a corroded valve seat could also be to blame. The valve seat is vulnerable to long-term corrosion that can cause the spout of the faucet to leak water.
Similar to sinks, many shower leaks can be caused by a deteriorating washer. This washer is located inside of the showerhead. With the shower turned off, take apart the head and inspect this rubber washer. If it’s cracked or otherwise coming apart, try replacing that—this might be the source of your leak.
Many modern showers rely on a cartridge to control the flow of water as the shower’s user turns a handle. Over time, these cartridges may need to be replaced. This can be trickier: the exact method for taking apart the handle assembly and removing the cartridge from the pipe can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and specialized tools—such as pliers capable of getting all the way around the cartridge—are often required to remove the assembly from the pipe. If you’re not sure how to proceed or worried about damaging the plumbing behind your shower, be sure to call in an expert from our team.
No plumbing problem is too small. Call King for your VIP plumbing inspection!
At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, our experienced plumbers love helping local homeowners with their plumbing problems. We’re proud to be the team that offers free VIP plumbing inspections here in Chicagoland. If you’re dealing with the aggravation that is a leaking faucet or showerhead, don’t just wait around for it to magically fix itself—it won’t. Instead, call us for fast service you can count on.