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How Do You Repair a Leaky Compression Faucet?

Even tiny drips and leaks can lead to serious water waste over time. To avoid wasting water and money, it’s helpful to know how to fix a leaky compression faucet, which is the most common type of faucet used in homes.

The plumbers at Douglas Cooling & Heating share guidance on how to repair a leaky compression faucet yourself. If you’re unable to resolve the leak or are not comfortable performing the steps yourself, please give us a call – our plumbers will be happy to address this issue for you.

What Is a Compression Faucet?

Compression faucets are the original faucets that have existed since indoor plumbing came into style. They’re commonly found in older homes and may also be used in newer homes because their cost is low compared to other faucet styles.

Compression faucets are easy to identify from other faucet types because they have separate hot and cold handles. These handles are twisted open to allow water to flow and tightened down in order to close off water supply. The faucets have a compression stem (which is sort of like a screw) and a washer that sits at the compression stem’s end, up against the valve seat.

Why Do Compression Faucets Leak?

Unfortunately, compression faucets are more prone to leaks than other types of faucets – they also require more maintenance. Because leaks are common, it’s important to know the causes as well as how to repair a leaky compression faucet.

The most common reason for a leak in a compression faucet is a worn-out washer. As time goes on, the washer inside the faucet that shuts off water flow when the handle is tightened wears out. When the washer goes bad, water flow isn’t stopped, so the faucet will leak. Typically, replacing the washer is what is needed to stop a leak in this type of plumbing fixture. A bad O-ring can also be the culprit behind leaks.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

As you disassemble the faucet, keep parts in order so you know how to reassemble them correctly. If you need replacement parts, take the old part with you to the hardware store to ensure you purchase the correct size and component.

Follow these steps to repair a leaky compression faucet:

  • Shut off the water supply to the faucet, then open the handles to drain any remaining water.
  • Remove the decorative handle cap so the attachment screws are exposed.
  • Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the handle screw, then remove the handle.
  • Unscrew the packing nut that sits below the handle with a crescent wrench.
  • Loosen the handle stem from the faucet body using a wrench.
  • Unscrew the washer at the bottom of the handle stem, and replace it with a new washer. Coat it in heat-proof plumber’s grease to protect it.
  • Check the O-ring for damage, and replace it if necessary with an O-ring of matching size, coating it with plumber’s grease.
  • Remove the packing nut from the stem assembly. Remove mineral deposits and corrosion with a brush. Check for pitting, corrosion, or other damage. If any damage is found, replace the entire stem valve.
  • Check the faucet seat (where the valve stem was removed from) for damage, which may occur when leaks persist long-term. With your finger, feel along its surface for pits or rough spots. If you find any pitting, roughness, or corrosion, the entire faucet should be replaced.
  • Reassemble the stem valve in the correct order. Tighten with pliers, screw it, and replace the handle cover.

Faucet Repair from Douglas Cooling & Heating

Fixing a leaky faucet can be tricky. If you have trouble doing so or would rather not risk it yourself, leave it to the pros. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating to schedule plumbing repair. Our plumbers know how to fix a leaky compression faucet and troubleshoot common problems. If your faucet has been damaged beyond repair, we can install a new one in no time.

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