Why is My Faucet Dripping?

kitchen faucet dripping against blue background

Dripping faucets are a common household issue that can be annoying and wasteful. Understanding the types of faucets and the reasons behind dripping faucets can help you determine the best course of action for repairs or replacements.

Understanding the Mechanism

Inside your faucet, there is a mechanism that controls the flow and temperature of the water. In older faucets, this mechanism includes a washer at the end of the stem. When you turn the handle, it presses the washer down against the faucet’s seat to stop the water flow.

Washerless Faucets

Newer faucets, known as washerless faucets, do not rely on traditional rubber washers. Instead, they use different components, such as cartridges, which tend to last longer. However, even these parts can wear out over time and require replacement.

Cartridges: The Heart of Modern Faucets

Cartridges are critical components in newer faucets. They are not universal and are specific to the faucet’s brand and model. This specificity means that when a cartridge wears out, you must find the exact replacement to ensure proper functionality.

Don’t Forget To Check Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor faucets often get neglected when it comes to regular maintenance. However, they can develop leaks or other issues just like indoor faucets. It is important to check and maintain outdoor faucets regularly to prevent any potential problems as leaks can lead to rising water bills.

Common Causes of Dripping Faucets

Dripping faucets can be a nuisance, but they can also waste a significant amount of water and increase your utility bills. Some common causes of dripping faucets include worn out washers, loose or damaged O-rings, and mineral buildup within the faucet itself. It is important to address these issues promptly to prevent further damage and save on water costs.

The Importance of Regular Faucet Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your faucets functioning properly. This includes routine cleaning and checking for any signs of wear or damage. By catching and addressing potential problems early on, you can avoid costly repairs down the line. Additionally, proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your faucets.

Choosing Quality Faucet Products

When it comes time to replace your faucets, it is important to choose products made with quality materials. This will ensure durability and longevity for your new fixtures. At St. Paul Pipeworks, we offer a wide selection of high-quality faucet options from trusted brands.

Signs That Your Faucets Need Repair

If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to call in a professional for faucet repair:

  • Dripping or leaking water even when the faucet is turned off
  • Difficulty turning the handle or adjusting water flow
  • Rust or corrosion on the faucet surface
  • Strange noises coming from the faucet

Ignoring these issues can lead to further damage and potentially costly repairs. It’s best to address them as soon as possible.

If you notice water dripping from the handle or the base of the faucet spout, the issue might be with the O-ring. This is especially true for faucets with spouts that swing back and forth, as the O-ring can wear out and cause leaks.

When to Repair or Replace

While many faucet issues can be repaired, sometimes it is more practical to replace an older faucet entirely. Consider the age and condition of your faucet and weigh the cost of repairs against the benefits of installing a new one.

In summary, understanding the internal workings of your faucet and the specific components that may cause drips can help you make informed decisions about repairs and replacements.

Misc ToolsSt Paul Pipeworks carries many of the heavy-duty classic Delta faucets right on their trucks in case one needs to be replaced.

If you are having a problem with a leaky faucet or are just looking for service from a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.



Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager


Q: What causes faucet dripping?

A: Faucets can drip for various reasons, including worn-out washers, corroded valve seats, damaged O-rings, or loose parts. These issues can cause leaks in the water supply lines, leading to a dripping faucet.

Q: How can I fix a dripping faucet?

A: The first step in fixing a dripping faucet is to turn off the water supply to the affected faucet. Next, disassemble the faucet and replace any damaged or worn-out parts, such as washers, O-rings, or valve seats. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to call a plumber to help you identify and fix the issue.

Q: Can a dripping faucet wastewater?

A: A dripping faucet can waste a significant amount of water over time. A faucet that drips once per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water per year. Not only is this wasteful, but it can also drive up your water bills.

Q: Can a dripping faucet signify a larger plumbing problem?

A: A dripping faucet can indicate a more serious plumbing problem, such as a damaged pipe or a faulty water pressure regulator. It’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent more serious problems from developing.

Q: How can I prevent my faucet from dripping in the future?

A: Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent your faucet from dripping in the future. This includes checking for leaks, replacing damaged parts, and cleaning the faucet regularly to avoid buildup and corrosion. Also, addressing any plumbing issues as soon as possible is important to prevent them from becoming more serious.

Why is my faucet dripping? Ask a Plumber…