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Plop, plop, drip, drip... What is causing my faucet to leak?

Dripping faucet in an Orlando home

The incessant sound of water dripping from a faucet can be very annoying! Most of us probably view it  as long as it’s not spraying water all over the place, then it’s not an urgent fix. However, one dripping faucet can add up pretty quickly. Check this out, a faucet that drips once every second, wastes close to six gallons of water per day, totaling about 170 gallons a month.1 That’s not only wasted resources but also adds up in your monthly utility bills. Below we’ve compiled a list of four common causes that result in a leaky faucet to help you troubleshoot the problem.

Issue #1: Bad O-Ring

An O-ring is a small rubber ring and is located around the valve stem. These can become loose or damaged over time just through regular use of your faucet. If your sink handle is leaking, this is likely the cause. This is a simple fix just by replacing the O-ring.

Issue #2: Corroded Valve Seat

The valve seat connects the faucet to the spout. If a leak appears to be coming from the spout, it likely is due to a corroded valve seat. Water sediments can build up and corrode the valve seat, causing a leak. You can help avoid this situation by regularly cleaning the valve seat, or have a professional plumber do so during regular plumbing maintenance.

Issue #3: Worn out Cartridge

If you have a faucet that has one handle that can lift up or down, then you probably have a cartridge faucet. Their design is a little more complicated internally, and the inlet and outlet seals can become worn out and need replacement. Or the cartridge itself may need to be replaced. When fixing it, you’ll need to make sure you have a matching replacement cartridge to swap it with.

Issue #4: Washer issues

If you have a dripping faucet, a loose or damaged seat washer is the most common cause. The seat washer can become loose due to repeated usage. When the water is turned on, the washer is pushed against the valve seat. Over time, this repetitive motion causes the washer to wear out and can lead to a slop dripping faucet.

Call a plumber in Orlando

Water leaks, even from a dripping faucet, are expensive, costing you in wasted resources and higher utility bills. Troubleshooting a leaky faucet can save you time and money. At Michael’s Plumbing is your local Central Florida leak repair experts. Give us a call (407) 219-9772 or contact us online for all of your plumbing needs.

1 Howard Perlman, USGS. “Water Science ActivitiesDrip Calculator: How Much Water Does a Leaking Faucet Waste?” Drip Calculator: How Much Water Does a Leaking Faucet Waste? USGS Water Science School,

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