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Fixing A Leaky Faucet - Determining Faucet Type

Drip, drip, drip. There are many inconveniences to be reckoned with when you have a leaky faucet in your home. First of all, the noise can range from a minor tapping in the background to a major barrier to sleep at night. You stand to lose some money in terms of energy costs, as well, if the water you are losing is hot. If you live in an area where you pay for water usage, you could end up with a hefty bill simply due to a leaky faucet- your leak may lose you gallons of water every day, in the home repair equivalent of death by a thousand cuts. There are several ways to remedy your situation when you encounter a leaky faucet, some of them band-aid solutions and some of them more permanent.

One temporary solution is to purchase a faucet washer- a small piece of metal that can screw on to the opening of your faucet to delay the drip action. The water is still leaking, but the amount being lost is what is being dammed. This strategy does not work for very long, however, and can even be detrimental in that it might make you forget that you actually have to repair that leak sometime. The more permanent solution. Of course, is to find the source of the drip and repair it.

This is a relatively simple procedure that most people will be able to accomplish on their own; if you use a plumber for it you will be spending some big bucks that you won’t really have to. Writing and reading about fixing your leaky faucet is actually a more involved process than the actual doing, for the simple reason that before you can fix the problem you must determine what type of faucet you have. This will help determine the problem and the procedure need to fix it. There are four basic types of faucets- ball type, disc type, cartridge type, and compression type. Compression type faucets are the oldest and most common types of faucet, and can be identified in two steps. The first step is visual- if your faucet has separate handles for the hot and cold water, it is either a cartridge or compression faucet. You can determine which your faucet is either by feel or by taking the mechanism apart and again examining it visually. Compression faucet handles are meant to screw down and up in order to shut off or release the water flow- you have to add pressure in order to turn the tap off the whole way. A cartridge faucet does not require this added pressure, it simply swings easily shut and the water flow is cut off. If you choose to make sure about your faucet type by taking the mechanism apart, first turn off your water.

Remove the handle and examine the casing inside the faucet. Compression faucets will have a shaft leading down into the body of the faucet. Cartridge models will have the insides encased in plastic. The cartridge type of faucet is washerless, as are the other two types, ball and disc. Ball types are operated by a single handle that swings back and forth between the hot and cold by a ball mechanism at the base of the faucet. Disc types have a single handle that extends outward towards the faucet and moves up and down to turn the water on and off, with a smooth horizontal pattern to adjust the levels of hot and cold water. Once you have determined what kind of faucet you have, you will need to follow the correct procedures for repairing the drip according to the type of faucet you have identified.


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