Water Leak Maintenance
Some may wonder why I am writing an article on leaking faucets.Generally a leaking faucet may appear straight forward, and most of the time it is. This article will just deal with leaks in and around the kitchen and bath sinks.Leaks can spring from several places other than where the water is actually dripping from; so you may end up getting the “run-a-round” trying to locate the actual leak, possibly fiddling with hoses and valves that should be left alone, making things worse for yourself. This statement is in no way condescending; because when it comes to the terms “trial and error” and “live and learn” I take the cake. If I had videos of all the situations I have ended up in with in the maintenance field, I could make an award winning “sit-com”. Which is where my catch phrase comes from; “YOU DID WHAT!” So now that I have said more than I should have to disable my own credibility and appear as a total Buffoon; Let my experience guide you in hopes I can save you some grief.
TYPES OF LEAKS
· Aerator Leak ( medium/buy new part) Drippy faucet
· Faucet Base Leak (easy) Water leaking from bottom of faucet
· Hose Line Leak (medium ) Puddle under sink
· P-TrapLeak (easy w/right tools) Puddle under sink
· Water Valve Leak (Pain in the @*#&$%!!) Puddle under sink
Aerator Leak- If you have a leak dripping slowly from the faucet aerator that will not stop, chances are it’s not as simple as changing the Aerator. To put it briefly the hot or cold valves within the on/off knobs have bad seals. what is happening, is when the knobs are in the “off" position the water is creeping by a bad rubber seal with in the knob/handle, that goes for the single handle style also. My recommendation is to change the whole faucet all together or replace the seal within the knob. If you’re going to replace the seal; You have to decide first which side is leaking, ”hot” or ”cold”. To do that, turn all the knobs to of,f now notice the leak coming from the Aerator. Reach under the sink and turn off the hot valve. If the leak stops at the aerator then your bad seal is within the hot Knob, If not it is within the cold knob.
This might be a good time to get that beautiful faucet you always wanted. If you’re short on time and money,just change the seal. Get the name brand of the faucet and remove the seal cartridge from the faucet knob, and take them down to the local hardware store and match them up with the one you need. WAIT! Before removing the knobs TURN OFF all valves under the sink or you will have your own personal geyser in your kitchen.
TIP: Go to Goodwill for a used faucet, or second hand store, yard sale, Craigslist and grab a cheap faucet. Chances are if someone donated it or sold it, it’s probably working fine. Pay someone that is out of work to install it for you,20-30 bucks or so. It’s generally fairly easy except for the part about lying on your back under the sink with debri falling in your face from removing the old faucet. Tools you may need for this job will all be listed below.
Faucet base leak-If the leak seems to be dripping at the base of the faucet, at the swivel or turning point. This usually only happens to faucets that have a “hot and “cold” knob, not the single handle type. Chances are the rubber seal has been damaged within, or your money back guarantee just ended yesterday. AFTER TURNING OFF THE WATER under the sink; grab a pair of channel lock pliers and start removing the base of the faucet by securing your wrench over the base part of the faucet and turning counterclockwise.
TIP: If you don’t want to damage the metal put a rag on the base of the faucet before you clamp down with the pliers.
It should come up and off. Inside you will find a ¾ to 1” rubber seal ring. Go down to the hardware store and purchase the proper size and thickness with a little tube of rubber seal silicone. You will probably have to purchase a seal kit with varies sizes of seals and silicone. I’m sure they won’t want to sell you an individual 20 cent seal.
Credit for this video goes to www.basicplumbingrepair.com Brian stevens
Hose line leaks- If you have a puddle under the sink it could be from a few different areas so check to make sure before changing and buying items. Turn on both hot and cold water; now get a bright flash light and get under the sink while looking at the ends of each hose line, way under the sink right under the faucet. Now look at the ends going into the valves that are in the wall. If there is water dripping from either end you have a bad hose.Dry everything off as best you can and check again. You don't want to misdiagnose; if the water is coming from the valve rather then the hose,because they connect right into each other,so be sure where the leak is actually coming from. Turn off the water remove the water lines and take them with you to the store so as to get the proper size. I would recommend stainless steel braided type. The plastic/urethane type can become brittle as the years pass and could end up just snapping off in the future. I’ve seen several just break, ejecting pressurized water everywhere. Don’t worry, this usually only happens between the time of 1am and 4 am. New materials are being developed all the time. I can’t keep up with all of it. You may find a better made product in your search at the hardware store.
TIP: If you want to save some money in a pinch. take off the water line and look inside the end of the line.Most of the time because of the leak,the black rubber grommet is old,cracked and compressed. just remove the grommet with a pair of needle nose pliers,take it down to the harddware store and tell them you need some new ones for that size. take the new ones back home and replace it. Wella!
P-Trap-The P-Trap is the curvy “U” shaped drain line coming from the sink or off the garbage disposal, generally it is colored white in the bathroom. 2" in the kitchen 1-1/4 in the bath.This has a small screw type union coming off the garbage disposal and a larger one (almost 3”) coming off the P-Trap itself. To check it for leaks runs lots of water down the drain while shining a light right where it connects at the unions. You may see water coming slowly out of either one. The black pipe coming straight down from the garbage disposal will have a white removable plastic seal right under the threads of the screw cap. Make sure it is seated properly and not bent or ruined in any way. The other possible leak will be from the 3” screw cap which could beloose or cracked. I have seen these screw caps have hairline cracks in them from being hit to hard by shoving items under the sink in a rough manner. This cap is actually positioned upside down, so screwing it counterclockwise will only tighten it. Go clockwise. Now finding a wrench big enough is tough, in the past I have used an open ended oil filter wrench for my car, works great. Take it apart check the threads and around the edges looking for chips or cracks. Go get a new one if it is bad. Can't generally fix these if their broke.
Water valve-Most Kitchen and bath sinks usually have the water shut-off valves under the sinks. Those would be either the chrome or plastic type that turn left and right. Some newer types turn off and on with just a ¼ turn. So be careful not to try cranking it around and it breaks off. YOU DID WHAT!
Go ahead, take a looksee with your light and see if you can notice any water dripping from the valve stem/handle. If you think there might be a small leak ,to be sure, I would suggest you slowly turn the valve off while watching it closely, you may notice it start to drip faster because this will increase the pressure on the valve itself, therefore causing it too leak faster. I have posted 2 videosthat are very well done and straight forward. one video is about tightening a leaky valve the other is about replacing a leaky valve.I would try to tighten it first,before replacement.
TIP: If it is the valve to your dishwasher or hot water, no need to turn off the water to the house to replace a valve, just turn off the water to the hot water tank. If it’s leaking from the cold water valve then you have to turn off the water to the house. Follow steps below.
1. Turn off the main water valve to the house and /or hot water tank
2. Release the pressure in the lines by opening some valves such as the bathtub or sink.
3. Purchase a new “shark bite” brand valve (NO brazing required) pops right on. The valve types are recognized by the size of the lines going into them. So if your old valve has a ½ intake line (usually copper pipe) and a 3/8 line fitting its called a ½ x 3/8 most are like this or ½ x ½ .you will be upset if you bring the wrong one home from the hardware store so double check! The picture of the valve below is a 1/2 X 3/8 with the 3/8 diameter at the top for your line to the sink or dishwasher.
4. Before you put the new one on lightly sand the copper pipe coming out of the wall to get a smooth fit.you can even use a little Vaseline or small amount of oil to make it slip on better
5. When pushing the new valve on to the ½ copper pipe make sure you hear it click in place. There is a distinct snap! Or click sound when installing a new shark bite valve.
6. Ok you’re done! Turn the water back on slowly, while someone else watches to see if it is leaking.
Credit for this video goes to PlumberX: Tightening a leaky water valve
Credit for this video goes to www.tilemasterGA.com
This is a lot of info if you have questions please write. I can help!