A leaky faucet is one of the most common household mishaps, so faucet repair is a common do-it-yourself task. Slow drips or leaks are not the sole causes that warrant faucet repair, but because they are so common, if you own a home you should familiarize yourself with the basic components of the type or types of faucets in your house. While there are many different types of faucets, the two most common varieties are compression faucets and washerless faucets. Other types include diaphragm faucets, disc faucets, and the single-handle ball faucet, common in showers and baths.
Though it is entirely possible that faucet repair may escalate into faucet replacement, most common problems can be fixed with simple steps. If you have a compression faucet -- a faucet with a washer -- it is very likely that the washer will go bad from corrosion or hardening before the other components of the faucet will fail. Replacing a washer is possibly the easiest faucet repair to make. Similarly, to keep faucets running in tip-top shape and to avoid slow drips or leaks, the screen and stem may need to be cleaned or replaced as well.
Faucet repair kits are sold at most every hardware store and home improvement warehouse. In many cases, it contains everything you need to replace washers, stems, and screens for each specific type of faucet. Many repair kits include simple instructions, but not all do. If you’ve never repaired a faucet before, search out diagrams online or in do-it-yourself books and pay special attention to the order in which you remove parts, such as washers and screws. You can also ask an employee at a well-respected hardware store for basic instructions. Most faucet repair tasks can be completed with a Phillips screwdriver and adjustable wrench.
Before you attempt any type of faucet repair, remember that you need to shut off the source of water either at the shutoff valve leading to the fixture being repaired or to the whole house. If you begin to disassemble your faucet without shutting off the water, you will have a large amount of clean up to do. If you suspect plumbing problems that are more involved than minor drips, you might want to call a plumber for your repairs.
As long as your plumbing lines are in full working order with no known problems, most faucet repair or replacement jobs can be completed without professional help. If you have an older home, where plumbing has not been updated since its construction, you may have difficulty finding parts and replacement could prove difficult depending on just how old your home is. However, the average homeowner should be able to take worn or damaged parts to a hardware store and receive help selecting replacement parts for simple faucet repair tasks.