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FAUCET REPAIR & INSTALLATION
Whether it’s a kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor faucet, RT Olson Plumbing can help you with faucet repairs and installations.
Need to replace a leaky faucet? We’ll show you how below.
Leaky Faucet Repairs
RT Olson Plumbing provides leaky-faucet repairs for any type faucet:
- shower faucet repair
- bathtub faucet repair
- kitchen faucet repair
- bar faucet repair
- sink faucet repair
- outdoor faucet repair
No one wants to listen to the tap-tap-tap of dripping faucets in the kitchen or bath. But dripping faucets are not just annoying; they waste a surprising amount of water each month and costs you extra money on your water bills.
A dripping faucet can waste roughly 200 gallons of water per month. A full drip per second can waste more than 3000 gallons of potable water per year, wow! Though quieter, leaky faucet handles also waste a ridiculous amount of water and make it impossible to keep the faucet and sink looking clean.
RT Olson Plumbing is full-service, and fixes the full range of leaky faucet valves, shower handles, etc. We also provide shower cartridge and shower valve replacement, and perform proper shower pan repairs.
We also provide the following new product installation services for when it’s time to upgrade your fixtures:
- complete faucet installations
- kitchen sink installations
- bathroom sink installations
- bar sink installations
- complete shower replacements
- bathtub installations
Leaky Faucet Info
Here’ some information about faucets you might useful:
Quality Faucet Brands
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Leaky Faucet Causes
What’s causing my leaking faucet?
Often you hear a leaky faucet first. The irritating endless tapping of a drip will lead you to the culprit sink. If you don’t see a leaking tap, it’s not the faucet, so look under the sink. There’s probably a water supply hose that needs to be tightened or have its washers replaced.
When supply hoses look old, it’s best to just replace them so you have the benefit of brand new connection fittings as well.
If it’s not the supply hoses under the sink, then the faucet itself is leaking, repairs depend on what kind of faucet you have.
There are four kinds of faucets, and they can develop leaks in different ways:
- compression faucets
- ball faucets
- cartridge faucets
- ceramic disc faucets
In a leaking compression or ball faucet, an O-ring is probably worn. In disc or cartridge faucets (they are newer designs), the seals usually last much longer, and might not be the cause of the leak.
If you have a leaky faucet handle, you probably just need to replace an O-ring. The O-ring is a stretchable rubber washer, ⅜ to ⅝ inch wide, that seals the handle of the faucet. O-rings are easily and cheaply replaced.
If the leak is coming from the tap, or spout, your faucet’s valves are likely corroded or rusted, and can’t be shut off fully. The types of leaks depend on the type of faucet you have.
Compression faucets have separate handles for hot and cold.
Turning either handle in the “off” direction lowers a washer to restrict water flow. The fully off position compresses the washer against a valve seat. Hence the name, “compression faucet.”
When the washer eventually wears down too much, or breaks, it allows water to leak from the tap no matter how tightly you try to turn off the faucet handle.
The good news with compression faucets is that their leaks can usually be repaired simply by replacing the washers.
Ball, cartridge, and ceramic-disc faucets are called “washerless.” They do have O-rings and neoprene seals to prevent leaking, but are not as easy to repair as replacing a washer in a compression faucet.
Ball faucets have a single lever handle that swings to the hot or cold positions.
The handle rotates a metal ball that is slotted inside to open and close hot and cold water inlets in the faucet body until you have the desired temperature water flowing from the tap.
In cartridge faucets, the lever handle moves side to side for temperature adjustment, but also up or down for water flow.
In cartridge faucets, a hollow metal or plastic cartridge insert seals against the spout or faucet body.
Depending on how various holes inside the cartridge align with the cartridge stem, temperature is mixed and flow is controlled. When they leak, the entire cartridge must be replaced. Most cartridges cost between $10 and $20.
Ceramic Disk Faucets
Ceramic disc faucets use two fire-hardened ceramic discs. A lower disk is fixed in position, and an upper disk moves against the lower disk in a shearing action. The disks are polished to such flatness that, closed, they actually stop water flow.
Because the fire-hardened ceramic disks are so durable, they are practically maintenance free and last far longer than washers or cartridges. Generally, they’re guaranteed to not wear out.
But a ceramic disk faucet can develop leaks through worn inlet and outlet seals, or sediment buildup in the inlets. More often a leak is just from sediment between the disks. With water flowing, you can flutter the handle back and forth a few times to dislodge it.
Ceramic disk cartridges generally run from $15 to $35, but for some systems, they can cost significantly more.
Other Faucet Leak Causes
A rusting faucet cannot be repaired adequately, and will also begin developing chronic leaks. Even a favorite “vintage faucet” will eventually need to be replaced, once you start seeing, smelling, or tasting rust in the water.
Rust coming from a new faucet is coming from the plumbing pipes. Contact us about our pipe-cleaning and pipe-replacement services.
Low Water Pressure
The first thing to check is the aerator at the end of your tap. It controls flow and screens out sediment. Unscrew it by hand (or with pliers if stuck), and rinse the aerator screen.
You may see sediment coming out. If the screen is clogged from hard-water deposits, you can soak it in white vinegar to loosen them. Scrub, rinse, replace.
Over years of constant use, the bathroom and kitchen faucets themselves can gradually collect enough mineral buildup to decrease water flow.
If the faucet is that old, it’s time to replace the entire faucet.
Water supply lines also gradually accumulate mineral deposits. If the problem is in the water supply pipes, contact us for a free estimate on our pipe-cleaning and pipe-replacement services.
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10 Steps to Replacing a Sink’s Faucet
Because there are so many faucet types, replacement can only be described in general terms. The new faucet will have its own instructions for installation.
Tools you will need:
- A low dish tub or bucket, to collect water in the supply lines.
- Adjustable or open-end wrenches to fit the water supply hose nuts.
- Possibly a telescoping basin-wrench.
You can replace a bathroom sink or kitchen faucet in 10 steps:
- Know What Kind of Faucet You are Replacing
Your counter-top will have one of three conditions:
- A single hole for a single-hole type faucet, like ball faucets
- 3 holes, with the two faucet holes 4 inches apart (typical for bathroom faucets)
- 3 holes, with the two faucet holes 8 inches apart (typical for kitchen faucets)
Your new faucet needs to be compatible with the existing holes in your counter-top.
- Assemble the Parts
Avoid multiple trips to the hardware store. In addition to your selected new faucet, be sure you have any required wrenches, plumber’s putty, teflon tape, and possibly new supply lines. If your existing suppply lines don’t fit the new faucet fittings, get new supply lines to match the faucet fittings. You might consider choosing a set new supply lines with an auto leak shut off. If you are also replacing the sink drain, see if the P-trap setup can use new o-rings, gaskets, etc.
- Turn off water at the fixture
Even if you have shut-off valves under the sink, know where your water-main shut off is before beginning repairs. This is because some cheaper or corroded shut-offs will stop turning before they are fully closed, making you think you have shut off the water when you haven’t. Also, some cheaper ones may break when being turned forcefully after years of sitting untouched. You do not want to be frantically searching for your water-main shut-off while a broken shut-off valve is drenching your bathroom or kitchen!
Turn off both the hot and cold shut-offs under the sink. Turn the faucet on to let any pressurized water flow to drain out of the faucet.
When to turn off the water main
If the opened faucet still runs after the under-sink valves have been shut off, you will need to shut the water-main as well. You won’t have running water to any fixture in the house, so it’s best to have all your tools and new parts purchased before you begin.
(Bathtub and shower faucets are partly inside the wall and have no handy shut-offs near them. They have to be shut off at the water-main, which again means there will be no running water for the entire house. It’s best to let a plumber work on shower and tub faucets).
- Assemble the Parts
Avoid multiple trips to the hardware store. In addition to your selected new faucet, be sure you have any required wrenches, plumber’s putty, Teflon tape, and possibly new supply lines.
If your existing supply lines don’t fit the new faucet fittings, get new supply lines to match the faucet fittings. You might consider choosing a set new supply lines with an auto leak shut off. If you are also replacing the sink drain, see if the P-trap setup can use new o-rings, gaskets, etc.
- Disconnect Water Supply Lines
Under the sink, use a wrench to disconnect the water supply hoses from the underside of the faucet. Disconnecting kitchen sinks usually requires a basin wrench to reach the nuts.
Have a low dish tub or bucket under the sink to let the hoses drain whatever water they are holding. If you are replacing the sink’s drain at the same time, you can remove the P-trap pipes and down-pipe from the sink first. This gives you more room to get to the supply lines.
- Disconnect underside trim
Under the sink, unscrew and remove the nuts that and washers that hold the faucet to the sink. For bathroom sinks, remember to remove the clamp bolt from the drain rod so that it can lift away from the drain pipe’s extension.
Now you should be able to lift the old faucet from the sink. There should be an old and sticky base gasket under the faucet, or a line of plumber’s putty around its base. Clean all this away before installing the new faucet set.
- Install the new faucet
If your new faucet comes with a large gasket the same size and shape of the faucet base, you do not need to use plumber’s putty.
If it doesn’t, apply a generous amount of plumber’s putty (about a 1/4” thick rope of putty) to the underside of the escutcheon cover. You will roll the pussy between both palms until it produces a long snake-like bead of putty. Press it along the underside of the escutcheon cover around its perimeter.
Also roll out and place shorter pieces to place around the holes on the sink. Press them firmly in place. Now you are ready to set the new faucet.
Faucets vary among manufacturers, so consult the new faucet’s installation manual. From under the sink, you will be securing the new faucet to the sink or countertop with large washers or saddles, and a mounting nut. Install the center spout, slide on the washer and mounting nut, then tighten the mounting nut from below. You can use an adjustable wrench for most bathroom faucets, and may need a basin wrench to get behind large kitchen sinks.
Secure the hot and cold water valves in the same way.
- Reconnect the Supply Lines
New supply lines are often coded for use on either hot or cold water supply. Often there is a red tag around a hot water supply line and a blue tag around the cold water supply line. The larger end fitting connects to the faucet; the smaller ends to the wall’s shut-off valve.
Be sure to use a hot water supply line for the hot side (use it to connect the hot water shut-off valve to hot water faucet valve on the left side).
When the new faucet is extending copper pipes down into the under-sink area, use two wrenches. These copper tubes bend easily, so use a wrench to hold the copper pile in place (it has a fitting for the wrench), and a second wrench to tighten the supply line onto it.
- Reinstall Drain Rod (in bathroom faucets)
Adjust the play for the up/down motion of the drain’s pull-rod, and tighten the clamp bolt.
- Turn on the water supply
Re-check to make sure all your fittings have been tightened. With the faucets turned off, slowly turn on the water supply shut-off valves, one at a time, to check for leaks at the supply line connections. If there are no leaks, then turn on the valves to flush the new faucet for a minute or two. You’re finished!