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How to fix a dripping faucet

Dripping tap

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Even clean tap water always contains lime and of course oxygen. Over the years, this can cause deposits to form inside a faucet – limestone, resulting in hardening seals and sometimes rust that gnaws at metal pipes. At some point, the mechanics cannot close the water flow as completely as it was intended. It’s dripping. Our guide shows how to fix a dripping faucet,

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Where taps are dripping, lime is usually not far away as the source of the proble,. Inside it blocks a complete closing of the shut-off mechanism. Below is how to fix a dripping faucet and leaking pipes.

What happens if I do not fix it?

It is could end up being expensive. How expensive can be calculated by placing a measuring cup under the dripping tap or pipe for one hour and extrapolating the amount of water collected. In addition, things get worse over time. And especially when a rusty-dripping pipe bursts due to the postponed repair, it can be even more expensive if rooms are submerged.

How to fix a dripping faucet

With the (exposed) dripping line the procedure is easiest: There are sealing clamps for this purpose. They are placed around the outside of the pipe, screwed down. As a result, they simultaneously seal off how they depressurise the damaged area.

Important: If the water pipe is under plaster, you should call the specialist. Also, because such a repair is insurance damage.

A faucet has three options:

  1. Move the control panel of the fitting vigorously in all directions and turn it as tight as possible. Sometimes this is enough to remove minor deposits.
  2. Disassemble the valve, replace seals – but this is often not possible, especially with cheap models.
  3. Replace the entire fitting with a new one – with the future in mind through a model that can also be repaired.

First stop the water supply!

Before you get down to the real problem, you need to turn off the water supply . To do this, the shut-off valve, which protrudes from the wall as a corner valve, must be closed. If there is no shut-off valve, you have to briefly stop the entire water supply.

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After the water supply has been stopped, you have to turn the tap on again briefly to release the remaining  water pressure . Then do the following:

  • Remove the handle by using a screwdriver to remove the screw, which is located on the front or back of the faucet depending on the model. You can now see the cartridge inside.
  • Loosen the cartridge cover with a screwdriver or pliers . You can now remove the cartridge.
  • Clean the cartridge by placing it in a citric acid or vinegar bath for half an hour . Rinse the cartridge warm and then reinsert it.
  • If cleaning doesn’t help, you can use a new cartridge instead. You can find out which is the right one using the type designation on the label for the supply line . It also serves as a spare part number.
  • Now reassemble the faucet in reverse order. Make sure that the openings of the cartridge are directly above the holes in the water supply. Screw the components tight.

How to descale two-handle fittings if the faucet is dripping

Again, after turning off the water supply, open the valves to let the water pressure out of the line. So it goes on:

  • Twist or unscrew the handles of the faucet.
  • Unscrew the exposed valves with an open-end wrench.
  • Underneath is the seal, which you also unscrew.
  • Soak the seal in citric acid or vinegar for about half an hour and wash it off with clean water.
  • Rub the dry valves, the inside of the handles and the seals with tap grease to prevent re-calcification.
  • Now reassemble the faucet and make sure that everything fits perfectly. If the old seal is no longer good, insert a new one.

Incidentally, when you turn the water supply back on, the tap should be in the middle position. Open the feeder slowly to reduce the pressure. When the water supply is open again, turn the tap on once and move it in all directions.

How do I avoid it in the future?

If the problem was caused by limescale, you can solve it at the root and install a limescale filter or a descaling system behind the water meter. Before that, you should make the effort and test via test strips only the hardness of the water – the descaler can devour several hundred euros without installation.

gerhardt-richter Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.