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How to Fix a Leaky Faucet: Tips from Plumbers in Riverside CA

Trusted Plumber Riverside and Orange County

Understanding Why Faucets Leak

Common Causes of Faucet Leaks

Faucet leaks are a common household issue that can lead to significant water wastage and higher utility bills if left unaddressed. Understanding the common causes of faucet leaks is crucial for effective repair. Here are some of the primary reasons faucets start leaking:

  1. Worn Out Washers: Washers experience friction every time the faucet is used. Over time, this friction can wear them out, causing leaks. Regular replacement of washers can prevent this issue.
  2. Corrosion: Metal faucets are prone to corrosion, especially in areas with hard water. Corroded parts can break down, leading to leaks. Regular maintenance and water softeners can help mitigate corrosion.
  3. Improper Faucet Installation: If a faucet is not installed correctly, it can start leaking sooner rather than later. Ensuring that all parts are tightly fitted and properly aligned during installation is crucial to prevent leaks.
  4. O-Ring Problems: O-rings are small rubber rings that create a seal around the valve stem. If they become loose or wear out, leaks can occur. Checking and replacing O-rings periodically can help prevent leaks.
  5. Loose Parts: Over time, parts of the faucet can become loose due to constant use. Tightening these parts can often resolve the leak issue.
  6. Mineral Deposits: Mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate inside the faucet, affecting its function and causing leaks. Regular cleaning and the use of descaling agents can prevent this problem.

Tools and Materials Needed

When it comes to fixing a leaky faucet, having the right tools and materials on hand is essential. Here’s a list of common tools and supplies you’ll need:


  1. Adjustable Wrench: An adjustable wrench is crucial for loosening and tightening nuts and bolts.
  2. Screwdrivers: Both flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers are necessary for removing faucet handles and other parts.
  3. Plumber’s Tape: Also known as Teflon tape, this is used to seal pipe threads and prevent leaks.
  4. Allen Wrench: Some faucets require an Allen wrench for disassembly.
  5. Pliers: Needle-nose pliers are helpful for removing small parts and reaching into tight spaces.


  1. Replacement Washers and O-Rings: These are essential for fixing leaks caused by worn-out washers and O-rings.
  2. Faucet Grease: This helps lubricate moving parts and extend the life of the faucet.
  3. Sealant: A waterproof sealant can be used to fix cracks and ensure a tight fit of parts.

Tips for Purchasing Quality Supplies in Riverside, CA

  1. Local Hardware Stores: Riverside has several well-stocked hardware stores where you can find high-quality plumbing supplies. Stores like Home Depot (3323 Madison St) and Lowe’s (9851 Magnolia Ave) offer a wide range of tools and materials.
  2. Specialty Plumbing Stores: For more specialized items, consider visiting local plumbing supply stores like Ferguson Plumbing Supply (1750 Iowa Ave).
  3. Online Retailers: If you prefer online shopping, websites like Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s offer extensive selections of plumbing tools and materials.
  4. Check Your Home: Before purchasing new items, check your home for existing tools and materials. Many common tools and supplies may already be in your toolbox.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing a Leaky Faucet

Detailed, Easy-to-Follow Instructions Tailored for Beginners

Fixing a leaky faucet can be a simple DIY project if you follow the right steps. Here’s a comprehensive guide tailored for beginners:

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdrivers (flat-head and Phillips)
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Replacement parts (washers, O-rings, etc.)
  • Plumbers grease
  • Allen wrench
  • Pliers

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply: Locate the shut-off valves under the sink and turn them clockwise to stop the water flow. If you can’t find them, turn off the main water supply.
  2. Plug the Drain: Use a sink plug or a cloth to cover the drain, preventing small parts from falling in.
  3. Remove the Faucet Handle: Use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to remove the handle, depending on your faucet type.

Fixing Different Types of Faucets

Compression Faucets

  1. Remove the Valve: Unscrew the packing nut using an adjustable wrench and remove the valve stem.
  2. Replace Washers and O-Rings: Remove the old washer and O-ring, replacing them with new ones.
  3. Reassemble the Faucet: Reattach the valve stem, tighten the packing nut, and replace the handle.

Ball-Type Faucets

  1. Disassemble the Faucet: Remove the handle and cap. Use pliers to take out the ball and cam assembly.
  2. Replace Seals and Springs: Swap out the old seals and springs with new ones from a repair kit.
  3. Reassemble the Faucet: Put the ball and cam assembly back in place, secure the cap, and reattach the handle.

Cartridge Faucets

  1. Remove the Handle and Cartridge: Use a screwdriver to take off the handle, then pull out the cartridge.
  2. Replace O-Rings: Remove the O-rings from the cartridge and replace them with new ones.
  3. Reassemble the Faucet: Insert the cartridge, secure it, and replace the handle.

Ceramic-Disk Faucets

  1. Disassemble the Faucet: Take off the handle and remove the ceramic disk cartridge.
  2. Clean or Replace the Disk: Clean the disk with vinegar or replace it if damaged.
  3. Reassemble the Faucet: Put the cartridge back in place, secure it, and reattach the handle.
  4. Turn the Water Back On: Turn the shut-off valves counterclockwise to restore the water supply. Test the faucet to ensure the leak is fixed.

Pro Tips from Riverside Plumbers

Local plumbers in Riverside CA have shared their expert advice to help ensure your faucet repair is successful:

  1. Use Quality Parts: Always use high-quality replacement parts to extend the life of your faucet. Cheaper parts may save money initially but can lead to recurring problems.
  2. Apply Plumber’s Grease: Lubricate O-rings and washers with plumber’s grease to reduce friction and prolong their lifespan.
  3. Check Water Pressure: High water pressure can cause leaks. Ensure your home’s water pressure is within a safe range (40-60 psi) to prevent future issues.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular maintenance checks to catch potential problems early. This can save time and money in the long run.
  5. Local Suppliers: Visit local suppliers like Ferguson Plumbing Supply (1750 Iowa Ave) for quality parts and expert advice tailored to the Riverside area.

How to Know When to Call a Professional Plumber

While many faucet leaks can be fixed with a DIY approach, some situations require professional help. Here are signs that indicate it’s time to call a professional plumber:

  1. Persistent Leaks: If the leak persists after multiple repair attempts, it’s time to call a plumber.
  2. Complex Repairs: Issues involving the main water line or complicated faucet types may need professional expertise.
  3. Water Damage: If the leak has caused significant water damage to surrounding areas, professional intervention is necessary.
  4. Unusual Noises: Banging or whistling noises from the faucet can indicate deeper plumbing issues that require a professional diagnosis.
  5. High Water Bills: A sudden increase in water bills can signal hidden leaks that need professional attention.

Benefits of Hiring a Local Riverside Plumber

  • Expertise: Local plumbers have the knowledge and experience to handle complex repairs efficiently.
  • Time-Saving: Professionals can quickly diagnose and fix issues, saving you time and hassle.
  • Preventive Maintenance: Regular maintenance services from local plumbers can prevent future problems.
  • Emergency Services: Local plumbers are readily available for emergency repairs, providing peace of mind.


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