How to Repair Common Water Faucet Problems

Dripping water faucet

Pat LaCroix/Getty Images

Today’s water faucets have become more sophisticated, and the task of installing or troubleshooting these faucets has become more difficult. The procedure to install a faucet is relatively the same process but today’s technology brings different components that you need to be aware of.

Once it has been connected, some issues might affect the performance of your faucet such as leaks, squeaks and other problems. Let’s go over some common issues and how to solve them.

Low Water Pressure

Normally, low water pressure from a faucet is caused by its sprayer diverter. The diverter valve is a small piece located inside the faucet body. The diverter controls the water going into the faucet, so you must check that it is clean—it might be clogged with small debris and minerals. If the diverter is not clogged, you might need to replace the diverter. 

Another area that you may be a culprit in low water pressure is the aerator. The aerator like the diverter can be cleaned with a brush and cleaning solution. You can also try to use vinegar to remove materials and unclog it. Finally, make sure the problem is not the water pressure coming out from the utility and check that the water supply valves are turned on all the way.

Spray Misting From Faucet

If water sprays a mist off from the main flow when you use the faucet, you might want to check that the aerator is screwed on tightly. Use a cloth or a brush to remove minerals, tape or debris from the aerator, as it could be clogged. Be sure to also check the aerator washer. Reinstall the aerator and check again. If the problem still shows up you will need to replace the aerator as it might be cracked or damaged.

Faucet Handle Leaks

When you discover that the water faucet leaks, try tightening the packing nut at the handle, as this can be the primary cause of the leak. Sometimes a damaged O-ring needs to be replaced. To replace the O-ring, shut off the water supply line, disassemble the faucet and replace the cartridge if necessary, depending on the problem that you are facing. When replacing the o-rings, clean the inside of the spout and the outside of the valve body. We also recommend lubricating the spout o-rings with silicone-based grease.

Drips From the Spout

Another common problem is drips from the faucet spout. If you are installing a compression style faucet, you will need to replace the seat washer and/or replace the valve seat. For all other water faucets, you will only need to replace the valve seat.

Faucet Noises

When you hear a noise after you turn off the water faucet, it could be water hammer. This might be solved by installing an air chamber.

If you have already installed air chambers, turn off the water supply, drain the water line and turn the water back again. When the noise occurs after the water faucet is turned on, the valve might require a new washer, or the water pressures from the supply line is either too high or too low.

Faucet Handle Is Difficult to Operate

Normally a tough to operate handle might occur because sediments or debris have damaged the cartridge. Debris, metal pieces and minerals could damage the seal within the cartridge.

You might also need to replace the cartridge or lubricate it with silicone-based grease. Do not use plumber's grade faucet grease, silicon sprays or any lubricant that may contain petroleum. Petroleum-based lubricants may react with the rubber seals and could cause the handle to become even more difficult to operate.