How to Determine Faucet Type to Fix a Leak

Monday, November 9, 2009

Drip, drip, drip. The noise can range from a minor tapping in the background to a major barrier to sleep at night. There are several things that you’ll have to deal with when you have a leaky faucet in your home. Not the least of which is a loss of sleep.

Determine Faucet TypeYou also stand to lose some money if you live in an area where you pay for water usage. You could end up with a hefty bill simply due to a leaky faucet as even through a small drip you can lose gallons of water every day. You can also lose money in terms of energy costs, if the water you are losing is hot.

There are several ways to remedy your situation when you encounter a leaky faucet, some of them band-aid solutions and some of them more permanent.

The only permanent solution is to find the source of the drip and repair it. This is a relatively simple procedure that you will be able to accomplish on your own. If you hire a plumber to repair it you will have to pay him at least a minimum charge which is more than I care to think. But you don’t have to.

Before you can fix it though you must first determine what type of faucet you have. This will help determine both the problem and the procedure needed to fix it.

There are four basic types of faucets– compression type, cartridge type, ball type, and disc type.

Determine Faucet TypeCompression type faucets are the oldest and most common types of faucet, and can be identified in two steps. The first step is visual- if your faucet has separate handles for the hot and cold water; it is either a cartridge or compression faucet. You can determine which faucet is either by feel or by taking the mechanism apart. Compression faucet handles are meant to screw down and up in order to shut off or release the water flow. You also have to add pressure in order to turn the tap off the whole way.

A cartridge faucet does not require this added pressure; it simply swings easily either way and shuts the water flow off or on. The cartridge type of faucet is washerless, as are the other two types, ball and disc.

Determine Faucet TypeBall types are operated by a single handle that swings back and forth between the hot and cold by a ball mechanism at the base of the faucet.

Disc types have a single handle that extends outward towards the faucet and moves up and down to turn the water on and off, with a smooth horizontal pattern to adjust the levels of hot and cold water.

If you choose to make sure about your faucet type by taking the mechanism apart, first turn off your water. Remove the handle and examine the casing inside the faucet. Compression faucets will have a shaft leading down into the body of the faucet. Cartridge models will have the insides encased in plastic.

Once you have determined what kind of faucet you have, you will need to follow the correct procedures for repairing the drip according to the type of faucet you have identified. We’ll talk about that next time.

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2 Comments

  1. Mei says:

    You have some really good information here. Thanks

  2. Hey the font is kinda small. I’m having to to do the scroll and hold ctrl thing so it looks bigger. Might meet be my browser.

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