Few things in life are truly inevitable, but leaky faucets are probably one of them. No plumbing system works perfectly forever, and faucet leaks are one of the most common problems that can come up. In many cases, faucet repair is cheap and easy. In some cases, you might even be able to fix the problem yourself.
However, there are also situations where leaky faucets are signs of bigger problems or times when it’s going to be better to just get a faucet replacement altogether.
So, in this guide, we’ll be talking about signs of leaks, what faucet repair options are available, and situations where you probably just want to get a new faucet instead. No matter your issue, Roto-Rooter California is always here to help!
I. Why You Need to Stop Leaks Fast
If you just have a small leak from a faucet or other fixture, it’s easy to ignore the problem if it feels inconvenient. After all, what can a few drops of water do?
Unfortunately, it can do quite a bit. There are several reasons you want to take care of leaks ASAP, even if they seem minor.
1. Water damage adds up
Every single drop of water is doing some damage to whatever it touches. For example, a leak beneath the sink can damage your flooring, such as causing tiles to peel or come loose from the floor. Or it could also start damaging your cabinetry. Wooden cabinets under the sink can quickly become damp and start to rot if left alone for too long – which would mean buying and installing new cabinets.
2. Mold and mildew
If anything, the threat of mold and mildew is worse. Mold can start to grow in a damp moist environment (like under a leaky sink) in as little as 24-48 hours. Then it can spread to any place which is similarly moist. Mold is particularly good at getting into the grout and can be very stubborn about it.
Even in the best of situations, a mold outbreak can be hard to get under control and can potentially ruin materials like wood. In worst-case scenarios, you might develop black mold which is genuinely toxic to people and pets. You could potentially end up paying big money to get rid of it.
3. Saving money
Every drop of leaked water is water wasted, which isn’t just bad for the environment – it’s also bad for your budget. If you let your faucet leak, you are paying to have the water damage your home.
Plus, leaks rarely go away on their own, and they typically get worse over time. The longer you wait, the more costly the faucet repairs will be, not to mention any other water damage restoration.
II. Signs of Faucet Leaks and Other Faucet Problems
Obviously, if you see your faucet leaking, you know what the problem is. However, not all faucet leaks and other problems are so easy to spot. Here are some of the other signs that you’re having faucet trouble.
1. Unexplained water stains
If you see water stains beneath a sink or other fixture which weren’t there before, that’s a big red flag that water is leaking from somewhere. If you can’t find the source, it might potentially even be a problem in the wall, which requires expert plumbing to fix.
2. Odd water angles
When you turn on your faucet, does the water flow straight out, or does it come out at an odd angle? An improper flow suggests an obstruction within the faucet, which could lead to leaks or other problems if it goes unfixed. This isn’t an emergency, but you should at least keep an eye on it and be aware that the issue could get worse.
3. Mineral deposits
If you have hard water – that is, water with a lot of dissolved minerals in it – those minerals will be slowly deposited on your faucets. Over time, this can completely ruin a faucet by inhibiting its movement or clogging up the valves that control water flow. This is another potential cause of water coming out at odd angles.
The best move here is to install a water softener and filtration system before you have issues. Without that, it’s absolutely guaranteed the hard water will cause plumbing problems over time.
4. Unusual sounds from the faucet
Your faucet’s movement should be smooth and silent, with no noise aside from the sound of flowing water. Any other sounds, such as scraping or metal screeching, are signs of mechanical problems inside the faucet. Often, this is just an issue with the washer or O-ring, and those are easy to replace. However, if replacing the seal doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll probably need professional faucet repair.
5. Outdoor faucet issues
Does your home have exterior faucets? These are very vulnerable to damage, yet easy to overlook if they’re tucked away on the side of your house. If you see unexplained increases in your water bill, check your outdoor faucets to see if they’re working correctly.
Also, if you’ve experienced freezing in the winter, always check your outdoor faucets after everything thaws out. This is when they’re most likely to be damaged by the weather.
III. When Should You Consider a Full Faucet Replacement?
While faucet repair services can fix most issues, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should just keep calling for repairs over and over. Sometimes, it’s going to be more cost-effective – or just more generally beneficial – to install new faucets instead.
1. The faucet is too old
Faucets have a long lifetime, but they don’t last forever. Typically, you can expect a good faucet to last around 10-15 years, although particularly tough faucets might hit 20. Either way, if your faucet is over 15 years old, it’s really time to simply replace the faucet. Problems will become more common, and the faucet repair bills will turn into a money pit.
2. Your faucets lack water-saving features
Besides mechanical breakdown, the other reason to swap out older faucets is that they typically lack water-saving features seen in new fixtures. Older faucets pump out more water than is really necessary or needed. This leads to water waste and higher utility bills. In this case, new faucets will quickly pay for themselves through water savings.
3. Frequent leaks
Everyone gets an occasional faucet leak, but they really shouldn’t happen more than once or twice a year – if that. If the faucet seems to constantly be leaking, no matter what repairs you do, it’s time to replace the fixture.
Even modern faucets typically contain at least a small amount of iron, and iron is vulnerable to rusting. The metal will be treated with anti-water coatings to protect it, but once the coating wears away, rust can start to form on parts such as the springs or the valve.
There’s simply no fixing rust. A rusty faucet must be replaced.
5. Severe mineral deposits
A small amount of mineral buildup on a faucet can typically be cleaned off with weak acids such as vinegar and some scrubbing – but the more mineral deposits are present, the harder it becomes. In severe cases, the buildup may be beyond cleaning or be pernicious enough that removing the mineral deposits would damage the faucet itself.
In these cases, replacing the faucet is probably unavoidable. And, again, install a water softening system while you’re at it, or this will just keep happening.
6. Exterior damage such as cracks
Most faucets are not designed to be easily repaired if the exterior of the faucet becomes cracked or damaged. You might be able to seal it back up with some waterproof epoxy, but this is more of a stopgap measure. Once the faucet has started to crack, it will almost always continue to crack and become more unreliable over time.
The trouble of dealing with a cracked faucet is usually worse than the relatively low expense of replacing it.
7. It’s time for a new look
You don’t have to wait for a major faucet problem to replace your fixtures. New faucets can give your sinks or bathtub a facelift, and don’t typically cost much to purchase and install. It’s a good cheap home renovation, and one you’ll enjoy every time you turn the water on.
This is a particularly good idea if you’re looking to sell your house. New water fixtures are a big selling point!
Roto-Rooter Can Handle Any Faucet Job
With nearly 90 years of experience handling plumbing jobs across California, Roto-Rooter can be your go-to faucet repair and replacement specialist! We’re available 24/7/365 and can quickly arrive to help no matter when you need us. Our plumbers are highly trained, cleaned, and completely professional.