Checking for Faucet Leaks

  • 01 of 04

    Checking for Faucet Leaks

    Bathroom faucet leak
    Nicolas_ / Getty Images

    It may seem that faucet leaks are pretty obvious to spot. You know a faucet is leaking when water is visibly running or when it does not shut off all the way. Well, faucet leaks are not always that straight forward. Faucet leaks can start in various ways and they can appear in more places than just at the spout. If your household water usage is higher than normal look for less obvious faucet leaks that may be wasting water.

    Check for faucet leaks in the following three locations.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Leaks From the Spout

    Leaking faucet spout
    Aaron Stickley

    This is where faucet leaks are most obvious and visible. The faucet will start dripping or running. You may notice that the faucet handle has to be turned a little tighter each time you turn the faucet off. Or after someone uses the faucet you have to go back to tighten it or get it in the right position so it does not leak.

    A small drip will get worse over time and eventually add up on your water bill. This can also begin to stain the sink if it is not taken care of fast enough.

    If you suspect the faucet may be dripping you can use a paper towel or small container to test it out. Dry the sink up after using the faucet and place a paper towel under the spout and check back later to see if it wet. Also, a cup or bowl would work if you can get it in the right position and let it sit a little longer.

    If the faucet leaks at the spout you might need to change the washers on the faucet or replace the faucet cartridge to repair the leak.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Leak Around the Base of the Faucet

    Leak at the base of faucet
    Aaron Stickley

    A leak around the base of the faucet is not quite as obvious. People wash their hands and then turn the faucet off usually leaving the water to drip on the handle and around the top of the faucet and sink area. This makes a leak hard to identify because of the excess water. If this area of the faucet leaks it will usually only be when the faucet is turned on.

    To check for a leak at the base of the faucet you will need to start by drying up all of the standing water. Then turn both handles on (or if it is a single handle faucet turn it in both directions) and see if water leaks around the faucet or at the top of the sink area.

    A leak like this will usually be caused by an o-ring that has dried up or a worn out stem or cartridge. To repair the leak you can change out the o-ring or the stem or cartridge.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Leak Under the Sink

    Faucet leak under the sink
    Aaron Stickley

    A leak under the faucet can be the hardest to notice for the obvious reason that most people don’t check for leaks under their faucet very often. If you suspect a leak under the sink it is a good idea to locate it and repair it right away before the water damages the vanity, wall, or even the bathroom floor. Start by taking everything out from under the sink and thoroughly drying everything off. Now you can run a bit of water to see where it is leaking from. Sometimes a faucet will have to be turned on all the way before it will leak and check both with hot and cold sides on. The leak can be very small so if you suspect one but can find it try leaving some dry paper towel all around the base of the vanity for a day or so and then check for water marks on the paper towels.

    If the faucet leaks from underneath and you can verify that it is not the flex lines or the drain line leaking it could be a sign that you will need a new faucet. Changing the cartridge or the faucet stem can sometimes remedy the leak from underneath if you want to try to repair it. A faucet repair is less expensive and less time consuming, so if you like your faucet then you can try to repair it before you go through the process of replacing it.

    Note: For a newer faucet that is leaking from any of these areas the first thing to do is to check the warranty and contact the manufacturer. Many manufacturers have lifetime warranties on faucet leaks. They can send you the parts you will need to repair your faucet or if it is a faulty faucet they may even send you a new faucet.