No one likes a leaky faucet. And there are lots of good reasons to hate it.
The non-stop dripping sound is annoying and can prevent sleep or concentration. The cost of water simply passing through the house unused can fill your head with a vision of money literally running down the drain. And also, the knowledge that these drips will eventually cause build-ups of sediment that will stain even the newest purest porcelain surface.
Stopping that leaky faucet from dripping will require several tools, one of which might require a trip to a hardware store.
- Pipe wrench
- Monkey wrench or another pipe wrench
- Plumber’s thread tape
- Pipe brush
- Dirty towel
First, turn off the water to the area you are working on. This could be a lever near your bathroom or kitchen. If there is not a shutoff valve there, you might have to turn off water to the whole house. Make sure you warn the family!
Using the pipe wrenches, gently disconnect the offending faucet or showerhead from the pipe and inspect the specific area that was leaking. Note: if it is a showerhead that is leaking, the issue is probably not with the showerhead, but with the knob below it, and your efforts should focus on that part of the system.
Inspect the area closely to see if there are visible problems. For instance, some newer plastic fixtures can chip or break, making leaks more common. If you find that a chip or a break is causing the leak, simply replace the broken part. No repair is as good as a replacement part working as originally intended.
Clean debris from the area to get a better look. If the leak was coming from a joint, dry the area, then apply plumbers thread tape to the area. The tape is designed to permanently fill any spaces water may be getting through between the pipe threads.
Finally, while you have everything apart, give it a good cleaning. Use a pipe brush on the pipes, and soak areas in cleaning collusion designed to get rid of crusty buildup that comes from hard water and forms on shower heads and faucet spouts. Sometimes this buildup can affect water flow and contribute to leaking too.
Reassemble everything, making sure it fits snugly, and turn the water back on!