Leaking, Dripping Faucet

Leaking, Dripping Faucet
Leaking, Dripping Faucet

Yes, we are all guilty of putting off fixing that leaking, dripping faucet. The constant drip, drip, drip is enough to drive anyone batty. Still, it is easier to put off fixing than facing the idea of trying to do it ourselves or calling in a plumber. Unfortunately, procrastination racks up water bills and causes further problems such as rust and mold growth.


How much water does a dripping faucet use?

Sixty drips per minute wastes 5 gallons of water a day or 2,082 gallons per year. Get a more exact measure by timing a dripping faucet then entering the numbers into the online USGS online drip calculator. Multiply that out by what you pay per gallon and you’ll know what it costs you per year.


Fixing a Leaky Faucet

From the outside, faucets look simple. Take them apart and find that they contain many parts and pieces. When one malfunctions, a faucet can start to drip or leak. Beyond the drip, water can leak from the handles or the faucet base.

Fixing a faucet is a process of elimination. Often it is the washers that wear out first. Over time, washers become stiff, torn or dislodged. This allows water through, creating that annoying drip.  First stop is to replace the washer. If this does not stop the dripping then the valve seat may be corroded or there may be a worn-out seal. If corrosion happens with the valve seat, water may leak from under the spout.

Quick Tip:  Extend the life of faucet washers by avoiding turning water off with too much force.

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Faucet History

Whether you call them spigots, taps or faucets, plumbing, and faucets can be traced as back as far as 4000 b.c. where archaeologists discovered copper water pipes used in a palace in the Indus River Valley, India.  Egyptians developed pipes for bathrooms, for sewage and irrigation systems (2500 b.c.). The Minoan Palace of Knossos on the isle of Crete used terra cotta piping systems (1700 b.c.) that provided water for fountains and faucets. The Romans had vast water systems (500 b.c.) that helped move water and sewage within and between their cities.

Fast forward to 1937 and indoor sinks had evolved to a two faucet system, one for hot and one for cold. That was until engineering student Alfred Moen got tired of scalding his hands while washing under the hot water tap. While nursing his burnt hands, he got to thinking about how to control both water pressure and temperature. In 1937 he solved the problem with a single faucet system that mixed both cold and hot water. By 1959 Moen’s faucets where being used worldwide.

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