Updated: May 11, 2023

Canada is known for its abundant freshwater resources, but it’s crucial to conserve water. Dripping faucets can waste a significant amount of water over time. A single faucet drip can result in hundreds of litres of water wasted annually. So, if you notice this issue at home, don’t hesitate to buy a dripping faucet repair kit or call an Mississauga plumber to help.


For now, we’ll help you identify the common causes of dripping faucets so you know how to deal with them.

7 Common Causes of Dripping Faucets

1. Cold Climate or Winter

Faucets might break in the winter due to the expansion of frozen water. When the temperature drops below freezing, the water in the pipes and faucets might freeze, causing them to expand. The expansion of frozen water puts stress on the faucet and its parts. Damage to the faucet may result if the pipe itself splits, fractures, or bursts under stress.


Because of exposure to the elements, outdoor faucets are more likely to suffer damage from freezing temperatures. The faucet could be damaged if it was exposed directly to the cold air without enough insulation or protection. Cold air might enter the pipes and faucets if the insulation is inadequate or fails. The water inside the faucet could freeze if it isn’t properly insulated against the cold.


Rapid temperature swings, such as when a heated faucet is immediately exposed to freezing temperatures, can lead to thermal stress in the faucet’s components. Over time, this strain can erode the strength of the parts, leaving them more vulnerable to failure.


Faucets can freeze and crack in the winter due to improper installation or lack of maintenance. Inadequate installation might leave the faucet vulnerable to cold weather damage, and neglecting routine maintenance can lead to wear and strain.


Here are some things you can do to prevent a broken or dripping faucet caused by freezing:

  • Ensure that your pipes are well insulated. The water won’t freeze as quickly.
  • Turn your faucets to a slow drip. This will keep the water from sitting still and freezing over.
  • Turn off your water supply if you are going to be gone from home for an extended time. Pipes are less likely to freeze and rupture if this is done.
  • Get a plumber to check and fix your faucets regularly. Any issues may be found and fixed before they become catastrophic.

2. Hard Water and Mineral Buildup

Hard water and mineral accumulation can eventually lead to the need for dripping faucet repair.


Minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are abundant in hard water, contribute to scale formation. A deposit of these minerals, known as scale, can harden and crust over with time. The aerator, valve, and cartridge inside the faucet are all susceptible to developing scale. Reduced water pressure and possibly leaky faucets can result from scale accumulation because water movement is impeded.


Additionally, minerals in hard water can also cause corrosion in the parts of a faucet. Minerals can cause the faucet’s appearance and structural integrity to deteriorate due to chemical reactions with metal surfaces. Leaks, leaky faucets, and even the entire breakdown of the faucet can all be caused by corrosion and can be beyond dripping faucet repair.


Mineral deposits can also cause the handles of the faucet to become stiff and sticky, making it difficult to turn. The minerals might leave a gummy film on the handle, making it difficult to grip.


Moreover, minerals in hard water can create unattractive stains on the faucet, especially on chrome or stainless steel. These marks can be tough to clean and take away from the faucet’s aesthetics.


Faucets can be damaged by hard water and mineral deposits if they aren’t maintained regularly. Use of water softeners or conditioners, regular cleaning of the faucet and aerator to remove scale, and the installation of water filters or treatment systems are all good precautions to take. Faucet life and efficiency can be preserved through routine inspection and the timely removal of any mineral deposits.

3. High Water Pressure

Dripping faucets may be caused, in part, by high water pressure. This common cause may need water pressure regulation instead of dripping faucet repair.


Excessive water pressure places extra strain on a faucet’s internal parts such as the washers, seals, and O-rings. Leaks and drips may result from the gradual breakdown or degradation of these parts due to the added strain.


Faucet parts might also deteriorate more quickly if they are constantly subjected to high water pressure. Dripping faucets might be the result of high-pressure water’s continual force wearing out seals and washers.


When water flow is suddenly interrupted or modified, such as when a faucet is hastily closed, a burst of pressure occurs; this is known as a water hammer. The water hammer effect is exacerbated by high water pressure. This sudden shift in pressure can wear out faucet parts and cause dripping.


Additionally, when the water pressure in a home is too high, the water may spray or burst out of the faucet instead of flowing gradually. Dripping can be caused by water droplets escaping through crevices in the uneven flow.


Meanwhile, a defective pressure regulator could also be the cause of high water pressure in specific situations. If the pressure regulator is broken, the water pressure will not be properly controlled and will remain dangerously high. Dripping might be caused by the stress placed on the faucet’s parts by this excessive pressure.


To alleviate excessive water pressure and stop leaky faucets, a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) or pressure regulator can be installed instead of using dripping faucet repair kits. These devices keep the water pressure in the plumbing system at a safe level, which lessens the strain on the faucet and increases its service life. Faucet parts should be inspected and serviced routinely to catch any wear and tear before it causes leaks.

hand on a faucet

4. Faulty Installation or Repairs

Dripping faucets may be caused by improper installation or maintenance in a lot of ways.


Faucet components like washers, seals, and O-rings may not establish a watertight seal if they are not tightened or fastened properly during installation or repair. The faucet may start dripping or leaking as a result.


Faucets that leak could also be the result of improper installation or repair, namely the use of the wrong-sized or mismatched parts. Water can leak through a faucet or a valve, for instance, if the washer or seal doesn’t fit properly because its dimensions don’t match those of the faucet or the valve.


Additionally, failure to properly seal or lubricate the faucet’s moving parts can cause leaks and poor performance. Dripping faucets can be the result of faulty sealing, which can occur if sealant or lubricant is not applied correctly or is left out during installation or repair.


Washers, seals, and valve seats can be harmed by improper handling or installation, leading to leaks and other problems with the faucet. In addition, the faucet’s capacity to keep a watertight seal can be compromised by using worn or damaged parts during repairs, leading to leakage.


Mistakes in installation or repair involving the assembly or reassembly of a faucet can cause havoc with the internal mechanisms that keep the water flowing. Dripping can occur when water leaks because of parts that aren’t properly aligned or positioned, so be sure to follow the instructions that come with dripping faucet repair kits if you want to DIY.


Dripping faucets can be the consequence of a number of issues, including a lack of professional expertise in plumbing installation or maintenance. Hiring a professional Mississauga plumber or someone else familiar with fixing and installing fixtures is the best way to lessen the possibility of leaks.


If you want to avoid having to constantly fix leaky faucets, it’s best to engage a professional plumber to do any work on your faucets. They know what they’re doing and have the experience and training to get the job done right, repairing or replacing any and all broken parts. Moreover, dripping faucets are easy to avoid if you take the time to read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and dripping faucet repair instructions.

5. Worn-out or Defective Washers

Washers that are worn or broken can cause leaks in your faucet in a number of different ways.


Washers, which are found inside the valve seat of a faucet, are an essential part of ensuring a leak-proof seal. Over time, the washer on your faucet will wear down because of the friction created by turning the handle on and off. Washer damage can also occur due to this friction as well as the washer’s exposure to water and minerals. When a washer wears out, it loses its sealing ability, allowing water to leak through.


Washers that have worn out can cause dripping from the faucet’s spout. The worn washer prevents a proper seal from being made, thus water can dribble out of the faucet even when it is turned off.


Common types of faucets that use washers to regulate water flow are compression-type faucets. Turning the handle of a water faucet compresses a washer against the valve seat, cutting off water flow. Compression faucets with worn washers don’t seal properly when compressed, resulting in leaks and drips.


Some faucets employ O-rings in place of washers to provide a watertight seal. O-rings, or oblong rubber rings, are inserted into a faucet’s stem grooves. These O-rings are susceptible to wear and brittleness from repeated use and exposure to water and minerals. When O-rings wear out, they can no longer effectively seal off the water, resulting in leaks and drips.


If your faucet is leaking because the washers are worn out, you should replace them. Most dripping faucet repair kits have washer replacements. The worn washer must be removed from the faucet and a new one of the same size and material must be installed. To make sure the washer is replaced correctly and the dripping problem is resolved, it is best to review the faucet’s manufacturer’s directions or hire a professional plumber for Mississauga fixture repair.

6. Worn-out Valve Seat

Valve seat leakage happens when the metal or brass fitting that seals the faucet’s spout to the internal valve wears out. When the faucet is closed, the washer or sealing element presses against this surface to create a seal. The valve seat can become worn or uneven after repeated usage and after being exposed to water and minerals. Dripping and leaking occur when water is unable to form a tight seal against a valve seat that has worn down over time.


Constant compression and release can wear out the valve seat in compression-type faucets, where the washer is squeezed against the valve seat to halt water flow. A worn or cracked valve seat, caused by constant pressure, will allow water to leak and drip from the faucet.


The valve seat can be eroded or corroded in places with hard water or aggressive water chemistry. Waterborne minerals and silt can slowly erode or corrode the valve seat surface, leaving it rough and uneven. The washer or other sealing element’s capacity to create a reliable seal is compromised as a result. Corroded valve seats also mean other parts of the faucet are corroded, so dripping faucet repair kits may not help you with this one.


A leaky faucet could be the result of a worn valve seat, which can be repaired or changed to solve the problem. In order to access the valve seat, disassemble the faucet and use the appropriate tools to either smooth it out or replace it if necessary. To ensure correct valve seat repair or replacement, it is best to study the directions provided by the faucet’s manufacturer or hire a professional plumber.

7. Wrong Size Faucet Washer

While a rare occurrence, sometimes faucet manufacturers do make mistakes and could use the wrong size washer in the faucet.


When the faucet is closed, the washer is supposed to produce a tight seal between the valve seat and the stem. The valve seat may not be fully covered by the washer if it is too tiny or too thin for the particular faucet. Dripping can occur if water is able to seep through holes in the coverage or if pressure is distributed unevenly.


Faucets that use a washer compressed against a valve seat to regulate water flow are incompatible with compression faucets. If you use a washer that is the wrong size, the compression mechanism may not work as intended. If the washer isn’t the right size for the valve seat, the valve won’t be properly sealed, and water will leak out.


Additionally, extra wear and tear on the washer occur when a washer that is too small for the faucet is used. Because of its reduced size, the washer may shift or migrate within the faucet, hastening its wear and compromising its seal. Wear and tear on the washer reduces its ability to seal off leaks and drips.


If you want to keep your faucet from dripping, don’t use any old washer—use the exact size and material that the manufacturer specifies. To make sure the washer is selected and installed correctly, check the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a plumber. Water leakage and dripping can be avoided by using a washer of the appropriate size to form a tight seal.


Conserving water, promoting energy efficiency, saving money, preventing water damage, and adhering to the principles of sustainable living and environmental responsibility are all benefits of leaky faucet repair. Knowing how to fix a dripping faucet helps your community as a whole become more sustainable by promoting the responsible management of water supplies. If you don’t have the time or skills to fix a dripping faucet, don’t hesitate to contact us for our Mississauga fixture installation or repair services.