Tired of the steady drip, drip, drip of your leaky faucet? Whether those water droplets fall at a regular pace, or until you’re able to locate the “sweet spot” on the handle that stops the drop, a leaky faucet is one of a homeowner’s most annoying problems. The first question is which solution is more cost-effective: repair or replacement? The second question – regardless of the answer to the first – is DIY or hire a plumber? Because we at Adams and Son Plumbing believe that knowledge is power, we offer this guide.
How long do faucets last?
Generally, good-quality faucets can last for about 10 years.
But the life of a faucet depends on several factors:
• Frequency of use
• Make and model
• Water hardness
• Proper installation
If the offending faucet is at or near the 10-year mark, replacement may be more cost-effective than repair – unless it’s a high-end designer faucet, which could cost well over $1,000 to replace. As many homeowners have learned from experience, however, a fancy European brand and high price tag doesn’t always mean a superior product. In such a case, it’s probably better to cut your losses and replace the temperamental tap with a tried-and-true brand.
Ignoring the drip isn’t an option. Our April 2018 blog post, “Got a Plumbergency?” cautions that a neglected faucet leak can lead to very costly repairs. In addition, leaky faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water over time, and result in higher water bills.
There are three main types of faucets:
- Cartridge faucets – These generally use an up/down motion to regulate water flow and control temperature with a left/right motion.
- Compression faucets – This type features two knobs or levers – one each for hot and cold.
- Ball-type faucets – These have a knob directly above the spout that controls water flow and temperature, depending upon the direction it’s twisted.
Should I do it myself, or hire a pro?
The next question is should you tackle repair or replacement yourself, or hire a professional plumber? There are numerous websites and YouTube videos providing step-by-step instructions for either type of project. But as easy as they try to make the process seem, taking the DIY route isn’t advisable unless you have hands-on experience with plumbing. Even then, your DIY experience with a cartridge or ball-type faucet may not transfer to compression faucets.
Also consider unanticipated problems you may encounter that could result in damage or a more extensive repair that you’d expected. Removing an existing faucet may expose corroded pipes or other components that require replacement.
DIY repair and new faucet installation
Again, many tutorials are available online from reputable sources, such as home improvement stores. If you have intermediate repair skills and feel comfortable, a repair can be done in a half-hour to an hour, depending upon the type of faucet.
Replacement is, of course, a more complex and time-consuming project. Basic tools and supplies required are a basin wrench, adjustable wrenches and bucket. Lowes provides step-by-step instructions and a video. Not all faucets come preassembled, so be sure you have the know-how necessary to install your faucet.
Faucet repair and installation by a plumber
While the cost of professional installation varies, online research can provide the suggested retail price of specific faucet brands and models. If you want a basic, quality faucet, a plumber can provide and install it for one price. Should you buy the faucet yourself, make sure it will fit your sink and is compatible with your home’s plumbing.
A plumber also has the experience and proper equipment to replace supply lines and repair related problems that you may not have noticed, or were hidden until the old faucet was removed. Hiring a professional can save time and money by ensuring the job is done right.
Our colleagues at MillTown provide solid reasons why you should hire a pro, which include:
- Helping you select the best quality products for your home.
- Installing your fixtures quickly and cost-effectively.
- Performing all work in compliance will local municipal codes.
- Ensuring all connections are safe.
Whether you’re a proud Central Florida homeowner or business owner, Adams and Son Plumbing can keep your plumbing working dependably. We are a family-owned business with over 50 years in plumbing service. A state-certified plumbing contractor, we have over three generations of master plumbing experience.
Contact us to learn more.
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