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Repairing Faucet Leaks
A pinhole-sized leak from your faucet can waste as much as 70 gallons of water in one day - 20% of a typical home's daily water use.

This page provides information to help you make small plumbing repairs. If you have doubts about your "fix-it" ability, please call a licensed plumbing professional.

The most common cause of a faucet leak is a worn-out washer which is relatively easy to repair. The first step in repairing a leak is to determine whether you have a compression type faucet, or a washerless faucet. 

Download the Compression Faucet Repair Guide.
Download the Washerless Faucet Repair Guide.

Before Starting Repairs
General precautions before starting repairs:
  • Make sure your local hardware store is open while you make your repairs.
  • Turn off the water to the leaking fixture by closing the nearest shutoff valve under or behind each fixture. If no fixture valve is present, close your property's main valve to shut off water to the property. Then partially open hot and cold water faucets to relieve the water pressure in your pipes.
  • Cover drain openings to prevent any small parts from falling down the drains.
  • Protect sink interiors with cloth or cardboard, as dropped tools can damage expensive porcelain.
  • Wrap tape around chromed fixtures and tool jaws to reduce scratches on delicate surfaces.
  • Keep track of all pieces, making sketches that show all parts in sequence as removed to facilitate reassembly.
  • Clean corrosion and sludge from valve seats, valve stems, springs, seals, discs, and filter cones with a scour pad, vinegar, or brush. Be careful not to scratch or damage any parts.  

Disclaimer
The information provided in this section is general advice to help you conserve water. You may have unique concerns which can only be addressed by a licensed plumbing professional. The City of San José Environmental Services Department does not have plumbing expertise, nor is it a plumbing referral service. By using this information, you are agreeing that under no circumstances will the City, its officers, agents, or employees be responsible for (1) any information contained or omitted (2) any person's reliance on any such information, whether or not the information is correct, current, or complete, (3) the consequences of any action you or any other person takes or fails to take, whether or not based on information provided here. You are welcome to view this information for your own personal, non-commercial purposes. Copying or other use of any of the information contained here is strictly prohibited.