Question: Why is my faucet cartridge leaking?
Answer: The are several possible causes of faucet cartridge leakage, including water quality, type of cartridge, and the age of the faucet.
Water quality is a common factor, as is type of metal. Your water is full of calcium and minerals, which can become a problem when the water flows through a brass body. Because of the original casting process, this will eat away small imperfections in the brass. Soft spots in the brass and small bumps can cause the brass to be removed from the water, resulting in the formation of small rivulets in the surface of the brass. With the naked eye, these are almost impossible to see because they blend in with the brass surface coating. These changes occur slowly, over time, and are related to the age of the faucet.
What to Do
You maybe able to use a tiny buffing tool to buffer the inside of the cartridge cylinder. To solve a leaky faucet cartridge, you will need to locate the dark line using a flashlight, and then carefully buff out the imperfections. Then reinstall the cartridge and see if it works.
The problem can also be related to the rubber, brass or ceramic seal in the bottom of the cartridge opening, which may have been damaged by the opening and closing of the cartridge as it opens and closes. You may have to replace the guts of your faucet in order for it to work.
In most cases you will want to hire a plumber to replace the cartridge or try to do it yourself with parts from your local hardware store. It's much faster, easier and cost effective to just replace the cartridge than to try to find the imperfections and repair the cartridge. Faucet parts are generally inexpensive, and it's a job even novice plumbers can usually handle.
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Find out how much a dripping faucet costs here, using a leaky faucet calculator to estimate water waste costs.