Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fix the Drips

Water conservation is a bigger deal than most people realize. Municipal water systems use a huge amount of energy. Enough, in fact, that they can be a city's leading source of greenhouse gas emissions (from the electricity used to run the pumps, treat the water, etc.). With aging infrastructure that can result in a water system leaking away a tenth of its water or more.

Dripping faucets can be fixed easily, and doing so will cut down on water waste and save energy too. Replacing the washers and O-rings wo
n't take long and isn't difficult. Here's how to do it for the type of faucet found in most rental bathrooms.
Tools: For this repair you'll need an adjustable wrench, a flathead screwdriver and a #2 Phillips screwdriver.

Step 1: Look under the sink for a shutoff valve. Turn to the right to turn off the water. Do this before taking the faucet apart. If you don't have a valve there, you'll need to turn the water off in the basement or ask your building
dent for help.

Step 2: Remove the small plate on top of the faucet. Remove the screw underneath.

Step 3: Remove the faucet handle and you'll see the valve. Use your adjustable wrench to unscrew it, then lift it out.

Step 4: Use your flathead screwdriver to remove the screw from the bottom of the valve. Then remove the washer. While you have the valve off, it's a good idea to change the washer and any O-rings. If you're unsure of the size you need, bring them to the hardware store with you, or bring the whole valve assembly.

Step 5: Put the new O-rings on and screw the new washer into place. Screw the valve back in, screw the faucet handle on, replace the cap. Turn the water back on. Wash hands.

Congratulations, you have now made a very important repair. This will save you, or your landlord, money. It will save the city money. It will conserve both water and electricity (especially if it was a hot water faucet). And it'll mean an end to those nasty rust stains that have been building up in your sink during the months your faucet was dripping.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Red! You've inspired me to fix the faucet in our upstairs washroom. Your instructions certainly make it look easy enough -- I'll let you know how it goes. (BTW -- fine hand model!)

KarenInTo said...

Water conservation after this wet year in Toronto might seem superfluous, but it's still important. I got new water pressure and the house (built around 1923 got its first water meter) last August. My first bill in Feb. was minus $193. My next bill in July was minus $64. I expect my next bill to be about $15. One person, 4 cats, 100 percent low-flow faucets and HE toilet (4.8 l or less per flush), rain barrel.

Craig Saunders said...

Glad you're going to tackle it, Dave. If you find that it's a different type of faucet, my instructions may not apply. But the "Do It Yourself" book mentioned in today's post has easy-to-follow instructions for most common faucets.

And Kareninto is spot on. Even in rainy years, water conservation is important. I need to look up the amount of energy used per gallon of tap water.