Leaky Faucet? When to Repair and When to Replace

Leaky faucets are a fact of life. As they get older, parts break down, and suddenly the sound of dripping keeps you up at night. At best, a leaky faucet is annoying. At worst, it can be destructive and lead to big water bills and ultimately repair bills.

When you have a leaky faucet, though, is it worth it to repair the fixture, or should you replace it instead? If you aren’t sure, a faucet repair service in Baltimore or a city closer to home can help you make the choice, or you can consider some of the following.

When to Repair Your Faucet

Sometimes, a faucet leaks (or makes weird noises or just spits out water or does something other than what faucets are supposed to do) because of something simple. It’s possible that a washer has come loose or is starting to corrode, or the aerator needs to be cleaned. If you have a reasonable amount of know-how, you can usually make these simple repairs yourself. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could waste a lot of time and money on a fix that doesn’t work, or just make the problem worse. In that case, call a repair company and let them tackle the job.

Making simple repairs to leaky faucets is the better choice when it would cost more to replace the faucet than it would to repair. Going back to that loose or old washer, a replacement typically costs less than $1. Compare that to a new faucet, which could run over $100 if you purchase a high-end model. If your faucet is relatively new, and the simple fix does the job, then there’s no need to replace it.

When to Replace Your Faucet

Many plumbers and home maintenance experts recommend replacing a leaky faucet if it’s older than 8-10 years old. While many faucets have lasted much longer than a decade without trouble, once they begin to age, the return on investment for repairs diminishes. If the problem is more than a simple fix, it could potentially cost a few hundred dollars to have a professional tackle the job, in which case it makes more financial sense to purchase a new faucet instead.

Replacing older faucets is a good idea for several reasons. For starters, like everything else in your home, over time wear and tear takes hold, and the parts in your faucet can start to break down. However, it’s more than a simple maintenance issue. Modern faucets are generally much more efficient than older models; a faucet from 10 years ago or longer most likely flows at a rate of 3-5 gallons per minute, while a current model is likely to max out at 2.5 gallons per minute. This increased efficiency can go a long way toward lowering your water bills.

Older faucets are also more difficult to repair, due to limited availability of parts. The older your faucet, the less likely it is that you or a professional plumber will be able to acquire the parts required to repair it. Not only are parts for newer faucets easier to come by, but many high-end faucet manufacturers offer free replacement parts for the life of the fixture. Rather than searching home improvement and plumbing supply companies for the right parts, you can simply contact the manufacturer to request what you need.

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Generally speaking, newer faucet designs need less maintenance and are less likely to need repairs than older models, thanks to advances in technology and advanced features. Traditional ball style faucets, for instance, tend to break down more often due to the number of parts they contain, while the more modern disk style faucets rarely need repairs. Replacing your old, leaky faucet with one that is less likely to have problems can save money in the long run and ensures that your home isn’t damaged by water leaks or other issues.

The bottom line, then, is that if you can fix your faucet without spending too much money, and it’s not an old or outdated model, then repairing is a good way to go. If your faucet is old, though, and you’re just going to be repairing it again in a few months, then replacing it is a smarter bet.

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