Fixing Water Supply Leakages
Water in the faucet supply hoses is under pressure, so it tends to spray or actively drip from loose connections or defective pipes. A common source of drips are shut-off valves with compression fittings that aren’t as tight as they should be. The best way to tighten them is to hold the valve with one wrench while you turn the compression nut with another. Also problematic are leaks coming from faucet connections that are difficult to tighten because they are located in cramped spaces behind the sink. They are best tightened, not with a wrench, but with adjustable or locking pliers. Dribble water around the sink rim and faucet base with a sponge. Then look for leaks below using a flashlight.
Sink rim leaks allow water to seep under the rim or the base of the faucet. They will gradually destroy your cabinets and countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Signs of trouble:Puddles, dampness or water stains inside the cabinet. Loose plastic laminate near sink. A loose faucet base. Deteriorating caulk around sink. How to find the source: If you have a plastic laminate countertop, examine the underside of the countertop using a flashlight. Look for swollen particleboard or other signs of water damage. Dribble water around the sink rim and look for leaks (photo).
How to fix it: Tighten the faucet base by turning the mounting nuts underneath it. If the sink rim is caulked, scrape away the old caulk and recaulk. Tighten the clips under the sink rim that clamp the sink to the countertop. Sink leaks can occur at any plumbing joint. But the most common leaks happen at the sink rim, shutoff valves, supply line connections and slip joints in the waste lines. Don’t rely on your sense of touch to find tiny leaks. Wipe each connection with a dry tissue. Then look for a wet spot on the tissue. Supply leaks under the kitchen sink or bath vanity can go unnoticed for a long time since they’re usually at the back of the cabinet. Water can run down the pipes into the floor or subfloor, rotting the sink base, the floor and the framing.
Signs of trouble: Puddles, dampness or water stains inside the cabinet. Stains on the ceiling below. How to find the source: Dab shutoffs and connections with a dry tissue or paper towel and look for wet spots (photo). Run the dishwasher and check for leaks under it. How to fix it: If the valve stem on a shutoff valve drips, tighten the packing nut. If the leak doesn’t stop, replace the valve. For other leaks at the shutoff valve or at the faucet, try tightening the compression nut first. If that doesn’t stop the leak, disassemble the fitting, coat the ferrule or gasket with Teflon joint compound (available at home centers and hardware stores) and reassemble the connection.