Sink faucets are an important part of every household because they allow us to wash our hands, dishes, clothes, and much more.
They are essential for hygiene, cleanliness, and for food preparation.
They allow for the instant access of clean hot or cold water at the push of a button or the turn of a knob, depending on what type of faucet it is.
In the West, we tend to take for granted the access we have to safe, drinkable water at a moment’s notice.
But how do faucets work? In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know.
There are many different types of faucets out there, from the more traditional twist-knob faucet to a more modern single handle mixer faucets, or even sensor-activated faucets.
Most faucets rely on a simple device such as a screw or lever in order to produce enough pressure to stop water from continuously running.
A faucet uses a simple engineering principle called fluid flow.
Faucets must be able to hold back water flow when they're turned off, and regulate the flow of water when they're turned on.
There are two main types of faucets: aerators and non-aerators. Aerator faucets use air pressure to move the water through the spout.
Non-aerator faucets use gravity to move the water through.
If you notice a slow flow rate from your faucet, check to make sure the aerator is installed correctly.
You may need to unscrew the aerator and clean it to ensure that it is not clogged.
If you find that your faucet has stopped working, try cleaning the cartridge.
First, remove the aerator and the rubber washers. Next, take a small amount of dish soap and pour it into the cartridge opening.
Run warm water through the faucet until the soap runs clear. Let the faucet run for 30 seconds before reattaching the aerator.
Problems caused due to faulty plumbing systems occur when underground pipes burst or freeze.
This could cause flooding and sewage backup. It is important to have regular maintenance performed to avoid such disasters.
Regularly scheduled inspections help identify potential issues early on.
These preventative measures save time and money in the long run. So, what types of faucets are there?
The most common type of faucet found in homes today is the cartridge faucet.
They were invented in the late 1800s and have been used ever since.
Cartridge faucets consist of an outer body and an inner stem.
The outer body contains the components of the faucet including the handles, knobs, and spouts.
The inner stem holds the moving parts of the faucet which include the sprayer, shutoff valve, and temperature control mechanism.
The cartridge faucet uses a spring-loaded ballcock to regulate the flow of water.
When the water is turned on, the ballcock opens, allowing water to fill the cartridge chamber.
As the water level rises, the weight of the water pushes against the ballcock, forcing it closed.
This action allows the water to flow freely through the faucet. To stop the flow of water, simply turn off the supply line at the wall.
Cartridge faucets work by having a cartridge inserted into the spout. When the cartridge is aligned correctly, water flows out.
To turn off the water, the cartridge is rotated, causing it to move down and block the hole.
This allows water to stop flowing. Cartridge faucet handles are used to control the flow of water.
A disc faucet is similar to a cartridge faucet except that there are no springs involved.
Instead, they rely solely on the force of water pushing against the discs to open and close the faucet.
Disc faucets can be more difficult to repair than cartridge faucets because replacing the discs requires removing them from the outer housing.
To replace a disc faucet, you must first remove all of the screws holding the outer housing together.
Once this is done, you will need to remove the old discs and install new ones.
Make sure to get a replacement set of discs with the same diameter as the original discs.
If the holes are too large, the new discs will slide out easily.
However, if the hole is too small, the new discs will be difficult to insert.
Diaphragm valves are also known as pressure reducing valves. They work by using a diaphragm instead of a spring.
A diaphragm is essentially a flexible membrane that sits inside a cylinder.
When the valve is opened, air enters the cylinder and expands the diaphragm.
This causes the valve to move towards its fully open position.
When the valve is closed, the opposite happens; the air escapes, causing the diaphragm to contract and the valve to move towards the fully closed position.
Diaphragms are typically made of metal, but can also be made of plastic.
When repairing a diaphragm faucet, you should first check the condition of the diaphragm itself.
If the diaphragm looks like it has worn down, it may not be able to hold enough pressure to keep the valve open.
In this case, you will need to replace the entire valve assembly.
If the diaphragm appears to be fine, then you can start working on fixing the problem.
First, loosen the retaining nut on the outside of the valve. Then, remove the two screws holding the valve cover in place.
Next, remove the rubber washer and O-ring from between the valve seat and the valve stem.
Finally, pull the valve stem out of the valve body.
After everything is removed, inspect the valve for any damage or wear. If there is any damage, replace the part immediately.
Otherwise, clean the area around the valve stem and reinstall the parts. Tighten the retaining nuts and reattach the valve cover.
Rotating Ball Faucets
The rotating ball faucet is one of the most popular types of faucets found in homes today.
It features an internal mechanism that rotates a ball within a cage.
When the supply line is turned on, the water flows into the ball and turns the ball until it hits the end of the cage.
At this point, the water stops flowing, and the faucet is closed.
To reopen the faucet, simply turn the handle back to the open position.
Because the ball is constantly turning, it is important to maintain the faucet’s seal.
Over time, dirt and debris can build up inside the faucet. This buildup can cause the ball to bind and prevent it from moving freely.
The best way to deal with this issue is to have your faucet professionally cleaned at least once every year.
How Do I Know If My Faucet Needs To Be Replaced?
Checking your faucet regularly can help you figure out if it needs to be repaired or replaced.
Here are some things to look for:
- A leaking faucet should be fixed immediately. Water damage can lead to mold growth and health problems.
- If you notice any cracks around the handle or spout, call a plumber right away. Cracks can develop over time and allow bacteria to enter the home.
- Look for signs of corrosion near the base of the faucet. Corrosion occurs when metal reacts with air and moisture. Over time, rust can form, causing leaks and other concerns.
- Check the valves inside the faucet. Do not use a screwdriver to adjust these valves. You may break the threads and create a leak.
How To Fix A Leaky Faucet
How often do you hear someone say they have a leaky faucet?
If you live in a house or apartment building, chances are you've heard at least one person complain about their water bill.
And if you're like me, you probably don't want to spend $100+ every month on water bills.
The average American household uses over 300 gallons of water per day.
In fact, according to the EPA, Americans waste nearly half of our water supply.
A leaking faucet isn't just annoying, it also wastes precious resources.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to repair leaks without having to call a plumber.
Check out our handy step-by-step guide and learn how to fix your own sink leak problems with ease.
Once you understand the problem, you can easily solve it so that you won't need to hire a professional plumber again!
How To Repair Leaky Faucet
1. Turn off the cold and hot water valves. Use a bucket underneath the valve to catch any running water.
2. Unscrew the nuts holding the handle/plunger assembly in place. There should be only two screws holding the handle in place.
3. Pull apart the washer and the nut inside the top of the handle. The plastic piece will come right out.
4. Clean out all the gunk from the threads of the nut and put new sealant on them. Put the screw back together and tighten it up.
5. Replace the plunger and washer. Make sure the hole is facing down into the bucket.
6. Screw the nut back onto the handle.
7. Turn both valves back on. Test for leaks by turning on the cold water first and seeing if the bucket fills up.
Then turn on the hot water and see if the bucket fills up as well. If everything is working properly, then you did a good job fixing your leaky faucet!
Faucets are one of the most important fixtures in a bathroom or kitchen.
They provide clean, fresh water to our homes, but how they work is a mystery to most people.
Many people don’t realize how easy it is to make repairs to their existing faucets.
Understanding how faucets work may save you money if you can fix your own faucet rather than hiring professionals.
We hope this article has helped you to understand how faucets work, and how you can repair your own faucet with ease.