There's nothing quite as maddening as the constant dripping of water from a faucet.  Not only can a dripping faucet make it hard to concentrate on other things, but it can also waste water and increase your utility bill. To properly fix a leaky faucet, you must first determine the cause of the drip. Here's a look at the most common causes of leaky faucets and how to fix each problem.

1. Damaged O-Ring

The handle of a faucet is held in place with a component known as a stem screw. This small stem screw holds a small plastic, metal or rubber ring, known as an O-ring. Over time, the O-ring can succumb to daily wear and tear or loosen with daily use, causing the faucet to slowly leak water from around the handle. If this is the cause of your leaky faucet, simply replace the O-ring to stop the drip.

2. Worn Out Washer

If the faucet is producing a steady drip, the problem may be due to a worn out washer. With each use of the faucet, the washer is forced to press against the valve seat, the stationary portion of the valve which stops the flow of water. The constant friction between the washer and valve seat can cause the washer to wear down, making it more susceptible to leaks. To stop the leak, simply replace the worn out washer.

3. High Water Pressure

Water pressure in a typical home can fluctuate throughout the day and during certain activities that require water, such as running the dishwasher or washer machine. If you find that your faucet drips only at certain times of the day, it may be due to high water pressure. Too high water pressure can cause the water to leak out of the handle, around the base or other areas of the faucet. An easy fix requires reducing the water pressure in your home.

4.  Corroded Valve Seat

The valve seat connects the faucet and the spout. Over time, an accumulation of water sediments that flow through the faucet can cause the valve seat to corrode, making it weak. Corroded valve seats are highly prone to leakage around the spout area of the faucet. To prevent damage to the valve seat, clean it on a regular basis. You may need the help of a professional plumber to clean or replace a valve seat in your faucet.

If your faucet leaks, you will want to promptly determine the cause and find a suitable solution. For more information about dripping faucets or to get assistance repairing a faucet in your home, contact a professional plumber such as Qualtire Plumbing & Construction in your area.