10 Fixes for a Faucet That Won’t Turn Off

How to Fix a Faucet that Won’t Turn Off

Howdy there, folks!

Your favorite southern handyman, Billy, is back with some good ol’ advice to help you tackle those pesky household problems.

Today, we’re gonna discuss a common issue that many of us have faced: a faucet that just won’t turn off.

It can be downright frustrating, not to mention a waste of precious water plus the extra on the water bill.

But don’t you worry, I’ve got 10 fixes lined up that’ll have that leaky faucet under control in no time.

So, let’s dive right in and get your faucet back in working order, shall we?

1. Tighten the Faucet Handle: The Quick Fix

Sometimes, a loose faucet handle can cause water to flow continuously. To fix this, first, locate the set screw on the handle of the faucet. You’ll need an Allen wrench to tighten it. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can cause damage to the faucet handle.

2. Replace Worn-Out Washers: The Common Culprit

One of the most common reasons for a running faucet is worn-out rubber washers. To replace them, turn off the main water supply, remove the handle screw, and use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the packing nut. Once you’ve removed the faucet stem, you’ll find the worn-out washer. Replace it with a new one from your local hardware store, and reassemble the faucet.

3. Clean the Valve Seat: The Mineral Menace

Mineral deposits can accumulate on the valve seat, preventing the faucet from closing properly. To clean the valve seat, first, disassemble the faucet as mentioned in the previous fix. Use white vinegar and a small brush or paper towel to clean the valve seat thoroughly. Reassemble the faucet, and check if the water flow has stopped.

4. Replace the Faucet Cartridge: The Upgrade

Cartridge faucets can develop issues that prevent them from shutting off the flow of water. To replace the faucet cartridge, turn off the main water supply, remove the faucet’s handles and cover plate, and unscrew the old cartridge. Replace it with a new cartridge, and reassemble the faucet.

5. Inspect and Replace the Faucet Stem: The Backbone

A damaged faucet stem can cause a faucet to keep running. To inspect and replace the faucet stem, follow the same steps as for replacing the washer. Once the faucet stem is removed, check it for any signs of damage. If necessary, replace it with a new one from your local hardware store.

6. Adjust the Water Pressure: The Balancing Act

If the water pressure in your home is too high, it can prevent the faucet from turning off. To check and adjust the water pressure, locate your water pressure regulator (usually near the main water valve or water meter). Use a wrench to adjust the regulator to the appropriate water pressure (between 40 and 60 psi is recommended).

7. Fix a Faulty Valve: The Hidden Issue

Sometimes, the main water valve can be the culprit behind a faucet that won’t turn off. If the valve is not fully closed, water can continue to flow through the faucet. Locate the main water valve and ensure it’s closed tightly. If the problem persists, the valve may be damaged and require replacement.

8. Examine the Faucet Type: The Specific Solution

Different types of faucets have unique components that may need repair or replacement. For example, a ball faucet may require a new ball, while a compression washer faucet may need a new valve stem. Identify the type of faucet you have and research the specific faucet parts that may need attention.

9. Repair or Replace the Faucet Body: The Last Resort

Sometimes, the faucet body itself can be damaged or corroded, causing water to flow continuously. If you’ve tried all the other fixes and the problem persists, it may be time to consider repairing or replacing the faucet body. First, disassemble the faucet and inspect the body for any signs of damage. If the damage is minor, you might be able to repair it with some plumber’s putty or a replacement part. However, if the faucet body is severely damaged or corroded, it’s best to replace the entire faucet.

10. Call a Professional Plumber: The Trusty Backup

If you’ve tried everything and your faucet still won’t turn off, it’s time to call in the pros. A professional plumber will have the expertise and tools to diagnose and fix the problem, saving you time and frustration. Plus, if there’s an underlying issue that you haven’t been able to identify, a plumber will be able to spot it and provide the appropriate solution.

What causes water faucets to break in the first place?

Normal Wear and Tear

One of the most common reasons for faucet breakdown is simply the natural wear and tear that occurs over time. Faucets are used multiple times a day, which leads to the gradual wearing down of components, such as washers, seals, and O-rings. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of these parts can help prolong the life of your faucet.

Hard Water

Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Over time, these minerals can build up on the faucet components, causing them to corrode, clog, or become less effective. Regular cleaning and the use of a water softener can help prevent damage caused by hard water.

High Water Pressure

Excessively high water pressure can put undue stress on your faucet components, leading to premature wear and even breakage. Installing a pressure regulator can help maintain a consistent water pressure and prevent damage to your faucet.

Poor Installation

Improper installation of a faucet can cause various issues, including leaks, loose connections, and even breakage. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a faucet or hire a professional plumber to ensure proper installation.

Inferior Quality Materials

Low-quality materials used in the manufacturing of faucets can lead to shorter lifespans and more frequent breakdowns. Invest in high-quality faucets made from durable materials, such as brass or stainless steel, to ensure long-lasting performance.

Freezing Temperatures

In cold climates, water inside the faucet can freeze and expand, causing the faucet components to crack or break. To prevent this, always disconnect and drain outdoor faucets during the winter months and insulate indoor pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures.


Over-tightening faucet components during installation or maintenance can cause stress on the parts, leading to cracks, leaks, or breakage. Always tighten connections only as much as necessary to create a watertight seal, and avoid using excessive force.

Chemical Corrosion

Some cleaning chemicals can be harsh on faucet components, causing them to corrode or deteriorate over time. Always use gentle, non-abrasive cleaning solutions, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance.

Improper Use

Applying excessive force when turning the faucet handle on or off can cause unnecessary stress on the components, leading to damage or breakage. Educate household members on proper faucet usage to prevent this issue.

Manufacturing Defects

While uncommon, manufacturing defects can cause a faucet to break prematurely. If your faucet fails shortly after installation, it may be due to a defect in the manufacturing process. In this case, contact the manufacturer for assistance, as most reputable companies will offer a warranty on their products.

So faucets can break due to various reasons, including normal wear and tear, hard water, high water pressure, and improper installation. By being mindful of these factors and performing regular maintenance, you can help prolong the life of your faucets and prevent breakdowns.

That Was It on Fixing a Faucet that Won’t Go Off

Well, folks, there you have it—10 fixes for a faucet that won’t turn off.

Whether you’re dealing with a loose handle, worn-out washers, or a damaged faucet body, these tips should help you get your faucet back in working order in no time.

Just remember to take your time, use the right tools, and always turn off the main water supply before attempting any repairs.

And if all else fails, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

They’ll have your faucet fixed up and water flow under control in a jiffy. Happy fixin’, y’all!

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