Bathroom sink with a leak.

What to Do If My Faucet Won’t Shut Off

When you’re faced with a faucet that won’t turn off the first thing you should check is the handle—is it turned all the way off? If it is, but there’s still a flow of water, you may have to investigate a little further.

Leaking vs. Running Faucet

Although leaking and running faucets may be perceived as similar circumstances, there are a few differences that you should take note of. Leaky faucets drip at a slower rate while running faucets have a more persistent flow of water. When you think of a leaking faucet, likely one of two images come to mind: a persistent drip or a consistent trickle of water. But, sometimes, leaking faucets can go undetected for quite some time. Whereas, running faucets are hard to miss.

However, if you suspect your problem is just a leak, try this simple test: dry the sink completely and place a dry paper towel over the drain, then leave it alone for a few hours If you come back to find that your paper towel is wet, you’ll know you have a leak on your hands.

Running faucets may have different components that are faulty in comparison to leaking faucets. Your handle stem could need a new washer, or the handle’s seat or stem could need replacing. These are all due to corroding or normal wear and tear due to constant usage.

What Causes a Faucet to Drip?

Usually, the internal components of the fixture are the culprits when it comes to this issue:

  • The stem and cartridge: These rubber and plastic parts shut off your faucet by closing over the opening to block out water flow but can become worn through regular use.

  • Rubber washers: They reduce in size due to constant use, in turn leading to a dripping faucet.

  • Valve set: A valve set can become corroded due to a buildup of water sediments.

  • Water pressure: If the faucet only drips during certain times of the day, this can be due to water pressure.

Steps to Fix Your Running Faucet

Follow these steps to locate the source of a running faucet:

  1. Shut off all water running to your sink. To do this, you must locate where the shut off valve is below the sink. However, if there isn’t one for your unit, then turning off the main water supply to your home will do the trick as well. This step should always be your first step in any plumbing DIY—if you forget to turn off the water supply before tinkering with your plumbing you could end up with a much bigger flooding issue in your home. Check that there is no water running from your fixture by turning on the faucet after you’ve shut off the water supply.

  2. Once you’ve successfully shut off your water supply, begin to disassemble your sink. Make sure you cover the drain to help prevent the loss of any valuable parts that you may need when it comes time to reassemble. Next, start by removing the handles.

  3. After that, you may have to do some research on your sink to learn how to remove the valve stem or cartridge— you can find this information online or in your sink’s manual.

  4. After removing these two pieces, examine the O-rings, rubber washers, and other components. If they seem corroded or worn, these could be the main problem causing your leak and it’s critical to replace these pieces.

If That Doesn’t Work…

A leak that drips once per second will waste a gallon of water in just four hours. While this is surprising if you follow all the steps above and still can’t seem to find the source of your issue there could be a larger problem within your home. Sometimes there are too many pieces that need to be replaced or the faucet as a whole needs to be substituted for a newer model.


If that’s the case, or if your faucet is still dripping or running, Pure Plumbing can replace and install any fixture that is causing an issue. Contact us online or by phone at (702) 710-7388 for any of your plumbing needs!
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