How Does a Compression Faucet Work?

A compression faucet is perhaps is the oldest type of faucet found in American homes. They are inexpensive but often require frequent repairs to stop leaks. Compression faucets are easily identified by their design, which includes separate hold and cold faucet handles that must be individually tightened to shut off the flow of water.

How Compression Faucets Function

A compression faucet uses a compression stem that resembles a large diameter screw, along with a rubber washer at the top of the threaded area. When the compression stem is tightened, the rubber seal presses against a valve seat to prevent water flow. When a compression faucet is functioning properly, depressing the rubber seal against the valve seat does an adequate job of preventing water flow. However, a compression faucet is often prone to water leaks for a couple of different reasons.

Causes of Leaks in Compression Faucets

Generally speaking, there are two primary reasons that a compression faucet will leak: a faulty valve seat or a defective rubber seal. Fortunately, repairing a leaky compression faucet is a rather simple process, and replacement parts are available at almost any home improvement store.

More often than not, repairing a leaky compression faucet is as simple as unscrewing the compression valve and replacing the worn out rubber seal with a new one. However, when this does not work, you can usually replace the valve seat using an Allen wrench. In fact, it is a good idea change both components at the same time as replacement parts are very cheap.