The joys of seasonal and investment property ownership are frequently dampened upon your return with annoying household failures.  Many of the simplest of things that can go wrong in your home are the result of “inactivity” or non-use.  For example, a faucet cartridge which is designed to last 15-20 years can fail after a few years simply because it did not get “exercised” or used.  A plumber friend of ours frequently says, “if you don’t use; you lose it”.  Faucet and shower cartridge failures are generally the result of a rubber O ring inside the faucet or valve having dried out or passages in the cartridge have become blocked.  


A failure can result in a leaky faucet a shower that will not allow the hot water to flow.  There are several types of controllers that determine the water flow and temperature.  If you know what type of controller you have it is much easier to troubleshoot a repair.  There are three types of faucets:

  • Cartridge 
  • Ceramic Disc
  • Rotary Ball

A cartridge is a very common style with a handle that lifts up and down.  Inside the cartridge are O rings that control the flow and temperature of the water.  A ceramic disc– while similar to a cartridge uses a ceramic disc to control water and temperature flow rather than an O ring.  Rotary ball types use a rotating hollow ball that sits in a socket to control water flow and temperature.  Many do-it-yourselfers quickly find they need the assistance of a plumber because of things that are not diagnosed properly at the outset of the project.  Here are some of the things that can impact your repair:

Broken Hardware

If a part of the internal mechanism (spring, disc or O-Ring) fails it can lead to a constant drip or leak.

Valve Seat is Corroded

A valve seat is the compression device between the spout and faucet.  Because Florida residents have extremely hard water mineral deposits can accumulate and cause corrosion in the valve seat.  These types of problems are difficult to correct as a DIY project and will likely require a plumber.

Cartridge O Ring Failure

After a lot of use or inactivity O-rings get worn out, loose, dried out or brittle and can allow the faucet or shower valve to fail.  Cartridges are generally a simple fix.

Worn out Washer

When you use a sink faucet the internal mechanism forces a washer up into the valve seat and creates a constant source of pressure.  This repeated action causes friction which over time will wear the washer out.

Bad Installation

If the wrong size washer is used or is not installed properly it will likely leak.  Correct installation is the only way to eliminate the problem.

Faulty Seals

Inlet seals are used to allow water to flow freely when the faucet is on.  The inlet seal controls the shut off of the water as well.  Excessive pressure, calcium or mineral build up, scale and sediment can damage a seal and create an issue.

How costly are Repairs

Plumbers will generally charge an hourly rate and a minimum service fee.  Most range from $45 to $150 per hour and about $50 to $100 for the service call.  A typical faucet repair can run $125 to $350.

Carefree Home Watch is a Certified and Accredited Home Watch Professional.  Our best practice is to operate and run the sink faucet and shower/tub faucet on every Home Watch visit.  This practice helps minimize premature failures and helps ensure that you have hot water available to take a hot shower after your return to your seasonal home.  For a FREE in-home consultation contact Carefree Home Watch at 239-234-1847; or visit where you can visit our Resource Center for more Best Practices blogs and videos.