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Leaky and malfunctioning sinks in the bathroom or kitchen are a nuisance, but they can also create more serious problems if left unchecked. Leaky faucets waste water and increase utility bills. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average household’s leaks can add up to more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Leaks can also cause damage underneath and behind the vanity, cabinet or pedestal if the water seeps into the wall or floor for an extended period of time. Hiring a professional to repair a leaky faucet is a good idea. The national average cost to repair a leaky faucet is $65–$150, but the cost may be higher, depending on the nature and cause of the leak. Dripping faucets may be fixable by tightening a stem screw or replacing a corroded valve seat or worn out washer.

Sink versus faucet

In some cases, says both John Cooper of Do Right Rooter & Plumbing Experts and Joe Clark of Pierce County Plumbing, replacing an entire faucet for about $150 (or higher, depending on what type of faucet) may end up costing less than repairing it. Drain problems can be addressed by having a plumber cable the drain for $100–$200.

Water temperature and pressure

Generally, water temperature issues can be fixed by adjusting the temperature on the water heater. Low water pressure from a sink faucet may be caused by a blocked aerator screen. Homeowners can simply unscrew the aerator screen from the faucet to clean out minerals or other deposits. If the shutoff valves under the sink are not open all the way, water pressure can also be low. More complicated issues with water temperature or pressure may require replacing the water heater, which generally costs $350–$3,500, depending on capacity and type.

Surface problems

Chips, scratches or cracks in the porcelain surface of a sink can be repaired or resurfaced for about $100–$200.

Replacing pipes

Replacing pipes between the sink and the wall is less expensive than if a plumber has to cut into a wall to replace damaged pipes. The latter job can at $400, depending on the size of the project.

Cost-saving strategies

Don’t allow drippy faucets to go unattended and escalate into larger plumbing problems.

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