One drip per second from a leaky faucet equals 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of wasted water a year, according to Paul Patton, senior product manager for Delta Faucet, and Chuck White, vice president of technical and code services for the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

Plus, water is big-time corrosive, "more like sand than oil," says White. That leak is corroding the metal parts deep inside your faucet, and that's the aim of your fix-it. It may be nothing more than a loose ring that needs tightening, or you may need to ditch the innards, a part called "the seat," or in a newfangled faucet, "the cartridge." That's the part that needs to be swapped out. Either that, or start fresh with a whole new faucet. In which case, you may want to call a plumber.

Here are tips from White and Patton.

Degree of difficulty: Tricky enough to show why plumbers were invented.

Tools required: Screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, adjustable wrench, Allen wrench. And depending on your replacement part, the correct "seat removing tool" (with a hexagon fitting, or a square protruding from the end). Without the right removing tool, you're, well, soaked.

How to: