How to fix a leaking tap
Fixing a dripping tap
Leaking taps or dripping taps can quickly become a real inconvenience in the home. Not only are they famously annoying, but they can waste a huge amount of water and money. However a dripping tap is usually easy to fix, and doesn’t need a call out to a plumber.
Where the leak is coming from will determine the type of repair you need to make.
- If water is leaking from the spout you need to replace the washer
- If water is leaking from beneath the handle then the valve O-ring will need replacing
- If the leak is coming from beneath the spout then the spout O-ring will need replacing
Replacing a tap washer or tap valve
There are generally two types of valves in taps, and the type of valve you have will determine which washers you need.
- Compression valve taps, which need a full turn or more to reach maximum power, use rubber washers. These washers sit at the base of the valve and form a seal to stop water flow. Drips occur when the washer starts to wear away.
- Ceramic disc valve taps, such as modern monobloc mixer taps, reach maximum power after half a turn or less, and use ceramic discs instead of washers.
Hot water valves will have a red bottom seal, and cold water valves will have a blue bottom seal. The difference between the two is the direction in which the valve turns.
Before you start any plumbing work, turn off your water supply. Then run off any excess water through the pipes. Before you start to dismantle your tap you can put a plug into the sink so you don’t accidentally lose any small parts or screws.
It’s important not to overtighten any washers or valves when you replace them, as this can cause excessive stress on the valve and will soon lead to dripping again.