How To Fix a Leaking Tap?

Blogs General Plumbing leaking-tap-repair

There are few things more annoying than an incessantly dripping tap. But, aside from the annoying side of it, a leaking tap also means that something isn’t working as it should - and should we even mention the waste of water?! It might be something easily fixed, like a loose O ring or a corroded washer, or there could be something more serious going on, like a tap leak that requires professional attention. If it's in the easier category, here’s a simple guide on how to fix a leaking tap.

What you’ll need to fix your tap leakage

There are a few items you’ll need that might not be in a typical toolbox. If you are new to DIY plumbing, you might need to purchase or borrow some essentials. You’ll also need some spare time to get this done - especially if it’s your first foray at being a plumber for a day.

Start with:

  • A washer to fit your tap (the most common size is 12mm, but double-check the size of your current washer for tap washer replacement)
  • O-ring
  • Spanner or wrench (best if it is adjustable, crucial for changing a tap washer)
  • Tap lubricant
  • Screwdriver
  • Jumper valve

All of these items can be easily bought at a hardware store, but if this feels too complex, give Enviromate Plumbing a call to fix that leaking tap. We service the greater Newcastle, Hunter Valley, and Lake Macquarie regions.

Preparation of leaking tap fix

This guide will work for all general taps, including how to stop a leaking laundry tap, and addressing bathroom and shower water tap leaks.

Firstly, shut off the water supply at the main. This is typically out the front of your home either on the street or in your yard, or inside the bathroom or laundry for apartments and townhouses. Turn on your tap to get rid of excess water sitting in the pipe.

Identify your issue… Is the washer corroding? The O-ring? Check pipes for any evidence of corrosion or rust. Is it your hot or cold water tap leaking?

If the water is leaking down the tap itself, the issue is your O-ring. If the tap is dripping from the spout while it’s off, this is the washer. You might want to just replace both to be on the safe side, and avoid having to repeat the process later.

Set your tools close to the area you’re working on for easy access, and have a cloth or rag close by to help keep your hands and the equipment from transferring grease and lubricant.

Getting started on stopping your leaking tap

Start by using your spanner to remove the tap cover and then the handle. Remove the headgear by unscrewing the bonnet to loosen. You should now see your washer, jumper valve, and O-ring. Start your leaking tap repair

Step 1:

Once removed, take off the cover plate at the base of the stem. If it has been affixed by glue, reach for the pliers to help you get it off without damage.

Step 2:

Replace the washer and/or O-ring and jumper valve with your newly bought parts. Applying tap lubricant on the spindle and valve will help to seal the tap.

Step 3:

Be sure to pay close attention to where each part is and how it’s put together, so that you can replace it by just working backward from how you disassembled them.

Step 4:

Be careful not to overtighten the nuts and bolts when refitting the bonnet and spindle; you want there to be a bit of movement here (firm fit, but not too tight).

Check that your dripping or leaking tap is fixed

Once your tap has been reassembled with new parts, it’s time to check your handiwork. Turn on your water supply and turn your tap on slowly.

If water comes through without any evidence of leaks, and turns off without dripping, you’re done! Well done.

If your tap continues to leak and drip, it’s time to call one of our plumbing experts and find out what the issue is. 

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