Handy Hints

Fixing a Leaking Tap

Posted by on December 14, 2016

The most common cause of a Leaking Tap is usually a worn washer.

There are many issues that can occur in the plumbing system in your home. Most of them are very frustrating! But the most annoying of all is drip, drip, drip! A leaking tap is a headache everybody faces at some time.

The main reason for a leaking tap is typically the result of a worn or damaged washer. It is very easy to fix. If you want to save yourself some money, then read the article below instead of calling out a plumber. Plumbers will charge you more to attend your house on the weekend so be sure to read this article. Below is a step-by-step guide to replace your washer. 

To replace a washer, you need to know what size the washer is.  As a rule of thumb:

  • Taps which turn on and off with a quarter-turn, have a ceramic disk inside a replaceable cartridge.
  • Taps which need to be turned several times have rubber sealing washers. It is very common that basin and bath taps have different sizes.
  • Mixer type taps normally have smaller washers.

When you go to the hardware store,  take your old washer to the hardware store, or buy a packet with several different sized washers. Washers are not expensive.

The tools required to replace the washer are a spanner, screwdriver, some wire wool, a cloth, and a new washer.

  1. Turn off the main water supply to the faulty tap.  There might be a valve for the entire house (usually located close to the kitchen sink). It could possibly have its own valve, which turns off the supply to only that basin, sink or bath.
  2. Turn the tap on fully to check that the water supply is switched off. There should be a small drip or trickle of water when this is done.
  3. Take off the faulty tap.  Usually, the tap can be pulled off, or you might need to remove the hot and cold indicator disk and then pull it off. It that does not work, it might have a small screw underneath it.
  4. You should now be able to see the stem of the tap, with a brass nut holding it in place. Unscrew the nut with a spanner, and lift out the tap stem.  The washer is on the bottom of the piece.  Remove the washer, and clean off any corrosion or scale using the wire wool.  Put on a new washer of the same size.  You should be able to just push it on, or, it may be held on with a small nut.
  5. Put the tap back together, turn the water supply back on, and you have fixed the leak and saved yourself money!

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