How to fix a leaking tap
how to fix a leaking tap

How to fix a leaking tap

A leaking tap is one of the most frequent, and most irritating, household plumbing problems. Unfortunately, if not fixed promptly, the leak is likely to grow worse. How best to fix the leak depends on where it’s located and what’s causing the problem.

Read on to discover the three most typical types of leaking tap, and how to resolve each one of them. Always remember to switch the water supply off before beginning to dismantle the tap for repair. If you suspect that the problem is more serious than the ones mentioned here, we strongly suggest getting a professional plumber to take a look.

Reasons for a leaking tap

By far the most frequent cause of a leaking tap is the deterioration of a washer. Over time, wear and tear causes tap washers to stretch and fray. This will result in a dripping tap. If not repaired, the drip will get more persistent over time.

Whilst turning the tap harder will initially stop the drip, this isn’t a permanent solution. Harder turning will eventually not only cease to stop the drip, but may also damage the tap.

You may also experience a leak from the body of the tap, or beneath the spout. In these circumstances, it’s probable that one of the “O” rings need replacing.

In most cases, these leaks start small, then increase in size as time goes on. Sudden, severe leaks may be due to a rarer fault. If you’re not sure what the problem is, turn off the water supply and contact a professional!

How to fix a leaking tap

If a washer is at fault, you will need to buy a replacement. Not sure about the type of washer you need? You may have to remove the old one first, then use it to compare with new products to ensure you get the right type. To change a washer, turn off the water supply, and put the plug in the sink to catch small parts.

– Remove the head of the tap.

– Unscrew the valve cover

– Loosen the valve (we recommend an adjustable spanner).

– Hold the valve steady, then remove the screw which keeps the washer in place.

– Replace the washer.

– Reverse the previous steps.

Follow a similar set of steps to replace the “O” ring, but leave the washer intact. Slide the new “O” ring into position, over the valve.

For a spout “O” ring:

– Switch off the water

– Loosen the nut underneath the tap.

– Loosen the grub screw (on the top surface of the spout, near the base)

– Elevate the spout to find the “O” ring, which is the rubber washer/ring at the bottom of the spout.

– Replace the “O” ring.

– Reverse the above steps.

If you’re not confident in your DIY capabilities, see that the leak is a severe one, or simply want to use a professional to ensure best results, we’re here to help. We also have a specialised leak detection service. Get in touch for a one-stop solution to your plumbing problems, no matter what they might be.

If your pipes are the issue, check out our previous post on maintaining your pipes.