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How to fix a leaking tap

“Drip, drip, drip”. Sound familiar? What an annoyance leaking taps are! Wherever on your premises this pesky problem is happening, the noise, not to mention the waste of water, justifies an urgent fix. Doing so is routine for the initiated, however for those who aren’t particularly well-versed in D.I.Y. home repairs, it may seem a tall order. 

Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage are here to advise you on how to tackle this common issue, though we must stress that if you’re in any doubt, your best option is to call a licenced professional

Why is my tap leaking?

Like many plumbing fixture issues, a dripping tap can be the result of many things. The most documented causes are mentioned below. 

More often than not, the cause is washer-related. This important component, usually made of rubber, functions to stop the flow of water through the piping. With frequent use over time comes the potential for damage.

Cartridges form an important part of the tap; controlling the tap’s flow and temperature output, if not working properly, problems will most likely arise. 

Problems with your piping can result in water pressure issues, increasing the chance of a leaking faucet.

O-rings, a small yet important part of your tap handle structure, is designed to make a waterproof seal. If this comes loose, leaking can occur. 

How do I fix the leak?

Before we begin on outlining the repair process, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Tools & supplies needed 

  • A set of spanners, or a shifting wrench 
  • Correctly-sized washers, or a tap washer kit
  • Multi-grip pliers
  • A screwdriver 
  • Jumper valves 
  • An O-ring

Additionally, having a cloth, silicone and a reseating kit handy is ideal. For all your fixture parts and supplies, head to your local hardware store.

Step-by-step repair

First and foremost, you need to turn off the water supply on your premises at the mains. Turn the tap on, letting the water run out. After this, turn the tap off again. 

Before starting, remember to plug the basin to prevent anything important being lost down the drain in the process. 

1. Cover 

Take off the hot/cold tap cover, then remove the handle using a wrench or spanner.

2. Skirt 

If your tap has a ‘skirt’, it will need to be taken off. A pair of pliers will assist the process.

3. Headgear 

Unscrew the tap bonnet, removing the cover plate/headgear. This will expose the washer and jumper valve. You’ll need a spanner for this!v

4. Washer & valve 

Loosen the body, and remove the body washer and jumper valve.

5. Spindle

Winding the spindle out of the body will make the O-ring appear. Replace it, along with the washer and jumper valve. 

6. Refit 

Refit the bonnet/spindle, making sure not to over-tighten.

7. Reassemble 

Reassemble the tap, and turn on the main water supply. If there isn’t a leak, well done!

If the problem persists, it indicates an underlying issue, most likely being the need for a reseating to your tap. This will enable an as tight-as-possible seal for the washer. You should be able to find a reseating kit at your nearest hardware store.

Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage, your local experts

We’re highly experienced in fixing a range of plumbing issues, and common fixture problems like tap leakages are no exception. If you have any questions about dripping taps or the content of this article, or would just like some expert assistance, call us today on {{ context.constants.company_info | parse_json | dig: 'primary_phone' }}, or fill in a contact form


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