How to Fix Leaky Taps

Whether it’s the cause of a puddle below the kitchen sink, or the nagging dripping sound that keeps you awake at night, leaky taps are a nuisance which if not addressed, can become a full-blown problem. The good news is you can resolve this issue in a simple and inexpensive way. But before we look at fixing the drip, it’s important to establish its cause.

What Causes Leaky Taps?

Typically, one of the three things can cause the problem: the O-ring, the washer and the jumper valve, although it’s advised that you replace all of these three parts after disassembling the tap. The washer could be made of ceramic or rubber.

How do you know whether the tap uses ceramic discs or rubber washers? The easiest way is to turn the tap handle. If it rotates a half or quarter turn, then it’s a ceramic disc. However, if its rotation is more than this, it’s a rubber washer.

leaky taps

Whether rubber or ceramic, the washer may wear over time and so, you may need to replace it. Some single-lever mixer taps come with a specific ceramic cartridge whose replacements should come from a particular manufacturer.

How to Fix Leaky Taps in 5 Steps

1. Turn off the water supply. Before you start, ensure you turn off water to your house. Usually, you can locate the mains tap at your home’s front or in the street. If you reside in an apartment, you’ll find the mains tap in the laundry or bathroom.

2. A guest blogger at TheGuardian advises hat you turn the leaky tap on to let go of any water within the pipe and turn it off again.

leaky taps

3. Using a screwdriver, remove the tap’s cover, undo the screw connecting the handle to the stem and take off the handle. Often, the screw is on the cold or hot symbols, although some leaky taps have a screw on the side.

4. If a metal cover shrouds your tap, undo this with a wrench or hand. Remember to use a cloth between the tap’s surface and wrench, to avoid scratching. From there, you’d see the stem. Remove it too. Check out whether any of the removed parts is damaged.

5. If all parts seem intact up to this juncture, inspect the washer and O-ring in the valve seat; they might be the root cause of the leaky taps. Take off the washer and replace it.

6. Double check the O-rings and washers. Michael Freeze, a blogger at Popular Mechanics suggests that it’s important to ensure the replacement O-rings and washers are the exact fit. If you’re uncertain about either, you may check the seat to find out whether the sides fit a flat or cone-shaped washer, and buy the right type. You could take the old O-ring to a local hardware store to ensure it’s of the correct size.

7. Reassemble all the parts from the washer/O-ring to the handle. Test the running water by gently turning the knob on. You’ll be able to tell whether you licked the leak.

If the Tap Continues Leaking

In some cases, leaky taps may continue even after all the hard work. In that case, the problem could be a corroded valve seat. The other possible problems include loose parts or worn-out seals. If after following the above steps, the tap continues dripping, you should contact a professional plumber for assistance.


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