A leaking tap is one of those household chores that we tend to put off because it’s not causing any immediate issues. What you don’t realise is how much water you’re wasting and how much it could be costing you.
Did you know a leaking tap can waste up to 10,000 litres of water a year? It also leads to increased water bills, and in the worst cases, can cause structural damage to your home.
You will first need to identify where your leak is coming from.
If water is dripping out of tap after you’ve turned it off, it means the washer attached to the jumper valve needs to be replaced.
If water is flowing out at the base between the tap body and spindle or out from under the cover plate when the tap is turned on, it’ll most likely be the O-ring that needs to be replaced.
Either way, you’ll be dismantling the whole thing and it’s better to replace both.
It is very important that you decide for yourself whether you are able to do this on your own or not. trying to fix a leaking tap without the proper technical knowledge might end up creating more issues that won’t be covered by insurance or by the tenants if you are renting. If you aren’t sure, go with the more cautious option and call a plumber to fix your leaking tap.
Fixing a Leaking Tap: Tool & items Checklist
Before starting anything, make sure you have these at your disposal:
- Wrench/spanner or tap spanner set
- Jumper valve
- 12mm washers
- Multi-grips, if needed
- Reseating kit, if needed
- Tap lubricant
Step 1: Turn off water mains
First step is to turn off your water supply at the mains. If you live in a house, then your water main will be located out on the street or in your front yard. If you live in an apartment, flat, or townhouse, the mains will most likely be inside your bathroom or laundry.
Note: some townhouse water mains can be located out the front.
Step 2: Empty the tap
Once you’ve turned off the water mains, turn on your tap to allow any remaining water to run out. Once it’s stopped, plug the drain to ensure you don’t lose any parts.
Step 3: Remove the taps cap
Using a spanner, remove the cap so that you can proceed to remove the handle. It’s usually hidden under the cold or hot sign.
Step 4: Remove the handle
Undo the screw beneath the cap and remove the handle. Different taps may require using a wrench, tap spanner, or can be done with your hands.
Step 5: Remove tap bonnet
Using a wrench, remove the tap bonnet. You should now see a spindle with a large body washer, an o-ring and a jumper valve.
Step 6: Replace parts
Replace the body washer, o-ring and jumper valve with new parts. The O-ring can sometimes be a little tough to take off, gently use a screwdriver or box cutter to prise it off. Apply a little tap lubricant to the spindle and valve for smoother tap operation.
Step 7: Rebuild your tap
Reattach the bonnet to the spindle, making sure not to over-tighten the nuts. Put your tap back together, making sure it’s turned off, before you go ahead and turn the water main back on.
Step 8: Test the tap
Once the mains have been turned on, turn the tap on and off to see if there are any leaks.
Contact a professional
Congratulations your tap has been fixed! Or is it still leaking?
When in doubt, always contact a professional. Although it may seem like an easy process, this article is merely a guide for those who are confident in fixing a dripping tap. It is also a good idea to check with your state’s plumbing regulations before attempting DIY plumbing in your home, as it may be illegal to do unlicensed plumbing work, and you may not be covered by insurance.