How to fix a leaking tap

A leaking tap is a nuisance in any household, but the incessant dripping can cause more than just headaches. Increased water bills and the potential for flooding if left for long periods are not worth contending with when it is a relatively simple DIY fix. Our simple guide should give you all the information you need to learn how to fix a leaking tap. For more complicated problems, our friendly London plumbers are just a phone call away. 

Find the Fault

Most leaking taps are caused by either a faulty washer or damage to the plastic valve seating within the tap. First you will need to identify the problem, and ensure you have the appropriate equipment. You will need a replacement washer and or valve depending on the issue, along with a screwdriver and spanner, covered in cloth.

Before you attempt to fix your leaking tap, you should first make sure the water supply is completely turned off. Failure to do so could result in wet mess! Once you are sure the water supply is off, put the plug in the sink to prevent losing any small parts and turn the tap to the on position.

Dismantling the tap

Depending on the type of tap you have, unscrew or lever off the head or the index disk to reveal a screw. Remove this carefully with a screwdriver. Now this has been removed, use an adjustable spanner wrapped in cloth to gently release the headgear nut. You should be particularly careful when doing this as any excessive force could cause the whole base of the tap to move and potentially crack your sink, tiling or an attached pipe. If this is won’t loosen then try applying some penetrating oil to the nut. Wait a few minutes, and continue applying until the nut loosens. Once this has been removed it should reveal the washer.

Use the screwdriver to prise the washer away from the unit. While this has been removed, check the attached plastic valve for any damage. Very often grit can scratch and damage the valve which means the seal is broken and water will filter through. This is particularly prevalent if you live in hard water areas like London. If there is obvious damage then both the valve and the washer will need replacing. These can be purchased in a combination set so it’s worth purchasing these together.

If the valve is still intact then it’s a simple fix of just replacing the washer. Once the old one has been prised off, simply replace this with a new washer. Piece the tap back together, and to prevent these getting stuck in the future, apply some Vaseline to the threads of the tap. This will make them easy to undo next time.

If you are still having issues with your tap leaking, then we wouldn’t recommend investigating further without a professional. Taps and pipes can be temperamental and too much dismantling could cause more harm than good. If you need the help of a professional plumber, give a call on 0843 216 3645 and one of our certified engineers will be able to help.