How to fix a leaking tap

How to Fix a Leaking Tap: A Step-by-Step Guide

Not knowing exactly how to fix a leaking tap isn’t just an annoyance; it can waste water and lead to higher utility bills if left unaddressed. Fortunately, fixing a dripping tap is often a straightforward task that can be accomplished with basic tools and a little know-how. Follow these steps to tackle the issue effectively:

how to fix a leaking tap

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver or flathead screwdriver
  • Replacement parts (washer, O-ring, or cartridge, depending on tap type)

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

Locate the shut-off valve under the sink or basin and turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply. If there isn’t a shut-off valve specifically for the tap, you may need to turn off the main water supply to the property.

Step 2: Prepare the Work Area

Place a towel or cloth in the sink or basin to prevent small parts from falling down the drain and to protect the surface from scratches.

Step 3: Disassemble the Tap

  • Use the adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the tap’s handle. Depending on the tap design, you may need to locate and remove a small screw securing the handle.
  • Once the handle is removed, use the appropriate screwdriver to unscrew the retaining nut or cover that holds the tap mechanism in place.

Step 4: Inspect the Components

  • Carefully remove the tap mechanism, taking note of the order of the components. Inspect the washer, O-ring, or cartridge for signs of wear, damage, or debris buildup.
  • Wash the components with clean water to remove any dirt or mineral deposits that may be contributing to the leak.

Step 5: Replace Faulty Parts

  • If the washer appears worn or damaged, replace it with a new one of the same size and type. Similarly, if the O-ring is worn or flattened, replace it.
  • For cartridge-style taps, consider replacing the entire cartridge if it’s damaged or worn beyond repair. Cartridges are often specific to the tap model, so ensure you have the correct replacement.

Step 6: Reassemble the Tap

  • Carefully reassemble the tap components in the reverse order of disassembly, ensuring that each part is positioned correctly.
  • Tighten the retaining nut or cover securely, but avoid over-tightening, as this could damage the tap or cause leaks.

Step 7: Turn On the Water Supply

  • Once the tap is reassembled, slowly turn on the water supply and check for leaks. If you notice any leaks, double-check the connections and ensure everything is properly tightened.

Step 8: Test the Tap

  • Turn the tap on and off several times to ensure smooth operation and to verify that the dripping has stopped.
  • If the tap continues to drip, there may be other underlying issues such as a faulty valve seat or corroded pipes, which may require further inspection by a professional plumber.

Step 9: Clean Up

  • Dispose of any old or damaged parts properly and clean up your work area.
  • Take a moment to appreciate your newly fixed tap and the water you’ve saved by repairing the leak!

By following these steps, you can successfully fix a dripping tap and restore efficiency to your plumbing system, all while saving water and money in the process.