How to Fix a Leaking Tap

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How to Fix a Leaking Tap

There is nothing more annoying than the constant drip of a leaking tap echoing through your home. But did you know that a leaky tap can actually cost you over 20 litres of water per week, in addition to being a major nuisance? So, if you'd rather just avoid the stress of an abnormally high water bill, it is best to get the leak fixed as soon as possible.

And no, tightening the tap just that little bit more won't fix the problem. In fact, it could end up having the opposite effect. Generally speaking, a plumber is going to be the best at repairing the issue for you, however there are a few things you can do at home to help narrow down the cause.

How to Fix a Leaking Tap

The Possible Causes

There are a variety of different reasons that could be causing your tap to leak. The following are the most common potential causes to look out for:

The Washer

A damaged washer is one of the most common causes of a leaking tap. This specific part within the tap is in direct contact with a part known as the valve seat. The constant friction that occurs between these two components tends to wear on the washer, damaging it over time.

However, damaged washers are not the only problem. A misplaced washer is also likely to cause a leak.

The O-ring

The O-ring exists to help improve the leak-proof seal between other components in a tap. Much like the washer, it can be worn down or loosened over time, inevitably leading to a leak. Of all the parts, the O-ring is generally the most likely to break.

Water Pressure

If the water pressure in your home is too high, it can easily lead to a leaking tap. The excess pressure restricts the water flow in your pipes to the point where the water cannot effectively flow to and from its intended destinations. This causes water to back up in the pipes.

However, the water cannot remain stuck in the pipes and will often find its own route to exit through. This is generally what causes the leak, as the pressure forces water to drain through the tap.

The Valve Seat

A broken valve seat is another prevalent reason for a leaking tap. This part of the fixture connects the spout to the body of the tap and helps to form a seal. They can be worn down due to routine use; however, they can also corrode as a result of an excess mineral buildup.

In any case, a damaged valve seat makes it difficult for the tap to form a tight seal, which causes a leak.

The Cartridge

This is the component in most taps that regulates the flow and temperature of the water pouring from the tap. Should this part become worn down or damaged, it can very quickly lead to a noticeable leak. And while the cartridge can be replaced, it does take some specialised tools and professional knowledge to do so.

Fixing the Leaking Tap

When dealing with any plumbing issue, no matter how small, it is always best to call in a professional plumber. However there are a few things you can do at home to help with a leaking tap.

Plumber fixing a Leaking Tap

Turn Off the Main Water Supply

If you're working with a plumbing fixture, you should always start by turning off your home's main water supply. We definitely don't want to be dealing with any accidental flooding.

To do this, you will need to locate your water meter. This can usually be found at the front of your property, near any boundary lines. Once the meter is located, find the shut off valve and turn it clockwise. This immediately stops water from flowing to your property.

Remove the Handle

If you're feeling handy, start by removing the handle of the tap. Depending on your tap, this step can differ. For most taps, the screw holding the handle in place is typically covered by a small cap which can be removed. Once the screw has been uncovered and loosened, you should be able to remove the handle using a spanner.

Remember to cover the tap with a cloth before using the spanner to avoid any scratches.

Find the Cause, Replace the Part

This step will require a little bit of knowledge, as you will need to identify which part of the tap is actually broken and then find the correct replacement for it. To do so, remove the cartridge from the tap and examine each component.

However, if you haven't had much experience repairing taps, this would probably be a good time to enlist the help of your local plumber. An incorrectly installed part has the likelihood of worsening the leak.

Clean the Valves

Cleaning all of the visible parts is definitely something you can do while the tap is disassembled. Constant water flow can lead to a mineral buildup, which is not good for your tap. Even so, it is rare that household taps will ever get a thorough clean, so why not take advantage of the moment?

However, this step might require a bit of extra elbow grease and maybe a dash of vinegar.

Reassemble the Tap

Finally, if you were able to disassemble the tap, identify the problem, replace the damaged component, and remove the mineral buildup, then it is now time to reassemble the tap and ensure the leak is completely fixed. It is best to keep an eye on it for a few days just to make sure that the leak definitely won't persist.

Call in the Professionals

One of the biggest causes of a leaking tap that we've yet to mention is poor plumbing work. It's true! Incorrect installations and dodgy DIY jobs are some of the main reasons for a tap leak, but they are so easily avoidable.

Hiring a professional plumber to fix your tap properly is going to be the best way to ensure you won't be dealing with another leak for quite some time. At Jetset Plumbing, our plumbers are experts in leaking tap repairs and will have the problem fixed fast.

So, if the constant drip is getting on your nerves and you want a reliable repair, call us on 1800 443 996.

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