How to fix a dripping tap

Check out our guide on how to fix a dripping tap and help to keep your home safe from water damage.

Home maintenance

14 July 2022

When you hear the sound of bothersome droplets from your kitchen tap or can’t quite figure out why your bathroom tap won’t turn off, a dripping tap can quickly become a major annoyance.

Those seemingly harmless water droplets can cost you a big chunk of your wallet and damage your property, so make sure you act in time to fix your leaking tap.

Check out our easy-to-follow guide on how to fix a dripping tap and help to keep your home safe from water damage.

Types of taps and tools requirement

The reason for a dripping tap varies based on the type of tap you have. Some taps use washers, whilst others use ceramic discs.

  • Traditional taps, also known as compression valves, often use washers; therefore, the dripping is most likely caused by a damaged washer that needs replacing.
  • Monobloc lever taps are single unit taps that are usually ceramic, this means that a damaged ceramic cartridge is the probable cause for dripping.

Tools to fix dripping tap

Before you proceed with any fixing, make sure you have all the necessary tools to fix your dripping tap:

  • An adjustable spanner
  • Slot and cross-head screwdrivers
  • Scissors
  • Tap cartridge replacement
  • Various washers and O-rings

Tips before you start repairing

  • It is always recommended to turn off your water supply before starting any plumbing work
  • Thoroughly run the taps to drain the water before starting
  • Avoid over-tightening a washer or valve when reassembling in case of potential damage

How to repair a dripping tap

Step 1: Switching off the water

First you need to turn off the water using an isolation valve or stopcock, depending on which one you have. Check the pipes underneath your sink if you are unsure where this is located.

Turn off the water

Step 2: Locate the screw and unscrew

Next you need to locate the screw holding the visible parts of your tap together. It is usually hidden under the hot and cold caps. This should be possible to unscrew by hand, but if it doesn’t work you can always use a slot-head screwdriver to unscrew the taps.

Find the screw

Step 3: Disassemble your tap parts

You now need to unscrew the head of the tap. If the head has a metal cover, you will need to take it off too. Put all the parts of the tap to one side in the same order as you disassembled them. This way it’ll be easy for you to remember the order when you put the parts back together again.

Take your tap apart

Select from steps 4, 5 and 6 based on the type of tap you have.

Step 4: Ceramic disc replacement

The valve should now be visible. Using the adjustable spanner, turn the valve by gripping it and rotating it until it seems loose enough to remove. Now you should insert your new tap cartridge replacement, tighten it, and reassemble your tap in the correct order.

Replace ceramic disc

Step 5: Rubber washer replacement

When it comes to how to change a washer, you now need to grab your adjustable spanner and turn the valve until it’s loose enough to be removed. Unscrew or slide the rubber washer off and replace it with a brand new one. Like the last step, reassemble your tap accordingly.

Replace rubber washer

Step 6: O-ring replacement

If there’s still a leak after replacing the washer, you may need to check the O-ring for signs of wear and tear. The O-ring is a larger version of the washer found at the bottom of your tap spout.

You can access the O-ring by unscrewing the grub screw at the bottom of the spout and lifting it. Once you spot the O-ring at the base, loosen it and slide it off. Alternatively, you can use scissors to cut it off if needed. You can now insert the replacement O-rings, place the spout back where it was and tighten the screw.

We hope this guide was useful in learning how to fix your leaking tap. If you want to keep your home protected against damage, take a look at our home insurance policy and get a quote today.

Replace O-ring

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