Dripping taps can really drive you around the bend. Not only is that ‘drip-drip-drip-drip’ really annoying, but it also adds dollars to your already swollen water bill and all those wasted litres of water are not good for your environmental cred.
How to fix a leaking tap
But if those reasons aren’t enough motivation for you to fix your dripping tap today, think about this: a leaking tap can actually stress your plumbing system, causing clogging, overflowing, staining, the deterioration of caulk and grout, and ultimately further damage to your valuable home.
In short: fixing a leaking tap isn’t just a good idea, it’s a must.
Now, you may have heard that just about all plumbing work requires calling a licensed local plumber, and you’d be dead right. But here’s some great news for the keen do-it-yourselfers out there: if you want to fix a dripping tap all by yourself and all it needs is a tap washer, you can go right ahead.
So here’s how to fix a leaking tap:
1. What’s wrong
If your tap is dripping and particular hard to close, chances are it’s just a tap washer that needs changing. The main exception is if your tap is a washer-less one – in which case you’ll need to call your plumber.
2. Let’s fix it!
The really good news is that if it is just a broken or worn washer, it isn’t hard to fix. But now it’s time to ask yourself a very honest question: are you really confident you know how to change a tap washer? If the answer is no, don’t risk a big mess.
3. Get your tools
If you don’t have a shifter, a set of spanners, some pliers, a screwdriver, some high-quality tape, and a cloth, head to the hardware store before trying to fix that leaking tap.
4. Turn off the mains
Now it’s time to get to work – but not until you’ve turned off the mains. If you skip this step, you’re going to create a bigger mess!
If you’re not sure where the mains are located, it’s probably out the front with your water meter.
5. Turn on the tap
To ensure there’s no pesky water still in the pipes, open the tap and let the water run down the sink. If the water doesn’t stop after a few seconds, you haven’t turned the mains off properly.
6. Take off the handle
It’s time to take off the tap handle – the bit you grab to turn the tap on and off.
This step can differ depending on what type of tap you have, but usually, it’s just a matter of removing the button on the top and then unscrewing the handle.
Next (and in this order), you’re going to use your spanners to remove the tap bonnet, and the body or ‘headgear’ of the tap. This will expose the jumper valve (and/or washer).
7. Inspect the washer
A very common problem is that the washer is split, but the damage could also just be less visible wear.
8. Head to the hardware store
Head to the hardware store … and don’t forget to take the washer so you can show a staff member and purchase the correct size!
9. Put the tap back together
In reverse order to the way you disassembled it, put your tap back together after installing the new washer. When that’s done, make sure the tap is turned completely off so nothing disastrous happens when you head back outside to turn the mains back on.
10. Congratulate yourself
It’s time to test your newly-fixed tap. Slowly turn it on after restoring the mains, check for leaks, and head to the couch for a celebratory rest. Your formerly leaking tap is now fixed!
But never forget, if you stumble at any of the steps, or you get to step 10 and anything except congratulations are in order, the guys at Advanced Plumbing & Gas are always standing by to help – even in an emergency. We do the leaking tap repairs Brisbane needs for all sorts of taps and fittings, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!