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How To: Fix A Leaking Tap

With rain of almost biblical proportions, the last thing we need is to have to deal with drips and leaks inside, too! Leaking taps are more than an annoyance; a tap that drips every two seconds will waste over 1,500 gallons of water every year! It may seem like a minor problem to get a plumber out for, particularly if your local, trusted plumber charges a set call-out fee.

One option is to wait until you have enough niggly jobs (leaking taps, dripping shower, toilet that doesn’t flush properly…) and get the plumber to get all the jobs in one go. If they are minor jobs, you could turn to a local handyman before you go the more expensive plumber route. Or, if you are handy yourself, you could try to fix your leaking tap first.

If your tap is leaking, it is most likely to be down to one of two issues: either your washer is broken or damaged and needs to be replaced, or your valve seat is damaged. When the tap is turned off, the washer sits on the valve seat, creating a seal. If this seal is compromised by a perished washer or rusty valve seat, water can still get through.

Fixing a leaky tap

Let’s assume that yours is the most common problem: a broken washer. Before you get started, gather a flat-head screwdriver, two adjustable spanners and replacement washers.

  • Locate your stop cock and switch the water off.
  • Clear your sink and put the plug in, in case you drop any small parts.
  • Use the screwdriver to remove the tap covers.
  • Gently ease the release screw until you can remove the tap head.
  • Use pliers, a wrench or spanner, hold the spout in place while you use the other spanner to twist the spindle out of the spout.
  • You should be able to see a top washer, an o-ring and a bottom washer. Replace both washers and follow the above stages backwards until the tap is reassembled.

If the tap is still leaking, it could be the valve seat. It is possible to do this yourself, provided you have the right sized valve seat. If you fit the wrong size, it might appear to fit, but it will cause your tap to leak.

If you are in any doubt about fixing leaks or plumbing problems yourself, don’t risk it; contact a local handyman or reliable local plumber on Trust A Trader and find someone that you can trust to do the job for you, because thousands of other people trust them, too.

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