Times are hard and as valuable as plumbers are there really is no need to call one to fix a leaky tap when you can do it by yourself. There are one or two things to consider before you undertake this kind of task but once you have ascertained which style of tap you have its a piece of cake.
Which type of tap do you have?
There are several kinds of tap available on the market and for this exercise we are going to cover compression types and taps that have cartridges (ceramic disc and a standard cartridge) as these are the most popular.
Tools you will need
- New washers & O-rings
- Plumbers Grease
How to stop the Leak
First and foremost the most important thing to remember is to turn the water supply off before you begin and there is nothing worse than flooding your kitchen or bathroom.
Compression Taps – These are easily identifiable because they have two screw handles, one for hot water and one for cold water.
- Remove the hot and cold symbols and unscrew to enable you to completely remove the handle.
- Using your wrench remove the nut that is underneath and remove the stem of the tap.
- This will reveal what is known as the seat washer – remove and replace making sure to coat in grease.
- Reverse the above steps to reassemble the stem and the handles and test to see if you have fixed the leak.
Cartridge Taps – If the taps were already installed when you moved into your house then you may need to take the tap apart before you know whether it has a ceramic disc or a cartridge.
- If your tap has a cap, remove this and then unscrew. You may need to tilt the handle to remove, but this should pop off easily.
- The next step is to remove the retaining clip if your tap has one and this can easily be removed with a basic pair of pliers. The retaining clip keeps the cartridge in place.
- Pull the cartridge straight
- Remove the spout
- Next step is to remove and replace the O-rings and coat in plenty of plumbers grease before doing so.
- Reassemble the tap to its original state and fingers crossed you will have fixed the leak.
Ceramic Disc Taps – Knowing if your tap has a ceramic disc may not be common knowledge without removing some of the tap components first.
- Remove any cap that may be present for decorative purposes and unscrew to remove the handle.
- The next step is to remove something known in the industry as an escutcheon cap – made of metal and sits directly underneath the tap handle.
- Using a screwdriver, unscrew the cylinder, revealing some seals that will also need removing.
- Clean out the cylinders and replace any seals with new ones.
- When putting the handle back on be very careful when testing the water and turn the handle slowly as you will not want to put a crack in the ceramic disc.
If the tap is still dripping at the end then you may need to consider replacing it, some taps that may have been installed for many years can develop weaknesses. If you end up needing to install a new tap, our guide will help you with that.
Top Tip – If your sink has a plug then make sure you insert it into the waste hole before your begin and if you haven’t then be sure to use a dishcloth or similar rag to plug the hole as there is nothing worse than losing a valuable washer at a time you need it the most.
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