When it comes to dripping taps, besides it being annoying and wasting water, it’s important to fix the problem as soon as possible so that it’s easier to repair and causes minimal damage.
What you need to fix your tap will depend on where the drip is occurring. If there’s a dribble from the top of the tap, replacing the O-ring should solve the problem whereas if the drip is elsewhere, we suggest changing the washers. As ever, if you attempt to repair your leaking tap and the problem persists, we recommend that you call a professional as there may be a more serious problem.
How to approach mending a dripping tap depends on what type of taps and washers you have, whether you’re dealing with traditional taps or modern monobloc taps. In standard pillar taps, the head can be twisted a whole turn or more which suggests that they use rubber washers while the head of a monobloc tap can only twist a quarter or half turn before it stops, suggesting that they use ceramic washers.
If you have traditional taps with rubber washers, then follow our step-by-step guide to stop that annoying drip. However, if you have modern taps with ceramic washers then we highly recommend that you call a plumber as working with these taps can be much more complicated and you can do more damage by attempting to repair them. Ceramic washers are usually specific to the make and model of your tap and will, therefore, need to be sourced from the manufacturer.
The first step, whether you’re changing a rubber washer or replacing an O-ring, is to turn off your water supply, to avoid any potential flooding. There are several ways to turn off your water supply so follow the instructions below to find your preferred or required method.
NB: We recommend you wear protective eyewear and rubber gloves for all methods listed below
Using the isolation valve will only turn off the water supply to a particular set of taps. Most taps have an isolation valve directly beneath them (in the cupboard under the sink) but if you can’t locate this valve then try one of our other methods.
This method, and the next, will turn off the water supply to the whole house. Locating the stopcock in your home can be difficult, but it’s a good idea to know where it is so that you can prevent damage if there is ever a serious leak in the house. The stopcock can usually be found under the kitchen sink and may be behind a kickboard. However, it may also be behind a kickboard in a hallway cupboard or somewhere similar. Once you’ve located your stopcock, follow our guide to turn the supply off.
If you don’t have an isolation valve or need to turn off the water supply to the whole property but cannot find the stopcock, you can turn off the mains water supply to your house. The mains will be outside, usually at the bottom of your driveway and covered by a square metal cover.
Now, let’s move on to mending that leaking tap. Follow this step-by-step guide to replace rubber washers and O-rings. Remember that if the problem persists or you have ceramic washers, call a plumber.
If there’s a leak coming from the body or spout of your tap, it’s likely that you need to replace your washers. If you have traditional taps that can twist the whole way around, then this is the correct method for you.
If there is a leak coming from the top or spout of your tap, it’s likely that you need a new O-ring. Whether you have traditional or modern monobloc taps, you can use this method to fix a top drip.
Leaky taps will happen over time due to wear and tear and as the washers and O-rings get older. If your tap is leaking heavily or you’re worried that there may be a severe plumbing issue then call a professional plumber before the problem gets worse. We hope that you find this guide helpful and that you’ve learned a few simple ways to fix a leaking tap.