A leaking tap - it seems like a nightmare scenario. You go to turn on your bathroom tap to brush your teeth, cleanse your face or pour yourself a glass of water and the tap jars won’t turn off. This problem can occur with all manner of tap types throughout the home. You look at all of the wasted water just running away from you, and don’t know what to do. After all, where do you start when the tap just isn’t responding?
What is the first Plan of Action?
The best way to attempt tackling this issue is to turn off your mains water supply. This will immediately cut off the flow of water to prevent any further wastage of both the water and your cash! If it’s the hot water tap that won’t turn off, you can turn off your hot water unit. However, if the cold water tap is proving to be the problem, you will need to turn off your water meter. If it’s both, well that’s pretty unlucky – you’ll need to turn off both.
Now that you know you’re not in any immediate danger of more running water, contact a plumber unless you fancy a little DIY job. You see, the cause of a tap that won’t turn off or on is usually the result of weary washers or tap spindles that need to be replaced. Sometimes washers grow old and split which is common if they've not been changed for a while or if your taps are very old - or if you've moved into a new house and don’t really know what the previous owners have been up to!
What if my Taps Wont Turn On?
Of course, the problem works the other way too; sometimes taps simply won’t turn on. In this case you won’t have to worry about turning off the water supply as you won’t be wasting any precious water. In this case it is often the spindle – the inner valve of the tap handle – which gets jammed and needs replacing. For a plumber, this job is easy and can be rectified in next to no time. In fact most of us will probably have incurred the wrath of unchanged washers and spindles at some point or another. It’s simply not something that people think to do regularly, which is why these problems occur. You can however replace the washers yourself. Head to your local hardware store and make sure you know the size of your washers. If you don’t, simply take your washers with you and ask a member of staff to give you appropriately sized replacements.
Don't be Afraid to Ask For Help!
If you are unsure how to go about the process or don’t feel comfortable taking your taps apart, calling a plumber is always your best bet. Don’t worry because as problems go, a stuck faucet is pretty common and easy to sort out. If you think a running tap sounds like something from hell, especially when you can’t shut it off, trust in a plumber to rectify the issue. Leaking taps can be an incredibly annoying experience as well as utterly wasteful. Fortunately, it’s a relatively common household malfunction so it’s not particularly difficult to repair. Most of us will experience a leaking tap at some stage. There are numerous causes behind a leaking tap, so localising the source should be your first priority. You will be pleased to know that fixing it won’t be too problematic. Here’s a comprehensive guide from Bella Bathrooms which will explain how to fix it once and for all!
How to Fix a Leaking Tap
Starting Point - Begin with the Washer
Washers can sometimes be the agitating source of your leaking tap. The issue is often found, with various tap types, that they simply need to be replaced. There are three types of washer that you need to consider: the o-ring, body washer and jumper valve. All are available in standard sizes but you’ll want to be sure you replace your washer with the correct size or it won’t do the trick. If in doubt, take your washers into a store and get them to match you with a suitable replacement.
How to remove your washer and install a new one:
- Turn off your mains water supply whilst you work and open the tap to release any water that remains in the pipe. Put the plug into the basin so that you don’t lose any of your working parts and equipment down the black hole that is the drain!
- You can remove the tap’s cover using a screwdriver to reveal the hidden screw. Screws can be positioned in slightly different places depending on your taps but typically they will be beside the hot and cold tap.
- Undo the screw to remove the handle and place a cloth to make sure that you don’t scratch the appliances. Using your spanner or wrench, you can unscrew the tap bonnet, remove the headgear and you will see a large body washer, o-ring and jumper valve.
- The jumper valve will effortlessly come out of its own accord but you’ll need to replace the body washer, o-ring and refit the bonnet and spindle once done. You can now turn on the water main and see if your leak has been fixed.
What if tap still leaks?
If after following the steps, you still have a leaking tap, it might be worth calling in a professional. You may need to have your tap re-sealed which you can do yourself by purchasing a re-sealing kit. If you feel bewildered or lack the DIY know-how, calling in an expert will quickly and effectively return things to normal so you can regain your sanity and prevent water wastage!
Call in the profesionals!
Maybe you simply don’t have the time to try and solve the quandary yourself – not many of us do! If this is the case leave this job to a professional plumber, who can probably solve the problem of a leaky faucet in under an hour.
Remember that although a leaking or dripping tap is annoying, it usually doesn’t take much to rectify it and can easily and effortlessly be done at home.