How to fix a leaking tap

A leaking tap can be a real nuisance as well as a big waste of water. Calling a plumber or your real estate manager to get a small leak fixed in your bathroom or kitchen tap is unnecessary and can be expensive. A couple of dollars at Bunnings is generally all that is required to be spent to fix most leaks, so read on and follow this step by step guide to fixing a leak yourself. If anything, you will be impressed with yourself!

STEP 1 – Turn the water off at the mains

Under many sinks there is a tap you can turn to shut off the water to that particular sink. Turn this all the way off and then check that it has done the job by trying the tap out -if no water comes out you’re in business and can proceed to Step 2.

If you don’t have a tap under the sink or can’t access it it you will need to head outside to your water meter and turn the tap there -this shuts the water off to the whole house.

STEP 2 – Unscrew the faucet

First of all throw a plug in the sink so no bits accidentally fall down the drain. Every tap is different so it might require a little playing around, but you need to remove the tap handle, ‘cover dome’ and spindle. Some tap handles have a button in the middle that can be unscrewed by hand, other will require you to pry open with a flat head screwdriver. With a lever style tap there is usually a hot/cold coloured button that can be pried open to reveal a screw.

STEP 3 – Remove washer and replace

Once you’ve removed the spindle you will see a little ‘plug-like’ washer, remove this and inspect (taking note of which way it went in). It will most likely look a bit deteriorated and dirty which is why it isn’t creating a solid seal, hence the leak. This needs to be replaced with an identical washer so sometimes you might need to travel to Bunnings with the washer to find a twin. Place the new washer in the tap the same way it came out and re-install the spindle, cover dome and tap handle.

STEP 4 – You’re a genius

Turn the water back on and off again and note how it no longer leaks. You are just a few steps away from being an awesome plumber, call Anthony if you would like an apprenticeship!

Of course, this isn’t a complete guide to fixing a leak, but should cover you 90% of the time. If your tap continues to leak after following the steps above please give Blueline Plumbing a call and we will be more than happy to get you out of trouble.