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How to fix a dripping tap

Leaking or dripping taps can be a serious issue in daily life. Apart from the annoying dripping sound, in most cases, home-owners seem to be least bothered about this. Although, leaking taps can result in wastage of 3 gallons of water everyday. You must realise that your water bills are rising and what you are paying for is simply draining out. Repairs might involve little up-front expenses but you will save on the daily water bill. If you have some handyman skills, you can fix this yourself, otherwise call a professional plumber for immediate assistance.

A DIY repair initiative

Dripping taps/faucets are the most common and almost regular household plumbing issue. It may sound a little but it is an urgent task as ignoring it may cause you a huge amount of water loss. Fortunately, the repairing is quite easy if you have the right tools. If you already know how a plumbing system works then it’s fine; otherwise to save an emergency plumber call, you can follow the instructions given in YouTube or Google.

Tools you’ll need to fix leaky tap on a DIY mission:

  • An adjustable spanner or C wrench
  • A slot or cross-headed screwdriver
  • A stopcock
  • Assorted washers and O rings
  • Replacement cartridge
  • Lubricant

There are mainly two types of taps: Traditional taps and Monobloc lever taps. In traditional taps, the dripping is caused from a damaged washer and in a Monobloc tap, leaking caused from a damaged ceramic cartridge. Either way replacement is the ultimate solution. But remember, that the more exclusive the tap is, the more expensive and vague the replacement cartridge would be.

The step-by-step DIY fixing:

  • To avoid any further mess, first of all cut off the water supply coming from the main line.
  • With the help of a flat-head screwdriver, remove the decorative parts from the knobs, if any.
  • Use some lubricant, unscrew and take out the faucet handle off the stem.
  • Use the spanner to loosen the packing nut and remove the stem. Now, depending on the type of the faucet, some stems pop out and some needs to be twisted off from the valve.
  • Check out for any damages. If you find any damage, replace the part, otherwise inspect the O-ring and the washer. Loosened or damaged washer and O-rings can also cause leakage. So, replace them with a new one. Make sure they are an exact fit.
  • Re-assemble all the parts. Now gently turn the handle to test if its working properly.

Ceramic disc taps

These taps are quite different from conventional ones that have spindles and washers. The ceramic taps have a cartridge in the body that houses two ceramic discs. A broken ceramic disc can cause a leaking tap and you must replace the whole cartridge.

Take the existing cartridge to the shop and buy a new one of the same size and form. These taps can also drip if the seal at the base of the cartridge has been worn out. The mending process:

  • Cut off water supply, unscrew the handles carefully and remove the decorative parts.
  • The entrance screw is often hidden behind a small grub screw (can be easily removed by a flat-head screwdriver) below the hot or cold indicator.
  • Remove the shroud and the ceramic disc with help of an adjustable spanner. Check for damages and replace if required.
  • Remove the cartridges; keep in mind which ones are for hot and cold water. Check for damages -replace if required.
  • Flip off or twist open the washer from the tap seat. Look out for any damages and replace if required.
  • Change the rubber seal if worn out.
  • Make sure all the replacing parts are correctly sized and fit properly.
  • Reassemble everything in proper order.
  • Bring back water supply by turning the knob gently.
  • If problem persists, call a professional plumber for assistance.

Kitchen tap and shower heads leaking

Damaged O-rings are usually the cause of the kitchen tap leakages. There are some seals, washers and O-rings present right on the valve body. If you change the old washer and the tap is still leaking, check the O-rings. You must protect the washers while using the tap regularly. Over-tightening of taps is a big mistake during daily use. You must keep in mind that a tap consisting of valve and washer will drip for a few seconds even after you turn it off. The dripping will eventually stop within next few seconds or a minute. Do not keep on tightening. This will damage the longevity of the O-ring as well as the washer and cause a leakage.

Check the shower heads as well because that is another part where the same dripping problem might arise. There might be leaks right in the connection point of the shower head and the arm or it can also happen between the shower head, body and swivel ball.

Know the secret

It’s high time you know the ultimate secret to save yourself from repetitive occurrence of taps dripping here and there in your house. There are several fashionable styles and types of taps are available in the market. Many of them may not be as durable as they look. Some of them might have a very sleek and elegant design, but you might get disappointed in the long-run. Price doesn’t matter in case of selecting a new tap; quality does. You can go for an established brand to be safe. Otherwise, go for brass taps plated with chromium. Also, remember that right amount of water pressure is important for the taps to serve better and longer.

Final Words

Not confident enough to handle this fixing job on your own? Call a professional for expert help as a professional plumber is the ultimate person to get you sorted. In the meantime, you can collect the water in buckets and use it in other household chores, like watering the plants, washing dishes etc. You can also stop the annoying dripping sound by tying a string around the aerator and allow it to rest in the sink/basin. The water will run down along the string without making dripping sound.

How to fix a dripping tap

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