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What Tools Do You Need To Fix A Leaking Tap?

12 February

A leaking tap is more than just an irksome sound; it’s a clarion call to water wastage and an unwelcome increment to your utility bills. In addition, the continuous dripping can lead to more serious plumbing problems requiring extensive repairs if left unattended. Fortunately, with a bit of know-how and the right tools, you can transform this drip into a triumph of do-it-yourself skill.

In this detailed blog post, we’ll dive into the essential toolkit every homeowner should have at their disposal to tackle the common yet vexing issue of a leaking tap. Whether you’re faced with a traditional tap oozing with character or a modern mixer tap that’s lost its rhythm, having the correct tools on hand is the first leaking tap step towards a successful fix.

From the humble but mighty wrench to the specific washers that form the foundation of a good seal, we’ll guide you through each tool’s purpose and how it applies to the task at hand.

So, before you dial up the local plumber or resign yourself to the symphony of drips, join us as we arm you with the knowledge and confidence to address one of the most common household plumbing problems. We’d also put together a little step-by-step on how to fix a leaking tap if you enjoy DIY and need a new project for your Sunday afternoon.

So, stay tuned as we lay out a comprehensive list of tools to fix a leaking tap, ensuring you’re well-prepared for a watertight victory over those pesky leaks.

Understanding the Mechanics of a Tap

Before you set out to fix a leaking tap, it’s crucial to understand the basics of how a traditional tap works. Most taps consist of a tap body, which is the main structure, a tap bonnet that houses the internal components, and a tap skirt or decorative cap that covers the workings.

The tap handle, or tap button, is what you turn to control the water flow. Inside, the water supply is regulated by washer and jumper valves, creating a watertight seal when the tap is in the ‘off’ position.

Dripping Taps With Tools

Subcomponents of a Tap

  • Tap Washer: This rubber washer is the most common cause of tap leaks. It forms a seal that prevents water from passing through when the tap is closed.
  • Jumper Valve: This valve works with the washer to stop water flow.
  • Valve Seat: The valve seat is where the washer sits to form a seal. Mineral build-up or damage here can cause leaking.
  • O Ring: O rings ensure a tight seal between the different parts of the tap, preventing leaks from the tap body.

Diagnosing the Source of a Leak

Identifying the Type of Leak

  • Dripping Tap: A leaky tap, even when turned off tightly, typically has a worn-out washer or a damaged valve seat.
  • Leaking Tap Body: If water leaks around the tap handle or body, the O rings or the valve seating might be the issue.
  • Water Leaks from the Base: A leak from the skirt base of the tap, where it connects to the sink, could be due to a broken washer, worn O rings, or a seal that’s been installed incorrectly.

Locating the Water Supply and Isolation Valve

Before starting any repair, locate the water supply and find the isolation valve to shut off the water flowing to the tap. This valve is often found beneath the sink or sometimes in the front yard near the water meter.

Tools and Materials Needed

Fixing Bathroom Tap

To fix a leaking tap, ensure you have the correct tools and replacement parts ready. These typically include:

  • A shifting wrench or adjustable spanner
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Replace o rings and washers of the correct size
  • Resealing kit for the tap model
  • Lubricant for the o rings

You can find most of these items at your local hardware store. Remember to buy washers and O rings of the same size to ensure a perfect fit.

Step by Step: Fix a Dripping Tap

Fixing Tap Handle

Step 1: Prepare the Work Area

Turn off the water supply using the isolation valve and turn on the tap to drain any remaining water. Cover the sink drain to prevent small parts from falling in, and lay out your tools for easy access.

Step 2: Remove the Tap Handle

Most taps feature a decorative cap or tap skirt that hides the screw securing the handle. Carefully remove the decorative cap using a flat-head screwdriver, then use a Phillips head or appropriate screwdriver to remove the screw and lift off the tap handle.

Step 3: Dismantle the Tap

With the handle off, use a shifting wrench to unscrew the tap bonnet or cover plate. This step will reveal the internal workings, including the washer, jumper, or jumper valves for mixer taps.

Step 4: Inspect the Washer and Jumper Valve

Remove the tap washer and jumper valve using needle nose pliers. Inspect these parts for wear and tear. A broken washer is often the culprit behind leaky taps.

Step 5: Replace the Washer and Jumper Valve

If you find a worn-out washer or malfunctioning jumper valve, head to your local hardware store with the parts to find exact replacements. Insert the new washer and jumper valve into the tap body, ensuring they sit properly in the valve seat.

Step 6: Reassemble the Tap

Once the new parts are in place, reassemble the tap in reverse order. Ensure all parts, including the tap bonnet and handle, are secured tightly but without over-tightening, which can damage the new rubber parts.

Step 7: Check the O Rings

If you’ve replaced the washer and jumper valve and the tap still leaks, the O rings may need replacing. Dismantle the tap again and locate the o rings around the valve seating and tap body. Replace these with new o rings coated in a suitable lubricant for a watertight seal.

Step 8: Test the Tap

After reassembling the tap, turn the water supply back on and test the tap. Open and close it several times, checking for leaks at every point. If the tap still leaks, it may be due to a valve seat that has been damaged or a mineral build-up that needs to be adequately addressed.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Once the tap turns smoothly and there are no water leaks, clean any debris and polish the tap to a shine. Your tap should now be leak-free and functioning correctly.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Fixing Mixer Tap

Sometimes, a professional plumber should be called instead of attempting a DIY fix. While replacing a washer or O rings in a leaky tap is often a straightforward task, if the water leaks persist after this, the issue could be more complex, like a burst pipe underneath.

Dealing with a damaged valve seat beyond simple repair or a unique or complex tap design also requires a professional plumber who will have the proper tools and knowledge to handle the job successfully. Their expertise can diagnose and repair issues that may not be apparent to a homeowner. So for persistently leaking taps or taps with complex designs or damage beyond basic parts replacement, it’s best to call in a qualified plumbing service to ensure the problem is identified and fixed properly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when fixing a leaky faucet yourself. Using the wrong size washer and buying a replacement that does not match the original can lead to continued leaks. Over-tightening the tap parts puts too much pressure on the new rubber washer and o ring and can damage them, negating the repair.

And forgetting a very important step – turning off the water supply at the mains before starting work – risks creating a giant clean-up mess and possible water damage around the tap if a leak occurs during the process. Taking care to match washers, avoiding overtightening parts, and remembering to turn off the water can help ensure any DIY tap repair is done correctly.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Leaks

Regular maintenance can prevent future plumbing problems like dripping taps:

  • Inspect your taps regularly for signs of wear and tear.
  • Clean taps to prevent mineral buildup, which can cause damage over time.
  • Replace washers and O rings periodically, even if there’s no apparent leak.
  • Use quality parts from a reputable hardware store to extend the life of your repairs.

Saving Water and Money

Addressing leaking taps saves water and money on your water bill. According to the Queensland Government, a single leaking tap can waste thousands of litres of water annually. By fixing a leaking tap promptly, you contribute to water conservation and save money in the long run.

Tips for a Successful Repair

  • Take photos as you dismantle the tap to ensure correct reassembly.
  • Use a sneaky tip, like placing parts on a white towel to keep track of them and protect them from damage.
  • If the tap still leaks after replacing the washer and jumper valve, consider replacing the O rings or reseating the valve seat.
  • Always ensure the tap parts are reassembled in the correct order for a functional tap.

Your Ultimate Toolkit for Drip-Free Taps

In the journey to bid farewell to the drip-drip background score of a leaking tap, fixing it with the right tools is your best ally. We’ve walked through the essentials you’ll need, from adjustable wrenches to precision screwdrivers and the all-important array of washers and O-ring replacements. With these instruments in your arsenal, you’re now equipped to tackle the majority of tap troubles that come your way.

But sometimes, despite your best efforts and the finest tools, a leak may be a stubborn adversary, or you may need help with a problem beyond a simple washer swap. That’s when it’s time to call in the cavalry.

Gold Coast Plumbing Company is your go-to expert when a leaking tap reveals deeper plumbing conundrums, or you simply want to ensure the job’s done to professional standards. Our experienced plumbers can swiftly and efficiently end any leak, providing peace of mind and dry surfaces.

Don’t let that drip drain your spirits or your wallet. If your tap continues to put up a fight or you’d prefer to entrust the task to seasoned hands, contact Gold Coast Plumbing Company. We’re here to end your leaking tap saga with service as reliable as the sturdy turn of a brand-new tap washer.