How to Fix a Leaking Tap

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  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Screwdriver (Phillips/flat)
Adjustable spanner/wrench
Deep penetrating oil
Rag or damp cloth

A leaking tap is annoying and it may require tap washer replacement. There is also a possibility the valve seating is damaged. If the leak comes from the mixer nozzle, then both tap washers may have to be replaced.

Step 1 - Shut Down the Water Supply

Have the water supply connecting to the leaking tap shut off. Ensure the leaking tap is fully turned on, and have the plug cover the plughole to prevent any parts from the leaking tap from falling down at the waste pipe. Turn the main source of water taps off.

Step 2 - Remove the Screws

Take off the screw of the non-rising spindle to make the retaining screw visible. Place the screw in a safe and convenient place. With the rising spindle tap, unscrew the spindle disc using a screwdriver and take the retaining screw away to remove the capstan or handle. Using an adjustable spanner, which is wrapped in a damp cloth, have the metal shroud unscrewed and pull it out of the nut from the headgear.

Step 3 - Unscrew the Big Headgear Nut

water dripping from a faucet

Unscrew the bigger headgear nut using a spanner. Should you experience stiffness in the nut, do not force it. Support the tap body using your hand or with the help of a pipe wrench covered with a cloth. This is to prevent damages on the pipe-work attached on the tap. Damaging the pipes may require professional help.

Step 4 - The Use of Penetrating Oil

If you still have difficulty turning the nut, have some penetrating oil applied on the joint and wait ten minutes for the oil to go through the nut. You may repeat the application several times. You can also apply heat on the nut using a blow torch or an electric paint stripper. You should, however, be cautious.

Step 5 - Remove the Washer

holding a faucet aerator

Using the screwdriver, remove the washer. If the washer is being secured by a small nut have it unscrewed using a spanner. If you have difficulty removing it, spray penetrating oil on the nut and then repeat the method of unscrewing. You can have the washer and the jumper valve replaced if you still experience difficulty in removing the nut.

Step 6 - The Replacement Washer

After putting the replacement washer or jumper valve and the washer in place, lubricate the threads located at the tap’s base before putting things back together. You may purchase a special gel containing silicon from plumbers’ merchants.

Step 7 - Valve Seating Repair

When the washer is replaced, it is important to set your eyes on the valve seat located inside the tap’s body. If it is deformed, the seal amid the seat and the washer will be inefficient even with the washer replaced. You can have repairs by a combination of washer and the seating set. It may however take days before the new seating water tight seal to take effect.