How do I fix a dripping tap? Follow these 6 simple steps

A dripping tap is a common plumbing issue that not only wastes water, but also adds a big chunk of money to your water bill. Addressing the problem quickly is crucial to conserving water and preventing further damage. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of fixing a worn washer on a dripping tap; one of the most common reasons for a tap to leak. 

Although the following steps are reasonably straightforward, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional plumber if you aren’t confident looking at the system yourself, or if replacing the washer doesn’t solve the problem. 

At DMA Property Solutions, we offer a competitively priced plumbing service and are happy to come out to quickly sort your dripping tap if you need us. Simply call our team on 01202 698773. 

Why Do Taps Drip? 

Most frequently, taps will start to leak and drip because of worn-out parts. When a part of the faucet becomes worn, it will no longer create as tight a seal, which makes it difficult to completely shut off the water supply and causes leaking. 

The seals and washers on taps are commonly the first to go – they are under the most pressure and can come loose or wear down. 

Identify What Tap You Have 

Before knowing how to fix your tap, you’ll need to identify what type of tap you have. Two of the most common taps are traditional taps (with a twist mechanism) and monobloc lever taps (where the water is turned on via a lever). 

Traditional Taps

In traditional taps, dripping is commonly caused by a washer that has become worn out and needs replacing. This is the style of tap that we will focus on for this step-by-step guide. 

Monobloc Lever Taps 

In monobloc lever taps, dripping is often a result of a damaged ceramic cartridge that will need to be replaced. 

Things You’ll Need 

  • An adjustable spanner

  • A Philips or flathead screwdriver (depending on your tap)

  • A replacement washer

How to Fix a Dripping Tap 

In this guide, we’ll focus on fixing a leaky traditional tap, caused by a worn-down washer – this is one of the most common and simplest problems to fix with dripping taps. 

Remember: don’t use excessive force at any point. If something doesn’t seem right or isn’t working, call a professional. 

Step 1: Turn off the mains water supply 

This is crucial when embarking on any form of plumbing work. Make sure the mains water supply is completely shut off to avoid wasting water or soaking your house when taking a look at the dripping tap. You should also turn off the shut-off valve connected to the individual sink you are working on. 

To check that the water is off, try turning on the tap. If no water comes out, you’re ready for the next step. 

Step 2: Loosen the packing nut 

The packing nut is the large nut that sits under the handle of the tap. You will need to use an adjustable spanner to loosen and remove it. When the packing nut is loose enough, you should be able to completely remove it along with the entire valve unit underneath.  

Step 3: Locate the washer 

The washer is a flat, round disc with a hole in the middle. It will generally be positioned at the bottom of the valve unit, held in place by a screw.  

Step 4: Replace the washer 

Use a screwdriver to undo the screw holding the washer in place. Remove the washer and replace it with a washer of the same size. 

Step 5: Clean the tap components 

Make use of this opportunity, where you have taken the tap apart, to clean any grime or buildup from the different components of the tap. All dirt can affect the seal of a tap, so it’s a good time to do a spot of general maintenance to help prevent dripping. 

Step 6: Put the tap back together 

With the new washer in place, put back the screw and tighten. Then, place the valve unit back onto the faucet. Use your spanner to tighten the packing nut back up. Turn the mains water supply back on, as well as the sink’s shut-off valve and test the tap. Check for any leaks.  

Hopefully, changing the washer and cleaning and tightening the components results in the tap no longer dripping. If the tap is still dripping, there is likely a separate issue and it may help to call a professional plumber. 

No More Drips with DMA Property Solutions

Sometimes, all that’s needed to fix a dripping tap is to change the washer. However, there are times when the problem may be more complicated, or the style of tap doesn’t make it easy to find the washer (or there isn’t one!). 

For a quick, professional diagnostic on your dripping tap, and to get the problem fixed without having to turn to DIY, get in touch. We have over 15 years of experience working with commercial and domestic plumbing, and make it easy to get taps to stop dripping and stop costing you money on your water bills. 

Simply call us on 01202 698773 for more information or to schedule a call out. 

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