How to fix a leaking tap

A leaking tap can be not only irritating but expensive too. Many people have been faced with high water bills due to leaking taps. If you need to know how to fix a leaking tap without consulting a plumber, read on.

What to do first

The first step you need to take is to identify the source of the leak. If water is coming from the spout, the washer may need replacing. You may need to replace the valve O-ring if the leak is coming from beneath the handle. The spout O-Ring may be passed its best if the leak is located beneath the spout.

Most systems include one of two kinds of valve devices. Chances are that you either have a compression or ceramic disc valve. Which washers you require will depend on what kind of valve you have.

Ceramic disc valve taps

The vast majority of ceramic disc valve taps require ceramic washers. These taps normally need no more than half a turn to reach full power. Compression valve taps usually require rubber washers. You will need to give these at least a full turn to achieve maximum power. Some leaks are caused by old washers. If this is the case, you will need to gain access to the valve. Ceramic valves have ceramic discs instead of rubber washers. Make sure you buy the right size when shopping for replacements. Hot valves come with red bottom seals, whilst seals for cold valves are coloured blue.

Compression valves

Compression valves are designed to control the flow of water. These taps have rubber washers at the bottom of the valve. The purpose of these is to prevent water flow by forming a seal. Once the washers start to wear away, problems with drips are likely.

Staying safe when fixing a tap

Make sure your water supply is turned off before any plumbing work commences. You’ll need to run the taps after you’ve switched off the water so any remaining pressure can be released. You will need to place your plug in your plughole to avoid misplacing any small parts that could fall down it. You’ll also need to be very careful if using tools like screwdrivers and spanners as these can scratch some taps, including chrome ones. Avoiding overtightening any valves or washers. This can damage your joints. Be wary of sharp edges and wear safety goggles throughout.

Don’t over-tighten rubber washers as this can mean replacing them earlier than you would like. It’s normal for these taps to drip for a short period even after they’ve been closed fully, so don’t become over-zealous when tightening them.

Contact Ability today

If you need to investigate or replace a leaky tap and would rather leave things to the professionals to avoid errors, help is available. At Ability, we have vast experience in this kind of work and provide the results that you require. You can reach us today by completing the form on our site or by calling us on 01892 514495. Alternatively, send a message to

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