How to fix a leaking Tap
How do you fix a leaking tap? You can fix that leaking tap that’s been making you crazy and it’s easier than you think — and much less expensive than hiring a plumber. And although there are many styles and models of taps & mixers, the process of repairing a dripping tap is similar for all of them.
Types of Taps & Mixers
The first step is to figure out what type of leaking tap you’re trying to fix. Compression taps & mixers control water by pressing a stopper against a metal opening inside the tap. It’s like tightening the top on a bottle: As you turn the lid, it becomes tighter until it stops liquid from pouring out. If a mixer has separate handles for hot and cold water, it’s probably a compression tap.
There are three general styles of another type — washerless Taps: Ball, Ceramic Disk and Cartridge. These all work on the same simple design: aligning two holes within the tap to allow water through and moving the holes out of alignment to stop the flow of water. Washerless taps usually have only one handle, but some cartridge faucets have two handles.
Regardless of which type of tap or mixer you have, leaks most often caused by plastic or rubber seals (washers, seals, O-rings) wearing out and allowing a little bit of water to get through. It takes only a faintly worn or damaged seal to allow a drip of water to pass by every few seconds.
How to Fix a leaking tap or leaking mixer
Common tools you’ll need for tap repairs include screwdrivers (both flat and Phillips), pliers and adjustable spanners.
Then follow these easy steps:
• Turn off the water supply to the sink. Valves are usually under the counter close to the wall. It’s also a good idea to close the drain of the sink so any small parts that fall into the sink don’t go down the drain.
• Open the tap to release any water pressure in the lines.
• Remove the handle, which is usually held in place with a screw or Allen key screw (screws with a hexagonal pattern in the head). The screw may be covered with a plastic, metal or rubber cover you’ll need to pop off using a flat screwdriver or small knife.
• If the tap has a large metal nut holding the internal parts in place, check if it’s loose. Tightening that nut with a spanner may stop the leak. If not, remove the nut, screw or spring-loaded metal ring that holds the internal parts in place.
• Pull out the internal pieces with a pair of pliers or the spanner, carefully noting how the pieces fit together. If the tap or mixer contains a cartridge, don’t take it apart; simply replace it with a new one (Available from most hardware store in Auckland). It’s possible to install cartridges backward so you get hot water when you expect cold, and vice versa.
• Replace the washers, O-ring or seals (and springs if there are any behind the seals in a ball faucet). Get precise replacements from the plumbing supply store or hardware store. It takes only a small gap to allow water to pass through. Hot and cold assemblies may have slightly different parts.
• If metal parts have mineral deposits on them (Looks like calcium), clean them with vinegar and a stiff-bristled brush, being careful not to scratch the metal. In some instances, the uneven metal is the cause of the leak. You can get special tools to recut the metal of some taps to make it smooth again, but it may be just as easy to replace the whole tap if that’s the case.
• Reassemble the pieces and turn on the water supply to test your work. It may take a few seconds for the air to get out of the line, so turn the water on slowly and expect a bit of sputtering.
If that all fails, give us a call and let our friendly Auckland plumbers fix it for you.
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