Drip… Drip… Drip… Drip…
Well, far more than it being a huge annoyance, a dripping tap or a leaky tap can cost you hundreds of pounds quite literally down the drain! Leaking taps like these are one of the most common causes of unexpected high water consumption in the UK, costing each household an average of 25 litres of wasted water daily, according to research by Opinium for Direct Line Home Insurance.
Some would immediately google “how to fix a dripping tap,” for DIY or home guides. Meanwhile, a good percentage of UK households would, unfortunately, not attempt to fix their leaky or dripping taps because they consider tap repairs an unnecessary expense, or just aren’t too bothered by it to get it fixed as soon as possible. However, an unchecked or unresolved tap leak could cause further damage such as mineral deposits/stains, drain clogs, overflows, and water damage throughout the home. Furthermore, repairs for these kinds of damages will cost far more money than fixing the original leak in the first place.
At this point, you would either call a plumber to start working on that annoying leak, or get out your handy tools and start fixing the leak yourself. If you fall in the latter category and think you’re up to the task of getting this task done by yourself, feel free to use this short step-by-step guide to walk you through the process:
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Turn off the water supply
This first step is extremely vital to the success of your DIY repair. By making sure the water supply is turned off, you are preventing any kind of further damage that may be caused by the leaking water. Additionally, this prevents you from making too much of a mess during the repair.
Take apart the faucet
Before you do this, make sure that the sink is plugged. This prevents any small parts of the tap from getting lost down the drain. Once you have that secured, use a screwdriver to begin taking apart the tap by removing the tap handle and unscrewing the tap mechanism. Be sure to place the parts you have unscrewed in order to make the reconstruction much easier.
Identify the problem
While taking apart your tap, you will be able to see which parts are corroded, damaged, defective, or covered with mineral deposits. Once you’ve figured out which parts need replacing, make sure that the new component fits perfectly into the tap. Otherwise, this will only cause further damage. You may want to take a photo of the damaged component, or better yet, take the component itself when you go to the hardware store to make sure that you are getting the replacement component in the correct size.
Here are the commonly damaged components you should be on the lookout for:
- Ceramic disc
- Rubber washer
Fixing a leaky tap as demonstrated by HowToLou, a YouTube channel dedicated to DIY demonstrations:
Once you’ve gotten all the parts replaced and ready to go, you may start putting the tap back together. Make sure to do it carefully, and in the correct order. Tighten all screws to make sure everything is in working perfectly. Turn on the water supply and check for any more leaks. Ideally, for a traditional tap, the order should be as follows: washer/o-ring, stem or cartridge, packing nut, screw, and tap head or handle.
If you would rather call for a plumber to help you with the tap repairs, here are some things you should remember:
Find someone you can trust
Whether it’s by checking for a license, asking for their qualifications, or looking for job recommendations from their previous customers, it is important that you get to know the person you are dealing with. You are letting them into your home after all.
Working with a plumber you can trust also means you will also be able to ask them questions freely whenever the need arises. You wouldn’t have to worry about them misleading you or taking advantage of you when you make it seem like they do not know anything about plumbing.
Take the chance to make other necessary repairs
Plumbing issues are sometimes hard to detect. If you’ve already got a plumber around, and you’ve got some time and maybe some cash to spare, take the chance to get your house’s plumbing work inspected. You will then know if your plumber has to fix leaks, do some work on the kitchen sink, or help you get both your hot and cold water running.
Be aware of all the costs before having the job done
Nobody likes surprises, that is a fact. So, be sure to confirm with your plumber just exactly how much repairing a leaky tap will cost, and whatever project he may find during the inspection. You wouldn’t want to have any monetary issues anywhere during the whole process.
Make sure your house is prepared
Although a dripping tap is hardly considered major plumbing work, it is important that you are prepared for a professional to come into your home, just as you would for any other kind of home maintenance. Do not leave hanging around anything that may hinder the repairs.