Home DIY Dripping Tap: Here’s how to fix it

Dripping Tap: Here’s how to fix it


On average Brits use 143 litres of water per person per day. Put a leaking tap into the equation, and you are looking at an additional 180 litres a day, 66,000 litres of water over the year. Quite literally that’s your hard-earned pounds going down the drain on your water bill.

And, if it’s your hot water tap which is dripping, you can add a couple of hundred pounds on your gas bill too.

If you are unsure of hesitant about undertaking a plumbing task by yourself, call in the professionals to tackle the job. Contact any a local plumber such as plumbers in Bury and ask them to give you a quote.

But, if you’re up to it you can tackle the job yourselfHere’s how to fix the most common traditional compression tap.

Tools of the Trade

Before starting the job, get the tools you will require and keep them nearby.

An adjustable spanner

Slot and cross-head screwdrivers

Assorted washers and O-rings

Getting down to basics

1. Turn off the water to your leaking tap

Look underneath your sink for the water pipes. Somewhere along those pipes will be handles that you can turn to shut off the water to your sink.

2. Plug the drain with a sink plug or rag

You certainly don’t want a screw or washer to go down the drain.

3. A compression tap has two screw handles, one for hot and one for cold 

To fix the dripping tap, remove the handle and pry off the decorative cap. Unscrew and remove the handle.

4. Remove the nut

Underneath you will find the stem. This sits on top of the O-ring, which sits on top of a seat washer. Usually, made of rubber, the seat washer can become worn down over time. If your tap is dripping, this is most likely the culprit. 

5. Pull out the stem.

This will expose the O-ring, which will be thinner, and seat washer, which will be thicker. If the handles are leaky (as opposed to the actual tap, replace the O-ring). 

6. Remove and replace the seat washer

Held in place with an upside-down brass screw. These washers vary in size so you may need to visit your local hardware store to find an exact match. Coat the replacement in plumber’s grease before installing it.

 Lastly, reassemble the tap. Minor leaks should now be a thing of the past.

Look to your loo

But it’s not just a dripping tap that wastes water. A leaking toilet can waste anything between 200 to 400 litres of water a day. A whopping 72,000 to 146,000 litres of water wasted yearly. 

A leaking toilet can go unnoticed as the water dribbles down the back of the pan from the cistern. If you suspect your toilet is leaking add a few drops of food colouring to the cistern. If there is food colouring in the bowl after a couple of minutes, you have a leak.

Set aside time for maintenance

By making time for critical maintenance items, you will ensure your home remains a safe and comfortable haven for your family.

With water resources worldwide increasingly under strain, it is essential now more than ever that everyone plays their part to help.


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