Co-branding Airtasker OneflareCo-branding Airtasker Oneflare
Hero image

Find a local plumber

    DIY: How to fix a leaking tap

    All the tools & materials you will need with a step by step guide

    Alex | Oneflare

    Whether it is your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or shower, a dripping tap is more than just an annoyance. It can cost you money. Sometimes, a drip is obvious, but it might be dripping so slowly that you never notice it. 

     If your sink or shower is never dry, even after long periods of non-use, you probably have a dripping tap. A sudden increase in your water bill could also signal a leaky tap. One faucet dripping three times a minute wastes 1 litre of water per day, and that can add up quickly on your bill. This should be an incentive to get it fixed quickly. 

    Different causes of a leaking tap

    Several things can cause a leaky tap, including: 

    • Improper installation
    • Water pressure problems
    • Corroded valve seat
    • O ring problems
    • Faulty tap washer

    If your problem is one of the first three issues, you probably need to call a plumber. If the problem is the o ring, you can fix it yourself. The o ring is a small rubber disc that is attached to the tap’s stem screw. It can become worn or loose over time, leading to a leaking mixer tap. This is the most common problem regardless of brand, be it a Novelli mixer tap or other brands, and replacing the worn-out part usually fixes it.

    Leaking taps will end up wasting lots of water / Source: Ubacon Building Group

    Tools & materials needed to fix it

    To fix your leaking tap, you need several tools and materials before you begin the job. Most of them can be found at your local home improvement store or online. 

    • 12mm washers
    • O ring
    • Jumper valve
    • Reseating kit
    • Spanner wrench or tap spanner set. 
    • Multi-grips
    • Screwdriver 
    • Tap lubricant
    • Rag or old cloth

    If you need a new o ring, it is a good idea to replace tap washer sets, too. A reseating kit might not be necessary with some types of faucets, but if your home is older, it is best to get one in case. Also, you might be able to get away with a regular wrench in some cases. 

    Contact local plumbers

    How to replace a tap washer

    Changing a tap washer and o ring is an easy process, but it can be tricky if this is your first time. Also, there are slight differences depending on the type of faucet you have. For instance, a single faucet with a mixer will be different from sinks where the hot and cold are separate. Here are the steps to get you started.

    1. Turn off the water supply. Before you get started, it is essential to shut off your water. Some homes have a shutoff valve beneath the sink, but in some cases, you might have to turn off the main water supply to your home. Once the water is off, it is a good idea to put a drain plug in the sink so that small parts and screws do not fall down the drain. 
    2. Unscrew the tap. Using a spanner wrench, loosen the screw and take off the cover of the tap. You can now remove the handle. Some older style faucets have a tap bonnet above the ring and washers. You should remove this, too. 
    3. Remove the old washer. Wind the threaded spindle out of the pipe as if you were turning off the water. This action will expose the O-ring. It might come off quickly, or you might have to remove it with a utility knife. Once you have completed this, clean the surface thoroughly before you replace tap spindle parts. 
    4. Replace the o-ring and washer. Before replacing the tap O ring, apply tap lubricant to the spindle and valve. This will help it get a better seal and will help it operate more smoothly. 
    5. Re-install tap into place. Now it is time to replace the tap spindle band and replace the bonnet. It is important to be sure not to over tighten the nuts when doing this. You can now re-install the handles and tighten them down using the spanner wrench. 
    6. Test water. The job is now finished, and you can turn the water back on. Test the work and make sure that it is still not leaking. If it is still leaking, you might have to get a reseating kit and do it again or hire a professional. 
    Changing a shower tap washer can be more complicated depending on the type of shower / Source: Visualising Interiors

    How to change a shower tap washer

    The steps for changing a shower tap washer are identical to changing one on the sink or faucet only you will be working vertically instead of horizontally. The only difference is that once you unscrew the top of the handles, there will usually be a skirt or cover plate underneath. Sometimes these will need to be screwed off, and other times they pull straight off. There could also be an adhesive holding it on, but you can easily break this with a pair of pliers. 

    For showers, you might need to use your spanner wrench to take the jumper valve out. When replacing the shower faucet, make sure that the skirt is replaced in a manner that will prevent water from leaking behind your wall and causing damage. If it was glued on, you need to make sure to use an adhesive approved for showers to replace it.

    How to hire a plumber

    Tap washer repair is an easy process, but there are a few nuances that you need to know. Otherwise, you could end up with a mess and possibly experience structural damage. If you need to fix a leak and are not confident in your ability to do it yourself, it might be more cost-effective to hire a professional. Not only will it save you the hassle, but a licensed professional will also make sure that the job is done right.

    Licencing and qualifications

    Regional government authorities licence plumbers and requirements can differ according to location. These licences dictate the type of work the plumber is allowed to do, and not all plumbers can do every job. For instance, they might need a different licence to do gas installations or to install drains. Most licenced plumbers can replace a tap or make other repairs that might be necessary to your sinks and shower.

    Australian regulations specify a minimum distance between water and power points, which must be adhered to for safety reasons. Be sure to consult with a licensed plumber to ensure that your plumbing work meets the necessary safety standards and complies with regulations regarding the distance between water and power points in Australia.

    Facebook LikeTwitter

    How much will your job cost?

    The Oneflare Cost Guide Centre is your one-stop shop to help you set your budget; from smaller tasks to larger projects.