Fixing a Leaky Tap

Leaky tapA leaky tap can be a real problem if it I not quickly addressed. The escaping water can cause moisture to begin building in wood work or masonry and the constant rhythmic tapping of falling water can keep you up till all hours of the morning.

The good news is that fixing a leaky tap is comparatively easy, especially if you are working with the simple compression type tap common in most bathroom sinks.

The following guide will cover some of the necessary procedures to fixing a leaky tap.

Locate the Issue
Is the water leaking from the tap, or maybe from the pipes and tubes that supply water to the tap? The first step will be to locate the source of the drip.

If the pipes are not connected properly, or damaged, they can easily spring a leak. Its best to look all around before immediately dismantling the whole tap.

Shut off the water
If you are confident the tap is the issue, shut the water off before beginning an inspection process. This can usually be done by closing the valves below the sink.

If you can’t find any solutions, shutting these valves can allow you to get back to sleep or postpone repairs till a replacement tap can be found.

Dismantle the Tap
Your tap handle may have decorative caps and pieces hiding screws and nuts. Take these off with a flat head screwdriver and inspect the condition of all moving parts you find. Remove the screw or nut holding the knob in place and remove the handle from the stem.

The Packing Nut
Once the stem is exposed you should see the large packing nut below the stem. Remove the stem carefully, sometimes the stem slides off other times it must be removed by twisting it from the valve.

Sometimes the leak is caused by a loosened valve and few turns of the nut will set it right. If this is not the case, the problem could lie with the washers or O-rings inside the valve seat.

In this case you will need to find a proper replacement at your local plumbers merchants.

If the washer seems to be in good conditions, it could be too small or not positioned correctly. You can sometimes find a package with an assortment of different O-rings, this makes it easier to apply a solution.

After you have effectively dismantled the tap down to the very valve it will be important to remember how to reassemble your sink’s functionality. One good idea is to take pictures of the apparatus as you go so that you remember how everything fit together.

Test Run
If at first you do succeed, act completely normal. But, if your fix-it attempt was not a success at first, maybe you have some further insights on what the problem is due to your improved perspective.

Remember that taps are not meant to last an eternity and the internal components such as cartridges may simply be damaged beyond repair. In this case shut off the valves under the sink once more and find a replacement for the tap at the next convenient moment.