How to Fix a Dripping Tap

December 15, 2020 6:50 am

A dripping tap or shower how can be really annoying? Just listening to that incessant Drip. Drip. Drip, as each single droplet of water strikes. The noise magnified and seemingly getting louder each time a droplet strikes in the enclosed space! To the point where it’s as good as a hammer to your eardrums, shredding your sanity layer by layer with every drip.

Hopefully, it’s not that bad, but it might come close! If it does then call Marvel Property Solutions Ltd immediately, we will attend to and fix it for you.

What causes it?

Inside traditional taps sits an internal rubber washer or seal. It tends to disintegrate over time allowing water to seep past these damaged areas. There are a variety of taps available that might be installed in your property. It could be a Monobloc tap, these are quite common, it’s designed with a single tap hole and spout that dispenses hot and cold water at the same time through it.

Pillar taps are also common, where you have two taps delivering ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ water independently. There are a huge variety of different taps designs available the above highlights just two common designs.

When the tap design becomes more elaborate (and more expensive) the design can be slightly more complex. Monobloc taps will have a ceramic cartridge that will need to be replaced.

The one on the left is a standard cartridge from a pillar tap and the one on the right is a ceramic cartridge, both can be changed in similar ways..

Fix a Dripping Tap

The purpose of a seal/washer is to simply stop water leaking. When a tap is turned off the pliable seal/washer compresses to form a waterproof barrier. If this is not possible a leak will occur and the dripping begins! There are several tutorial videos available online for useful hints and tips. Just type in ‘how to change a tap/ceramic washer’.

If you are a competent DIY person you will be able to replace the valve or a seal/washer by following a simple tutorial.

Don’t forget to isolate the hot and cold water supply before you attempt the repair! The hot water isolation valve is usually in the airing cupboard and the cold water isolation tap under the sink?

A leak from the stem or base: An indicator that the seal has perished or the tap body just needs tightening, to compress the seal and form a watertight barrier?

Impurities: Sometimes limescale buildup can prevent a tap from turning off securely. The limescale deposit will have to be pretty aggressive to cause this, but it could be the cause of the leak when it gets between the seal/washer and within the tap body. A good rigorous clean with a strong limescale remover and stiff brush can restore it to working condition.

Let’s Fix it!

So, before we begin, you will need some tools and materials such as:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrenches
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Spray penetrating oil
  • Scouring pad
  • Washers and seals
  • Replacement tap cartridge
  • Some old towels or rags

Once the hot and cold water supplies have been isolated we can begin. Be careful when using tools on chrome-plated taps as the chrome coating can be scratched or marked.

As a precaution, you may want to put the plug in the sink/basin/bath as you don’t want to lose any retaining grub screws etc? The tools you are using are quite robust and if dropped could damage the stainless steel or porcelain basin. It’s a good idea to line the area with a sizeable soft rag.

To avoid scratching the tap, wrap a rag around it. The wrench is then tightly adjusted over the rag, to gain the purchase required to loosen the part without it slipping.

Compression Pillar Taps
Here are just two designs of compression taps. The cartridge (middle) is what makes up the innards and when the handle is turned clockwise (off) the washer at the base of the cartridge compresses making a watertight seal, it’s usually this washer that needs replacing. Whilst at it, you may as well replace the midsection ‘O’ ring as well?


how to Fix a Dripping Tap

  1. With a flathead screwdriver prise off the center decorative cap.
  2. Remove the screw that holds the tap handle from the valve stem on the cartridge.
  3. With a little upward force draw off the handle. The valve can then be removed and the washer/s replaced.
  4. When the washer has been replaced pop back the cartridge into the body of the tap, replace the handle insert the retaining screw and replace the decorative cap.

The tap should now be drip/leak-free.

There are many different tap designs available all with different ‘innards’, so if you’re unsure call Marvel Property Solutions Ltd and we’ll send a professional plumber to advise. Alternatively, email photos of the tap with an explanation of the problem and we will reply with recommendations.

We are available 24/7 for any emergencies.
Hopefully, no more dripping taps or showers keeping you awake at night!

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