Kitchen tap

How to Fix a Dripping Tap

One of the biggest complaints about the kitchen is also one of the easiest to fix – here is our step by step guide on how to stop that dripping tap!

You will need:
• A cross head or slot screwdriver
• A replacement cartridge or assorted washers
• An adjustable spanner

Before you tackle your dripping tap, it is important to determine which type of tap you have. There are two main types of taps that are commonly found in and around the home; traditional taps and monobloc lever taps, which control both the flow and temperature of the water with a single handle. To put it simply, traditional taps tend to leak because a washer or an internal seal has deteriorated and needs to be replaced. Conversely, monobloc lever taps feature ceramic cartridges that need to replaced from time to time.

It is worth noting that the more expensive the tap, the more expensive and hard to find the replacement cartridge will be. Once you have figured out which type of tap is dripping and selected the appropriate washer or replacement cartridge, you are ready to fix it. Note that most traditional taps use an O-ring or a bottom washer.

Step 1
First, turn off the water flowing to the tap. To do this, you will need to locate either the stop cock or isolation valve, both of which can usually be found set on the supply pipes that are below the sink. After the water has been turned off, turn on the tap to release any water that remains in the top part of the pipe. Let the water drain fully before continuing with the next step.

Step 2
Locate the screw situated inside the handle that is used to hold the tap together. This screw can usually be found under the decorative cap on the top of the tap handle. It is sometimes possible to unscrew the cap by hand, but if not you can use an adjustable spanner or a slot headed screwdriver to complete the task. The entrance to a monobloc lever tap is usually a tiny grub screw that is hidden underneath either the cold or hot indicator button.

Step 3
Put the plug firmly in the sink and remove the screw. It is likely that the screw will fall into the sink when it is removed, but the screw can easily be retrieved if you remember to put the plug in the sink first. Remove the tap head along with any metal cover that is situated around the neck of the tap in order to reveal a brass valve or spindle.

Step 4
Using an adjustable spanner, hold the central hexagonal nut and unscrew the spindle while using your hand to support the tap spout. This will stop the tap from bending and twisting the pipes beneath. You will see that the top washer is an O-ring, while the bottom washer is shaped like a Polo mint. Now select the appropriate washer from your bag of assorted washers. It is a good idea to have a number of washers to choose from, as they are extremely cheap and can be used for other projects in the future.

Step 5
Fit the new washers, put the tap back together and turn on the isolation valve. Your tap should now be working like new.

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