Leaking taps are a common household problem, leading to water wastage, increased water bills, and even property damage. 

Understanding the causes of leaking taps and finding effective solutions is crucial. In this article, we will explain the structure of a tap, common causes of leaks, DIY solutions, when to call a professional plumber, and preventive measures to avoid future issues.

Understanding the Structure of a Tap

Before delving into the causes and solutions of leaking taps, it is essential to understand the structure of a tap. 

A tap has several parts that work together to control the water flow. 

These parts include the handle, spindle, body, seals, O-rings, washer, and valve seat. The handle controls the spindle, which opens and closes the tap’s valve. 

Seals and O-rings prevent water from leaking around the spindle and valve seat. The washer controls the water flow and is located at the end of the spindle. The valve seat seals the washer and the tap’s body.

Common Causes of Leaking Taps

Several factors can cause taps to leak. Here are some of the most common causes:

Worn Out Seals and O-rings

Seals and O-rings can wear out over time, resulting in leaks. Limescale formation can also impact these, causing them to degrade faster. You may also need to assess your jumper valve, tap bonnet, and tap body.

Broken or Damaged Washer

The washer plays a crucial role in controlling the water flow in a tap. A broken or damaged washer can lead to water leaks.

Damaged Valve Seat

The valve seat seals the washer and the tap’s body. If the valve seat is damaged, water can seep through and cause leaks.

Incorrect Water Pressure

Fluctuations in water pressure can cause a tap to drip. Possible reasons for incorrect water pressure include issues with the water mains, water pump, or pressure regulator.

Corroded Pipes or Damage from Tree Roots

Pipes can become corroded or damaged over time due to factors such as aging, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or damage from tree roots. These pipe issues can impact the function of a tap and lead to leaks.

Accumulation of Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits can accumulate in taps over time, causing them to become clogged and leading to leaks.

DIY Solutions for Leaking Taps

If you’re experiencing a leaking tap, there are several DIY solutions you can try before calling a professional plumber:

Replacing the Seal, Broken Washer and O-Ring

Replacing seals and O-rings is a relatively easy and cost-effective solution to fix a leaking tap. You can purchase replacement seals and O-rings from your local hardware store and follow a step-by-step guide to replace them.

Replacing a Broken or Damaged Washer

Replacing a broken or damaged tap washer requires some plumbing knowledge but can also be done as a DIY solution. You will need to turn off the water supply, remove the tap’s handle, unscrew the spindle, and replace the washer.

Fixing a Damaged Valve Seat

If the washer and jumper valves are damaged, they may need to be replaced. You can purchase a replacement valve seat and follow a step-by-step guide to fix the issue.

Adjusting Water Pressure

If the water pressure starts to reach a level that’s too high or too low, it can cause a tap to leak. You can adjust the water pressure by adjusting the pump or regulator.

Addressing Pipe Issues

If your leaky tap is due to corroded pipes or damage from tree roots, you may need to replace the affected pipes or assess your hot water system. This more complex DIY solution requires tap repair knowledge and tools.

Removing Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits can be removed by soaking the tap components in vinegar or a descaling solution. You can also use a toothbrush or a small brush to scrub away the deposits.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

While DIY solutions can be effective, there may be scenarios where a professional plumber is required. These scenarios include:

  • A tap that continues to leak after trying DIY solutions
  • A tap that’s difficult to access or requires special tools
  • Complex pipe issues that require expertise
  • A tap that’s part of a larger plumbing system needs attention

It’s essential to seek professional help if you’re unsure about a DIY solution or if the issue poses a risk of further damage.

Preventive Measures to Avoid A Leaking Tap

Taking preventive measures can help avoid future issues with leaking taps. Here are some tips:

  • Regularly check taps for signs of leaks
  • Replace tap washers if damaged
  • Assess the jumper valve if you’re experiencing a leak
  • Address any issues promptly
  • See if the cause is coming from your hot water systems
  • Install water softeners to reduce the impact of limescale formation
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage tap components

Key Takeaways

A dripping tap can be a frustrating and costly problem, but understanding its causes and finding effective solutions can help avoid further damage.

By following the DIY solutions outlined in this article and taking preventive measures, you can keep your taps in good condition and avoid future leaks.

Remember, if you’re unsure about a DIY solution or the issue requires professional attention, don’t hesitate to call an emergency plumber.