There are two types of tap. Traditional taps and the monobloc lever type, operated by a single handle. Traditional taps drip because an internal rubber seal, or washer, has worn out and needs replacing. Monobloc lever taps house ceramic cartridges that occasionally need to be replaced.
If you want to fix a leak, first turn off the water supply to the tap. You may find an isolation valve on the pipe that feeds the tap, which you can turn to close off its water supply. Turn with a screwdriver the groove on the valve so that it runs across the pipe. If you can’t find a valve, switch off your supply via the property’s stopcock tap.
You need then to unscrew and remove the tap head. Often this is hidden under the cap labelled H (for the hot water tap) or C (the cold water tap). Else the top cap of the tap can be flipped off using a slot-head screwdriver or with your fingers. If you have a “monobloc” lever tap, locate a tiny grub screw underneath the hot or cold indicator button. Remove the tap handle to reveal the top of the valve. You may need to remove a valve cover (otherwise known as a ‘shroud’) as well.
To replace a ceramic disc valve, grip and turn the ceramic valve itself with an adjustable spanner, then replace with a new valve before reassembling the tap.
To replace a rubber washer, unscrew the tap valve with a spanner and remove the valve from the tap seat. Unscrew or flip off the washer and replace with a new one. Reassemble the tap.
Worn O-rings are a common cause of leakage on kitchen taps, but you may also find O-rings on the valve body in other taps. If you fix a washer and the tap is still leaking, check for other O-rings and seals on the valve body to see if they are worn.
To replace an O-ring at the base of a tap spout, remove the grub screw behind the spout and twist to release. Cut out or prise off the worn O-ring at the base of the spout. Roll on a replacement O-ring to renew the seal. Reposition the spout and re tighten the grub screw.
If you’re in any doubt about fixing a leaky tap and you’re looking for local, Swindon plumbers to fix it, do get in touch with us here at Centraheat.