Open Now — 24/7 Plumbing
5-Star Service

How To Fix A Leaking Tap


You can learn how to fix a leaking faucet in your home with our step-by-step guide. Get to know the common causes and simple solutions to prevent leaking faucets in the future!

A dripping tap in your home or office can be a real problem–from its annoying, persistent noise to water flooding and high water bill–it is almost impossible not to try to fix it.

It is quite simple to fix leaking taps if you can figure out what went wrong. Usually, taps leak due to a broken tap washer (a component attached to the jumper valve) or worn-out O-rings (rubber parts attached to the stem of the tap body). The easiest way to figure out which of the two needs replacing is to check exactly how the water leaks. If the tap is dripping, it’s a washer problem, and if it leaks while running, the O-ring needs to be replaced.

Fix Leaking Tap

And even though fixing dripping taps isn’t too complicated, it can get messy and dangerous if you don’t follow proper instructions.

Reasons Why You Have A Leaking Tap

Dripping Water Stainless Fixture

Of course, the leading causes revolve around the washer and jumper valve or the O-ring; however, there are various ways these can cause problems. Here are a few of them:

  1. You have installed a tap washer with an incorrect size
  2. There’s a worn-out or broken washer
  3. The jumper valves are broken
  4. The tap seat or valve seat is corroded
  5. The O-ring has come loose or worn out

Additionally, it is vital to know the type and materials of the parts in your leaky tap – it can either have rubber or ceramic parts. If your tap bonnet can be turned by ¼ or ½, it likely has a ceramic disc sealant. However, if you can turn the tap bonnet further than ½, it has a rubber disc.

How To Fix A Leaky Tap

Water Leaking Mixer Tap

Tools You Will Need

  • Spanner or wrench
  • Jumper valve
  • Screwdriver
  • Washers with the correct size
  • Pliers
  • Gaffer tape
  • Tweezers
  • A leaking tap repair kit
  • Rags or a cloth

Step 1: Identify The Problem

As previously mentioned, identifying the problem is as important as fixing the tap mechanism. You must change the washer attached to the jumper valve. However, if there is leaking water around the base or stem of the tap spanner, then you have a case of a faulty O-ring. But if you still find it challenging to identify the problem, you can address the washer and O-ring issues to fix a dripping tap.

Step 2: Prepare The Leaking Tap

Before you start fixing the taps, you must take a few steps to prepare them so that it doesn’t make the process difficult.

First, shut off the water supply so you don’t have to face a gushing shower when you take the body washer off. However, turning off the water supply in your sink or supply pipe won’t work; you must turn it off from the mains. As a thumb rule, a house usually has water mains near the front yard, while apartments have their water meter in the laundry or bathroom.

Secondly, you must turn on the leaking tap after shutting off the water supply to drain the remaining water from the drain pipes. If you want to take extra precautions during the leakage repair and are worried about any hidden water flow, turn on a tap at a lower level to drain the entire supply.

Step 3: Plug Your Sink/Drain

Plugging your sink or bathroom drain while fixing a leaking tap is essential, and many people forget this step. Doing this will ensure that no components don’t fall down the drain, which can otherwise make you waste precious time hunting for them. If you lose anything down the drain pipe, you might have to plunge it out from the other side of the drain.

Step 4: Remove The Tap Button

You’ll need to unscrew the button that holds the tap handle in place to remove it completely. They are usually found on top of the tap where it says ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. If you find it difficult to remove it by hand, consider using a screwdriver.

Screw Tap Fitting

Step 5: Remove The Taps Skirt Or Cover

After removing the button, use a wrench or spanner to remove the cover plate or skirt. It usually comes off easily, but it might not be easy if there’s added adhesive. In this case, using a pair of needle nose pliers can be beneficial, but remember to wrap it up with gaffer or Teflon tape to avoid scratching the tap.

Step 6: Replace The Old Washer

Removing the tap skirt and bonnet will expose the washer and jumper valve underneath the tap stem. If you can’t find the jumper valve, check if you’ve pulled it out with the tap bonnet. After finding it, take a pair of tweezers and carefully remove the combined washed and jumper valve–be gentle to ensure you don’t damage it further.

Take out the washer and carry it to your local hardware store to find a fitting replacement that matches your tap. You can either replace the jumper valve (the white component with a rounded head) or the washer (the rubber band attached to the valve). However, it is recommended to change both simultaneously to prevent an accidental mismatch.

Additionally, if your tap skirt is covered in mould and rust, consider purchasing a skirt sealant that you can use during the tap reinstatement. This way, you can prevent further damage to the tap skirt and mixer taps due to hard water.

Step 7: Replace The O-Ring

Find the taps stem and loosen the O-ring from its body or shaft. Purchase a matching O-ring with the exact proportions and simply roll it onto the stem and towards the base of the tap handle.

Step 7: Reinstate The Tap

Once you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time to put the tap back together correctly. Screw the stem, tap the bonnet over the washer and jumper valve, and tighten it with a wrench. Put all the components back together the same way you dismantled them. However, don’t put the tap lubricant or skirt sealant on it before testing if you’ve done a proper job.

Step 8: Turn On The Water Supply

Now that you’ve fixed (hopefully) the leaking tap, it’s time to turn on the main water supply. Before doing this, ensure you ultimately turn off the tap to avoid flooding and getting wet. However, don’t turn off the tap too tightly since extra pressure can break the washer, and you’ll have to start all over again.

Step 9: Testing The Tap

Testing your work is very important, especially with plumbing problems, to check if you need to fix anything else. To test your tap, turn it on, look for leaks from all tap components, and take your time. Sometimes, it so happens that you can find a leak after a few days of your fixing attempt, so don’t put the tools back on the shelf immediately!

Once you’re sure it’s completely fixed, remove the skirt and tap handle, and apply some silicone sealant on the skirt base to prevent corrosion. Ensure you have toilet paper at hand since silicone tends to get messy if not correctly applied.

Tap Leaks Due To Worn-Out Valve Seats

If the leak persists, there may be a high chance that you have a worn valve seat. In this case, follow this process:

Since valve seats are usually worn out due to accumulating debris, like mineral deposits or calcium build-up that sticks to the surface and contaminates it, you need to replace them entirely. Get a valve seat from the hardware store, remove the old one with a seat wrench and replace it with a new valve seat. Ensure you use the same seat wrench during the replacement.

While addressing the valve seat issue, try removing accumulated dirt and debris from the tap components using rags and special solutions you can find in local stores.

Drying Up The Drip: Fixing A Leaky Tap

That’s all on our guide on how to fix a leaking tap! Keep in mind that more complicated problems like damaged valve seats, broken drain pipes, or water pressure issues require the services of a professional plumber. You can also call a plumber if you haven’t been able to fix the washer or O-ring and don’t know how to proceed.

At Big Blue Plumbing, we offer a wide range of services–from hot water system repairs to blocked drains and tap repairs – from the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Moreton Bay regions. Our highly trained and qualified plumbing team is equipped to tackle all types of leaking taps, making us one of the most reliable companies in South East Queensland! Call us today to book your appointment.

24/7 Emergency Service Near You.

Get a fast response, call us now:

(07) 5404 9354
Man on Phone

Let’s Connect

Fill in the form below, one of our customer-support team will be with you shortly.

See What People Are Saying

With over 3 reviews and counting, it’s clear to see that our customers love us.

True Local
Product Review
Call Now!