Leaking taps are both annoying and expensive. In fact, a leaking tap is probably wasting more water than you think! Just ten drips per minute can waste up to five litres of water each day – multiply that by the number of days you ignore the drip, and you have hundreds of litres in wasted water to pay for when your next bill arrives.
Why do Taps Leak?
Caused by damaged parts, improper installation or just regular wear and tear, leaking taps are a common household plumbing issue. Some of the most frequent calls our plumbers receive are from those seeking repairs for a leaking tap. Luckily, these are generally a routine fix for any licensed and qualified plumber.
How to Identify a Leaking Tap
Aside from the obvious visual evidence of a dripping tap; if you suspect a leak in your home, there are a few other things you can keep an eye (and ear!) out for.
The first is a dripping sound – while a leaking tap can easily go unnoticed in a busy household during the day, at night it might be more apparent. Listen out for the distinctive “drip… drip… drip”.
The next place to look is your water meter. Ensure your taps, showers, toilets and washing machine are all switched off – then check your water meter (in most Australian homes, you’ll find this in the front yard). If the meter is still ticking once everything has been switched off, even if only very slowly, it’s likely that you have a leak.
Another indication of a leak is a high water bill. You’ll need to compare at least two bills. Look at your water usage: if your daily household water use has not drastically changed across the two periods, but the two amounts are noticeably different, you could potentially have a leak.
What Should You?
If there is a significant difference between water bills, the issue could be much larger than a leaking tap. If you’re sure that your taps are not leaking but your water bill reflects a change, it is highly possible that there is a leak elsewhere on your property. It could be a leaking toilet, a leak in the pipework, or even under the house. In this case, we recommend you contact a licensed plumber immediately, to professionally diagnose the problem.
If you determine that your inflated bill is all thanks to the leaking tap in your kitchen or bathroom, it’s best to act quickly and have it repaired – either by yourself or a professional plumber. If you’re keen to tackle the task yourself, here are some valuable DIY tips for fixing a leaking tap.
To fix a leaking tap, you’ll need the following:
- Penetrating oil, such as WD-40 or CRC
- Replacement new washer and O-ring
- Flat Head or Phillips screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench or C- wrench
Once you’ve gathered the essential tools, follow the steps below:
- Step #1: Before you bring a screwdriver anywhere near your tap – switch off the main water supply, then turn on the tap you are working with to let any remaining water run out.
- Step #2: Next, take the cover off the tap – a little bit of work with a flat head screwdriver should take care of it. Under each knob, you’ll find a screw that fixes the handle to the spindle. Unscrew this, and then gently remove the handle (you can use penetrating oil to help loosen it).
- Step #3: If your tap has a metal cover, unscrew it (either by hand or with your wrench). Next, use the wrench to unscrew the tap bonnet and completely remove the headgear. From this point, you should be able to see the large body washer, o-ring and jumper valve. The jumper valve should fall out.
- Step #4: If everything looks OK so far – check the O-ring and body washer, as they could be the cause of the leak. If you are replacing the washer and O-ring, it is vital to ensure the replacement part is a perfect fit.
- Step #5: Now, carefully reassemble all the parts and refit the bonnet and spindle. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts. Turn the main water supply back on and gradually turn the knob to test the running water, checking to see whether your efforts have now fixed the leak.
If you find that the tap is still leaking after all your hard work, then the cause could be oxidisation (i.e. rust) in your tap seat. Over time, this can cause a leak if not attended to. Other likely problems include: exhausted seals, loose parts, or damaged plumbing. If you suspect one of these issues to be the true culprit, it may be time to get in touch with a professional plumber.
Leave it to the Professionals
While there are many DIY guides for fixing your leaking taps available online, we believe plumbing should always be left to the professionals. Instead of wasting your time, money and energy attempting a DIY repair (and compromising the plumbing in your home in the process) we strongly recommend picking up the phone and contacting your local licensed plumber.
We Can Help
At Service Today, we can help with any leaking tap issue; big or small. Whether your taps need to be repaired, serviced, or you think it’s time for an upgrade – we can help! If you suspect a leak anywhere in your home, call Service Today anytime on 1300 859 383 and make a quick appointment with one of our licensed plumbers today, or book any plumbing service online. Remember, our expert plumbers are available 24/7! A simple, professional repair or replacement of your taps is sure to save you money and stress in the long run.