Emergency Plumbing | How to Fix a Leaking Tap

Emergency Plumbing | How to Fix a Leaking Tap

Nothing can be more annoying than the constant drip-drip-drip of a leaking tap. As an emergency plumbing company servicing in Birmingham and the wider UK for over 10 years, we’ve seen our fair share of dripping taps. Believe me when we say – it’s an issue you’ll want to get on top of quickly before it leads to bigger problems down the track. 

Not only is that persistently dripping tap noisy enough to drive you crazy, it can also waste literally thousands of gallons of water in your home every year. All that water dripping down the drain equals higher utility bills too. Even more serious – a leak left unchecked can cause water damage, mould issues and deterioration in your home’s pipe infrastructure. 

So, We’ll walk you through a DIY approach to fix a leaking tap and stop the drip for good.

Emergency Plumbing | How to Fix a Leaking Tap

What’s Causing the Leak?

Before you can stop that blasted dripping tap, you need to get to the root of what’s causing the drip in the first place. From our experience across hundreds of homes in Birmingham, Solihull, and the West Midlands, here are the most common reasons taps start to leak:

  • Worn washers – Over time and repeated use, the washers inside cylinder taps wear away, leading to drips and leaks. Replacing these is a quick DIY job to repair leaking taps.
  • Faulty valves/seals – More modern tap fixtures rely on rubber valves and seals to control water flow. If these degrade or get dislodged, leaks can develop. 
  • Mineral build-up – Over time, mineral deposits from hard water can collect inside the faucet mechanism leading it to become stiff, less efficient and prone to dripping.
  • Loose/damaged parts – If fittings have come loose or parts have become damaged over time e.g stem, handle, hoses, this can disturb the delicate tap mechanism leading to leaks.

Before attempting to stop that faucet from dripping, inspect the tap first to diagnose where the leak is coming from. This will guide you in how to repair that leaking tap most effectively.

Step-By-Step Guide to Repair a Leaking Tap

With the right tools and handy DIY approach, repairing leaking taps is often much easier than you might think. Follow our step-by-step instructions and you can likely fix that dripping tap in less than 30 minutes:

  • Turn off the water supply 

Before tackling a leaking tap repair job, always turn off the water supply firstly to avoid a messy situation later! Locate the shut-off valve below the sink or near the water metre and turn it clockwise to shut off the water. 

If there are no shut-off valves, you’ll need to turn off the main water supply to the property. Useful tip: open nearby taps to drain any residual water in the pipes while completing your leaky tap repair job.

  • Dismantle the tap

Now it’s time to take the troublesome tap apart! Using an adjustable wrench or pliers grip the flattened edges on the crimp ring (located around the body of the tap). Twist it counter-clockwise and it should loosen so you can unscrew it fully. 

Place any small parts like washers and seals carefully aside so you can inspect if they need replacing. Use a towel to catch any excess water still draining from pipework too.

  • Clean & inspect internal components

Check the faucet interior and all disassembled components for any dirt, debris, mineral deposits, damage or wear-and-tear issues. Clean out any gunk with white vinegar then rinse thoroughly.

Examine parts like washers and seals for cracks or warping. If they seem intact, they may be reusable. However replacements are inexpensive from hardware stores to ensure optimal performance.

  • Make any necessary replacements

If inspecting the faucet interior reveals any severely damaged, cracked or warped parts like washers or valves, these will need replacing. Most common is to replace faulty flat tap washers or O-ring seals which only costs a few pounds.

Make sure any replacement parts match the faucet make and model. Additionally, apply a thin application of plumber’s grease to any seals/washers before re-installing. This lubricates the parts for smooth turning motion.

  • Re-assemble the tap

Once cleaned, inspected and replaced any faulty parts, it’s time to reassemble your tap. Replace all components in reverse order from when dismantling. Fasten parts gently but firmly e.g control valves, seals, washers and tubing. 

The final step is to screw the crimp ring or retaining nut back into place by hand until tight. Then use your wrench/pliers to tighten it further for a water-tight join. Don’t over-crank it though!

  • Turn water back on

The moment of truth! Turn your water supply back on slowly then check above and below your newly repaired tap for any drips or leaks. If bone dry – congratulations you’ve successfully fixed that leaky tap! 

Give the tap a good run by turning it on and off several times to check it’s working well with no drips, leaks or stiffness. Enjoy that blessed silence as the annoying dripping noise will be banished!

Preventative Fixes for Tap Leaks

While we’ve walked you through the best DIY approach for how to repair a dripping tap, prevention is the best cure when it comes to plumbing issues. Here are my top tips for preventing damaging leaks in your taps long-term:

  • Install protective valves and insulated pipes to shield against freezing weather damage during Birmingham’s cold winters. Burst pipes lead to severe leakage and flood damage if not dealt with swiftly!
  • Consider investing in drip-free ceramic disc cartridge taps which are more durable and leak-resistant than old compression valve taps.
  • Flush your water taps through regularly to clear sediment and mineral buildup which can degrade seals over time.
  • Clean taps routinely with vinegar then rinse well which dissolves alkaline deposits and bacteria inside the faucet body.
  • Ensure any leaks, drips or strange noises from taps are inspected and repaired promptly before major issues arise from damaged plumbing.
  • Have your home’s pipes serviced by a professional plumber every 2 years as preventative maintenance to spot potential problems.

How ESBAH Emergency Plumbing Services Can Help

As you can see, repairing a leaking tap is a pretty straightforward DIY job following our step-by-step instructions. However if your dripping tap issue persists despite trying the fixes mentioned or you discover larger issues e.g worn washers, damaged valves or pipes, it’s wise calling in our ESBAH emergency plumber to fix it properly.

Here at ESBAH, we have a team of highly skilled, reliable emergency plumbers located across Birmingham, Solihull, and throughout the West Midlands. We offer 24/7 call-outs to services and swiftly fix all dripping and leaking tap issues on-the-spot plus provide tune-ups to prevent future problems.

With over 10 years serving UK homeowners, landlords and businesses, we have extensive experience accurately diagnosing and repairing the exact cause of any tap or plumbing troubles ranging from quick fixes like replacing washers or o-rings to fully replacing ageing taps causing leaks.

Our plumbers utilise only industry-leading power tools and quality brassware supplies for durable repairs that outlast shoddy parts available in hardware chains. Plus we offer competitive rates and long warranties for total peace of mind. 

To summon one of our professional emergency plumbers to fix your leaking or dripping tap issues today, don’t hesitate to contact us or use our online contact form. We service all areas across Birmingham, West Midlands, Solihull, and surrounding areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even public holidays.

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