How to: fix a dripping tap

G Magazine

Four easy steps to fixing a dripping tap.

Dripping tap

Credit: sxc.hu

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A dripping tap can waste 18,000 litres of water a year! Fixing it is very simple – all you need is a new washer, a shifting spanner, and a bit of know-how.

1. Turn off the water supply at the mains. If it’s the hot tap that is dripping, you can just turn off the tap at your hot water system. The dripping tap then needs to be turned on fully. Remove the tap handles. You might need a shifting spanner to remove the buttons if they are on tight. Then, remove the flange – the part between the tap and the wall – with your hands; you might need a multigrip tool if it’s on tight.

2. Undo the spindle – the inner part of the tap – and check that the body washer is intact. If it’s not, it needs to be replaced too. Then, remove the faulty washer (it looks a bit like a spinning top) and replace it with a new one from the hardware store. Screw the spindle back in and tighten it with a shifting spanner.

3. Before replacing the flange and the tap, you should check that there are no leaks. Temporarily screw the tap handle back on and turn off the tap, then turn the water mains back on and testing the tap. If there is a leak, turn off the mains again and repeat the previous steps.

4. Once confirming that there are no leaks, replace the flange, tap handle and tap buttons back the way they were. Tighten the buttons with a shifting spanner so they don’t fall off.