How to Fix a Leaking Tap

How to Fix a Leaking Tap

A dripping tap can not only be irritating but, left unchecked, it can also waste water. Luckily, it’s usually a simple fix that you can do yourself.

Remember to turn off the water supply before starting work, so as not to cause unnecessary damage. You’ll also need some basic tools, like a wrench and a screwdriver, and you can rely on Nashville plumbers.

Check for a loose washer or seal

Leaking taps can be very annoying and waste a lot of water. It can also be expensive if you are on a metered supply. Replacing the washer or seal is often all that is needed to stop the leaking. These are easy to get from most DIY and plumbing stores.

Before you start to take apart your tap turn off the water supply by closing the isolation valve underneath or turning off the mains water at the meter. If you do this before starting the project it will prevent you from losing screws or other tap components down your sink drain or flooding your home. It’s a good idea to place a plug in your sink to avoid damaging the surface if you drop something. Also use an old towel or cloth to prevent any water spillage.

Replace the valve seat

The valve seat inside a tap can become worn over time. Limescale and other debris can scratch the surface, causing it to lose its ability to make a tight seal. Regrinding the valve seat is a simple job that can be carried out using a reseating tool. These are available from most DIY stores or plumbers merchants.

First, turn off the water supply. You will need to do this before you can remove the handle or head. Once the water is off, open the indicator cover and locate the screw which holds it in place – usually hidden under a little recess. Use a screwdriver to prise it off, being careful not to damage it.

If the screw is stuck or difficult to unscrew, spray the area with lubricant and try again. Once the screw is free, you can unscrew the head or handle. When you have removed it, check the valve seat for scratches or pits that will need grinding away.

Replace the nut packing

If water leaks around the handle when your tap is running, this may indicate that the packing nut is leaking. This nut is used to create a seal and can be accessed through the hole below the stem. You can replace this nut easily by first loosening it and wrapping the stem with string-like packing material, then tightening it. If you have trouble tightening this nut, try rubbing the threaded stem and nut with petroleum jelly.

The next step is to shut off the water supply (you may need to turn off the water to your whole house). You can then remove the handle and screw and unscrew the nut that holds the packing washer in place.

If the nut won’t come off, you can try using a center punch and a hammer to lightly tap it. You can also try applying heat. The metal expands slightly when it gets hot, so this can sometimes help to break the nut loose.


Dripping taps can be annoying and, if left, they can cause water damage and lead to mould. Fortunately, a dripping tap is often easily fixed with a few simple tools and without the need to call in professional plumbers.

To start, locate the isolation valve often found on the pipes underneath your sink and turn it off. You’ll also want to drain your sink to prevent the loss of any small parts as you work.

Next, remove the tap handle and decorative parts using a screwdriver or wrench. This will allow you to access the cartridge, ceramic disc or the spout O-ring. Once you’ve removed the tap components, examine each of them for wear and tear. Replace any damaged parts, then reassemble your tap. Once reassembled, turn your water back on and test it to ensure that it is no longer leaking. It might take a few minutes for the water to fully fill, but hopefully that pesky drip will be gone for good.