How to Fix a Leaking Tap 

Leaking taps might seem minor, but they signify bigger issues like water waste. How to Fix a Leaking Tap shows you can address this to save water and prevent damage to your home’s infrastructure. Addressing a leaky tap promptly not only contributes to environmental conservation but also helps in maintaining a healthy water bill.

Fortunately, a leaky tap is often something you can fix without needing to call the professionals. Read on to discover everything you need to know about leaking tap repair.

- How to Fix a Leaking Tap
- Low Flow Tap

Identifying a Leaking Tap

Detecting a tap leak often begins with the simplest method: observation. Look closely at the tap when it’s turned off; water drips or a constant trickle are clear signs of a leak. Inspect the surrounding area for water damage or corrosion, indicating a slow, persistent leak.

Additionally, quiet moments are perfect for auditory detection. Listen for the tell-tale sound of dripping water even when the tap appears off. This sound can often lead you to a leak’s source when visual cues are minimal. These initial steps are crucial in identifying the need for leaky tap repair or replacement.

Dripping Tap Repair Tools and Materials

Embarking on leaky tap repair requires gathering the right tools and materials. Essential items include an adjustable wrench, a set of screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat-head), and pliers. These tools will help you dismantle and reassemble the tap mechanism effectively.

Additionally, ensure you have the specific parts needed for replacement, such as O-rings and washers, which are commonly worn out and cause leaks. It’s also wise to have plumber’s tape and grease on hand to seal connections and lubricate moving parts, ensuring smooth operation post-repair.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fix Leaking Tap

Compression Taps

  • Turn Off Water Supply: Start by shutting off the water supply to the Tap. This is usually done by turning the valves under the sink clockwise. Open the Tap to drain any remaining water and relieve pressure.
  • Disassemble the Tap: Remove the tap handle by loosening the screw at its base, often hidden under a decorative cap. Use a wrench to unscrew the packing nut, revealing the stem. Remove the stem to access the washer.
  • Replace Faulty Parts: Inspect the washer seated at the bottom of the stem. If it’s worn or damaged, replace it with a new one of the exact size and shape. Also, check the O-ring around the stem and replace if necessary.
  • Reassembly: After replacing the faulty parts, reassemble the tap in the reverse order. Apply plumber’s grease to the stem threads and O-ring for smoother operation. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks.

Washerless Taps (Ceramic, Ball, Cartridge, and Disk)

  • Disassemble the Tap: The disassembly process varies by type. Generally, remove the handle and unscrew the cap or collar to access the tap mechanism. For ball taps, you may need a special tool to remove the cam and ball.
  • Replace Faulty Parts: Inspect the internal parts for signs of wear or damage. For cartridge or disk taps, you may need to replace the entire cartridge or disk assembly. In ball taps, replace the O-rings, seals, and the ball if damaged.
  • Reassembly: Once the faulty parts are replaced, reassemble the tap. Be cautious with the alignment of parts, especially in cartridge and disk taps. Apply plumber’s grease where applicable. Turn on the water supply and test for leaks.

When to Call a Professional for Leaking Tap Repairs

While fixing a leaky tap can often be a straightforward DIY project, there are situations where calling in a professional plumber becomes the smarter choice. If you encounter complex issues like multiple leaks, signs of significant water damage, or if the repair involves replacing large sections of your plumbing, it’s time to consult with the experts. 

Mr Drains offers a comprehensive range of plumbing services, backed by years of experience and a commitment to quality. Our skilled team is equipped to handle any plumbing challenge, ensuring that your tap repair or any other plumbing need is addressed efficiently and effectively. Book an appointment with us via our online form or call our friendly team on 02 7910 0451.


Can I fix a leaky tap myself?

Yes, many leaky taps can be fixed with basic tools and a bit of DIY knowledge, particularly if it’s a simple issue like a worn washer or O-ring.

How do I know if my tap needs a new washer or O-ring?

If your tap is dripping or leaking, it often indicates that the washer or O-ring has worn out and needs replacing.

What should I do if the leak doesn’t stop after I’ve replaced the washer?

If the leak persists, it may be due to a more complex issue, and you should consider consulting a professional plumber like Mr Drains.

How often should I check my taps for leaks?

It’s a good practice to check your taps for leaks or damage every few months to prevent water waste and potential water damage.

Can a leaking tap significantly increase my water bill?

Yes, even a small, steady drip can waste a significant amount of water over time, leading to an increase in your water bill.

For more information on water quality and services that might affect your plumbing, visit Sydney Water.