Tap leaks can be frustrating! And if you don’t fix your leaking taps at the right time, they can cause water damage around your home.
Taps leaking is an issue that many Australian residents face throughout the year. However, most are not aware of the real causes of their taps leak.
Believe it or not, even a minor leak can waste up to 18 litres daily and ramp up your water bills. That is why it’s imperative to know the causes of a leaking tap and learn how to fix it.
This article has compiled a list of some of the leading causes of a leaking tap. Plus, we have included a step-by-step guide on fixing leaky taps so that you don’t have to hire a professional and spend hundreds of dollars to get them fixed. You can even get your materials from your local hardware store.
Now, let’s get straight to the good stuff without further delay.
Top 6 Causes Why Your New Tap Is Leaking
Here is a list of the main causes that are making your new tap leak:
1. Damaged Valve Seat
A damaged valve seat is one of the most common causes of a leaking tap. If you notice the water leaking from the spout, it indicates something wrong with the valve seat.
With time, the valve seat becomes weak due to corrosion caused by the build-up of sediments. To avoid a leaky faucet, ensure you clean the valve seat regularly.
2. Worn-Out O-Ring
If you get water flowing or oozing out between the tap body and spindle or from under the cover plate when the tap is turned on, it’s most likely the O-ring that must be replaced.
The O-ring is a tiny disc connected to the stem screw that keeps the tap’s handle in place. With time, it can get loose or worn out. So, if the leaky tap appears to originate from the tap’s grip, it’s most likely because of a worn-out o-ring.
3. Water Pressure
If you have an issue with a dripping tap only when you move its handle a certain way, your home’s inconsistent water pressure, particularly excessive water pressure, is causing your leaking taps and their constant drip.
4. Damaged Washers
Another common cause of a leaking tap that many people don’t know about is damaged washers. The washer rests against the valve seat, and with time, the constant friction between the tap washer and your valve can wear it out and eventually damage it. Also, a washer that is not installed correctly can lead to leakage in the tap.
5. Broken Cartridge
If you have opted for a cartridge-style tap, ensure the cartridge is not broken or worn out. You’ve been sold a damaged cartridge if you notice leaky taps within the first few weeks of buying it. Hence, you must contact the seller and replace it with a matching cartridge.
How To Fix Your Leaking Tap
Why spend hundreds of dollars hiring a professional when you can fix a leaky tap yourself? This section explains how to fix your new leaking tap in just a few steps.
1. Shut Off The Water Supply
First, you must shut off the water supply; otherwise, you may flood the entire house. Look for the shutoff valves under the sink, and make sure you turn its handle clockwise.
If your leaky tap doesn’t have the shutoff valve, you must deactivate the main water supply. To ensure the supply has been turned off, rotate your leaky tap clockwise and check if water is coming out. Let all the residual water drain out. If you don’t see any water coming out - check that there is no more water in the pipes for cold or hot water - you have successfully turned off the supply, and you’re set to work on your leaky tap.
2. Remove The Tap Handle
Next, you have to disassemble the handles of your leaking tap. To do so, consider using a flathead screwdriver to detach the caps on top of the handle. This will reveal the handle screws, which you must unscrew to remove the handles.
3. Unscrew The Valve Stem
After removing the tap handle of your dripping taps, you can see the cartridge or the inner valve stem. Now, you have to remove these as well. While cartridge taps can be easily pulled out, compression taps feature a brass valve stem that you need to unscrew.
We highly suggest looking at the manual or searching for instructions online if you face problems removing it. Taps can come in various types, like traditional taps, ball-type taps, compression taps, cartridge taps, etc.
4. Check All The Parts Carefully
Now, you need to carefully check all the parts (tap handles, jumper valve and the washer attached to its base, metal ball, etc.) to find out what you need to replace to fix the leaking tap. You may need to place a new body washer.
5. Replace The Broken Parts
If you see any parts broken or worn out, replace them. You will find all the important parts in your local hardware shop.
To ensure you get the right parts, carrying your old ones to the hardware store and asking for their duplicates is best.
6. Clean The Valves
You must clean the valves after removing the cartridge or the stem. Even if your tap is new, there is some mineral build-up. So, make sure that you clean it.
We’d strongly recommend pouring white vinegar on the valve and allowing it to soak for at least 5 minutes. Once it has completely soaked, scrub it away. Also, don’t forget to clean the other parts of the sink to restore their shine.
7. Reassemble The Tap
After cleaning and replacing the parts, assemble the tap and switch on the water supply to check for leaks. If you don’t see any leak, you have repaired the leaking tap. Otherwise, you might need to get in touch with a professional.
4 Common Types Of Taps
Knowing the common taps will allow you to detach and fix them easily.
1. Cartridge Taps
Cartridge taps are one of the most common types of taps out there. These are called cartridge taps because they have cartridges that allow you to control the temperature and water flow. They sport two handles placed on the side of the spout and are used mainly in bathrooms.
2. Ball Taps
Regarding ball taps, they are generally used in kitchens and boast a single handle mounted on the spout. You need to move them left or right to tweak the water temperature and up or down to adjust the pressure.
3. Disc Taps
Disc taps are relatively new on the market and a tad more expensive than the other options on this list. They are highly durable and long-lasting.
4. Washer Taps
Even though washer taps are one of the oldest types on the market, they are still used today.
These taps come with two handles that move only from one side to the other. With a washer tap, you can feel its handle getting tighter when you turn it off.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now, let us look at some of the frequently asked questions.
1. Can limescale cause leakage in a tap?
Limescale build-up often tends to prevent the tap from turning off completely, and when it comes in between the faucet’s body and the seal, it can cause leakage. So, if you have a limescale build-up around your tap, clean it with a hard brush and a limescale remover to prevent leakage.
2. How much water can a leaking tap waste?
On average, a leaking tap can waste up to 5 gallons of water daily and a whopping 2,082 gallons yearly.
3. What are some of the best brands for taps in Australia?
Some of the most popular tapware brands in Australia are:
Fixing Your New Leaking Tap
Tap drips, even newly installed, if not installed properly. Or it can be caused by a broken washer and jumper valve. Whatever the cause, a leaking tap (garden tap, shower taps, kitchen taps, etc.) is something no homeowner wants to deal with. Despite its harmless presence, it can lead to severe water damage in a home.
On that note, we have reached the end of this informative guide. Hopefully, you can now understand why your new tap is leaking and take the necessary fixations.
Before we sign off, we have one last piece of advice: if the leak is serious, don’t try to fix it yourself; hire a professional and licensed plumber. Call your trusted local plumber to perform a proper job. They can handle this and other pipe issues better and provide you with great service and with the right tools.
Contact a licensed plumber if you need help with more than a new leaking tap, like a leaking hot water tank. We provide hot water system services and can get your hot water systems working as they should. Request a quote or book a service call for the professional service we offer.
With that, let’s call it a day. Until next time, bye!