Tap leaks can be frustrating, and if not fixed 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 of water per day 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.
In this article, we have 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.
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 that the water is leaking from the spout, it is an indication that there’s something wrong with the valve seat.
With time, the valve seat becomes weak due to corrosion caused by the buildup of sediments. To avoid this, ensure you clean the valve seat regularly.
2. Worn-Out O-Ring
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 leak appears to be originating 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 is causing its 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 two parts 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 that the cartridge is not broken or worn out. If you notice leaky taps within the first few weeks of buying it, you’ve been sold a damaged cartridge. Hence, you need to 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 it yourself? This section explains how you can fix your new leaking tap in just a few steps.
1. Shut Off The Water Supply
First and foremost, you need to 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 tap doesn’t have the shutoff valve, you need to deactivate the main water supply. To be sure that the supply has been turned off, rotate your tap clockwise and check if water is coming out or not. If you don’t see any water coming out, you have successfully turned off the supply.
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 placed on the 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, you’ll be able to 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.
4. Check All The Parts Carefully
Now, you need to check all the parts carefully to find out what you need to replace to fix the leaking tap.
5. Replace The Broken Parts
If you see any parts broken or worn out, go ahead and replace them. You will find all the important parts in your local hardware shop.
To ensure that you get the right parts, it is best to carry your old ones to the hardware store and ask for their duplicates.
6. Clean The Valves
You must clean the valves once you have removed the cartridge or the stem. Even if your tap is new, there is some mineral buildup. 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 if there’s any leak. 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
As far as ball taps are concerned, they are generally used in kitchens and boast a single handle mounted on the spout. To use them, 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’ll be able to 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 buildup often tends to prevent the tap from turning off completely, and when it comes in between the body of the faucet and the seal, it can cause leakage. So, if you have a limescale buildup 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 per day and a whopping 2,082 gallons a year.
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
A leaking tap 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 for you: if the leak is serious, don’t try to fix it yourself; hire a professional. Call your trusted local plumber. With that, let’s call it a day.
Until next time, bye!