How to Fix a Leaking Tap

How to Fix a Leaking Tap

If you find that your tap leaks or refuses to close properly, the most common reasons behind these issues are easy to fix. You only need a few tools, and you can even do these repairs without a plumber’s license in Australia.

But before you try to fix the issue, understanding the reason behind the leak is crucial. Then, you can address the issue or immediately spot if you need to call a plumber instead.

In this blog, we’ll explore why taps drip, and we’ll give you a guide on how to fix a leaking tap.

Why Does Your Tap Leak?

Knowing the cause behind a leak can let you know which steps to take to fix it. If the issue comes from a problem with your plumbing system or its installation, you need a plumber to take care of it. For instance, if your pipes have cracks, that can affect the seal of the tap and cause it to leak. However, Australian law doesn’t allow you to fix that. Therefore, you would need a plumber.

Nevertheless, you can legally fix the two other common issues that cause leaky taps. These leaks usually happen because grime or sediment clogs your tap. Alternatively, there might be wear and tear which can damage these components:

  • Washer: A washer is the most likely issue you’ll have in your tap. It may have damage that keeps your tap from functioning correctly.
  • O-Ring: This seal can wear down over time or split if it’s the incorrect size. Additionally, a poor seal will allow water to pass between the parts of your tap, making it leak.
  • Jumper Valve: If your tap’s jumper valve is damaged, your tap will leak.

The Tools Required to Fix Leaking a Tap

The Tools Required to Fix Leaking a Tap

If you wish to repair your tap, you’ll need to gather these tools:

  • Shifting Wrench/Spanners
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Gaffer Tape
  • Rag

Then, if you’re going to clean your tap parts, you should use vinegar. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy replacements for the broken parts.

How to Fix a Dripping Tap

How to Fix a Dripping Tap

To repair your tap, you’ll need to take it apart. This allows you to pinpoint the issue whether it was an issue with grime, sediment, or wear and tear. Plus, if the issue is an installation of the tap parts, going through the following steps can resolve the problem.

  • Turn off the Water Supply

You’ll begin the process of repairing your tap by turning off the water. This will prevent a mess as you work on the tap.

Usually, you’ll find the switch that controls your water supply at the front of your house, near your water meter. However, apartment dwellers might find it in the bathroom or laundry room. Alternatively, there might be a switch that turns off only this specific tap inside the vanity.

  • Empty the Tap

Now that you’ve shut off the water, you should remove the remaining water that’s in the tap. Otherwise, you will have a spill as you repair the leaking tap.

If you find that the tap doesn’t stop running, the water supply isn’t shut off properly. If, after shutting it off again, it doesn’t work, you should call a plumber.

  • Uninstall the Tap Handle

After emptying the tap, you can remove the parts, starting with the handle. If there’s a button, you’ll need to remove it with a screwdriver or wrench/spanner. Then, you’ll use the screwdriver to remove the handle, which will expose the next parts you’ll uninstall. Besides, you can use the rag to wipe it away if there’s a spill.

  • Uninstall the Shroud/Skirt

Now that you’ve exposed the parts of the tap, you should remove the shroud/skirt if your tap has one. To remove it, you can use pliers or a wrench and increase your grip by using gaffer tape.

  • Uninstall the Bonnet

Once you’ve removed the shroud/skirt, you should remove the bonnet to fix the dripping tap. This is the body of the tap. You can unscrew it, which will reveal other parts.

  • Uninstall the Jumper Valve, Washer and O-Ring

After you’ve revealed the parts beneath the bonnet, you should remove the jumper valve and washer. If you need a tool, you can use needle-sized pliers. Then, you can pick up the o-ring.

  • Clean Your Tap Parts

If your problem is a build-up of grime or sediment, you should clean the parts with half vinegar and half water solution for a few hours and use a toothbrush or toothpick. Then, you can jump to the ‘Reinstall Your Tap’ step.

  • Buy Replacements Parts

Now that you’ve fully uninstalled the tap parts, you need to replace the broken ones. In particular, it’s likely that you need to replace the washer, jumper valve, seal, or o-ring. Therefore, you should replace them with identical ones. Furthermore, if your tap had a skirt, buy silicone to reseal it.

While you could replace only the ones you see are clearly broken, you could also replace all of them and increase the time between repairs. In addition, if there’s a small problem or one you can’t identify as an amateur, this can fix it. Plus, this avoids a second trip to buy another part.

  • Reinstall Your Tap

You can reinstall your tap after you’ve bought your replacement parts or cleaned your current ones. So, you should grease and then screw on your new washer, jumper valve, and o-ring. Then, screw on the bonnet and tighten it with a wrench. Next, you should add the shroud/skirt, but don’t seal it.

  • Test Your Tap

Finally, you can test your tap after you have reinstalled it. To do so, you’ll close the tap, turn on the water, and then turn it back on. Now, you should check if it leaks. If it no longer leaks, you can uninstall the shroud/skirt, seal it with silicon, and then reinstall it. You’re done!

However, if it still leaks, you should replace all the parts you didn’t replace previously. Then check it. If that didn’t fix the leak, it’s possible that the original parts didn’t fit the tap, or there might be a problem further down in the plumbing system. Then, you’ll need a plumber to fix it properly.


You’ve seen that understanding how to fix a leaking tap is quite straightforward. In Australia, you can uninstall your tap up to the jumper valve and washer, which are the most common faulty parts, along with the O-ring. You can also clean them if they’re dirty or there’s sediment build up. But if you find that it still leaks, let a plumber resolve your dripping tap.


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