It could be the noise or the fact that water still continues to drip out after you have closed the tap, but eventually we all end up noticing a leaky faucet.

There are a number of reasons why your tap is leaking. A cartridge or washer, which regulates the flow and temperature of water in the tap, may be damaged. A problem with the pipes, a damaged valve seat or excess water pressure are other common causes. Some types of taps are also more prone to leaking than others.

Whatever the reason, there is a way to deal with the problem. Calling a plumber is the safest and most effective solution, it is also necessary if the problem is in the pipes or more complex area of plumbing.

However, the most common cause is a damaged or worn done cartridge or washer. Therefore, most leaky faucets, depending on the tap, need either a new internal rubber seal/ washer or new cartridge.

Fixing Your Leaky Faucet


  • A slot or cross-head screwdriver
  • An adjustable spanner
  • Assorted washers or replacement cartridge

Traditional Taps

Your most common, traditional tap will need a replacement washer. Make sure you have your tools ready and switch off your water supply before you attempt to fix the leak. The water supply can be turned off at the stop cock or isolation valve, which are found below the sink. Release any water stuck in the pipes by opening the tap and letting it run dry.

Once this is done, place your plug in the drain to prevent any parts of the tap from falling down the plug hole. Then find the screw that keeps the handle on the tap. It is normally located under the hot or cold symbols, or decorative cap on the top of the tap. Remove the cap and unscrew the handle from the tap. Remove the handle and any metal coverings from the tap to reveal a brass spindle/ valve. Unscrew the central hexagonal nut off the spindle by using your adjustable spanner and bracing the tap spout with your other hand. This will reveal the top and bottom washer. Use the old washers as a template to match new washers to your tap. Fit the washers to the spindle and reassemble the tap. Turn the water supply back on once you are happy that the tap is back in working order.

Monoblock Lever Taps

You will need to use the same process when dealing with a monoblock lever tap. However, there are small changes to the process because of the tap’s design. Firstly, you will not be replacing washers, but rather a cartridge. Secondly, the screw that has to be undone to remove the head of the tap is a tiny grub screw underneath the hot or cold indicator button.

Additional Pointers

This process should not take you more than an hour, however, it may take longer if the tap is old and corroded. The leak must come from the tap spout, otherwise this process will not stop the leak. If the leak is more coming from the main body of the tap, then there is a problem with the pipes. The only way to stop this leak is to switch off the valves and cut the water supply before you call a plumber. A small leak still wastes hundreds of litres of water and should be repaired immediately to conserve water.

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