Repairing Your Tap

There’s no denying that compact appliances like coffee machines, microwaves, and waste disposal units (to name a few) do a lot to enhance your kitchen, but like all things faults can occur.

When this happens it can really put a dampener on your day, especially if it means you don’t get your morning cup of coffee! We’re going to look at the issues that affect the most commonly used compact appliance there is… the tap.

Before we begin it’s important to state that if at any point you’re not confident fixing your appliance, we recommend contacting a professional.

Common Tap Problems

There are a couple of issues that commonly arise with taps: dripping taps and leaking taps.

Dripping taps

This is a very common occurrence. It can happen to both new and old taps, but the good news is that it’s an easy fix.

Here’s how to repair a kitchen tap that won’t stop dripping.

Firstly, we need to prepare the tap and gain access to the tap body. Here’s how:

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Remove the tap head to reveal the washer. How you do this varies per design so consult your manual first.
  • Keep all parts located together – we advise placing these in a small resealable bag to ensure you don’t lose any.
  • Locate the tap’s washer and check if it is rubber or ceramic (rubber is the most common style).
  • At this point you may need to order a replacement if the washer is not a common style.

At this point you will either need to replace a ceramic disc valve or a rubber washer. If you need to replace a ceramic disc valve, follow these instructions:

  • Remove the tap handle. You will need to remove the handle cap to gain access to the handle screw. This will reveal the top of your valve.
  • If your tap has a valve cover this will need to be removed.
  • Using an adjustable spanner, grip the valve and turn to loosen.
  • Once unscrewed, remove the valve and replace with the new valve.
  • Reverse the process above to re-secure your tap.

If it’s a rubber washer that you need to replace, then follow these instructions:

  • Remove the handle cap if one is present.
  • Unscrew the handle screw.
  • Remove the handle.
  • If there is a shroud, remove this also. This should present the tap valve.
  • Unscrew the tap valve with an adjustable spanner.
  • Remove the valve from the tap seat.
  • Remove the washer and replace with your spare.
  • Reverse this process to re-secure your tap.

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Leaking taps

Now let’s look at why taps leak and what we can do to solve this.

This sounds similar to a dripping tap, but the difference is that the leak occurs at the base of the tap as opposed to the spout. If your kitchen tap is leaking then you’re constantly losing water, and potentially run the risk of damaging your surrounding work surfaces (if the leak spreads). A leaking tap occurs most often with bell-shaped models, so let’s look at how to fix these.

If the issue is with the tap seal (also known as the gland) then follow these instructions:

  • Keeping the tap turned off, remove the screw that secures the capstan handle.
  • Remove the handle. Note that if there is no screw the handle can be pulled off gently.
  • Remove your bell-shaped cover from the tap.
  • This should reveal the gland nut. Tighten this by twisting a half turn.
  • Replace the handle and turn the tap on.
  • If there is still a leak, turn the nut another half turn and try again.
  • If there is no further leak then turn the gland nut another quarter turn and replace the tap.

If the tap continues to leak after the second half turn, then the gland will need repacking. Let’s look at how to do this:

  • Keeping the tap handle and cover removed, use a spanner to remove the gland nut.
  • Remove the packing using a sharp implement, such as a screwdriver.
  • Replace the packing. You can use packing string or PTFE tape that has been pulled to become string thin.
  • Pack this in with the screwdriver.
  • Replace the gland nut.
  • Reassemble your tap.
  • Test your tap to see if the issue is resolved.

If you have attempted either of these solutions and the tap persists to leak then you can either consult a plumber, or find a replacement kitchen tap. The above instructions are strong guidelines to help you understand how to repair your tap, but it’s important to check with your model’s manufacturer to ensure you use the correct approach.

If you aren’t familiar with the parts of a kitchen tap that are mentioned above then it is a good idea to speak to a professional to ensure that the tap isn’t damaged further.