Deal to a dripping tap without delay
Many taps are still the old-fashioned type with a rubber washer that eventually wears out. Leaking taps should be dealt with quickly as, over time, the tap can be irreparably damaged.
Modern taps may have ceramic cartridges rather than washers, for example all single lever taps have ceramic cartridges. If these are leaking, a replacement cartridge can be fitted by a plumber.
Mitre 10 stocks a wide range of washers. The blue 15mm and 20mm washers are suitable for both hot and cold taps. (Basin taps are usually 15mm and bath taps are usually 20mm.) Red fibre washers are good for situations where water may reach extremely high temperatures.
Dome washers are a good option where the seat of a tap is a little damaged and some water continues to drip.
If in doubt buy a mixed washer pack – it only costs a few dollars and may save you making an extra trip for another washer.
Turn the water supply off at the meter (usually located near your front fence). If you need to drain a hot water cylinder to work on a hot tap, make sure the heating is turned off first.
Turn the leaking tap on to drain the pipes.
A traditional-style tap will have a cover that needs to be removed. The cover may actually be the handle or the handle may be separate. There is usually a small screw on the top of the handle, usually under the plastic indicator buttons which lift off. (Alternatively it may be a steel cap that unscrews).
Cross top taps will also have a shield beneath the handle that needs to be removed. It should unscrew anticlockwise to reveal the inside of the tap. You should be able to unscrew this by hand but if you need to use pliers wrap a thick cloth around it first to prevent damage to the tap.
Unscrew the tap spindle from the body with an adjustable wrench. This will reveal the washer which is held on by a small nut. Undo this and attach a new washer. Then replace the whole top assembly in the reverse order that you removed it. Turn the tap off and turn the water back on at the meter.
Don’t waste water: Here are some tips on fixing a leaking tap.