How to Troubleshoot leaky and dripping taps
Dripping taps can drive you mad, as well as waste water and stain your sink. Luckily, leaking taps can easily be sorted out once you've worked out what's wrong. Watch this video tutorial for tips on how to deal with dripping and leaking taps.
The modern style tap, one where you only turn the lever a quarter for full flow, is known as a ceramic disc tap. If this is dripping from the spout then I'm afraid the whole central cartridge will need to be looked at and possibly replaced.
The more common tap is a stem or pillar tap, the type where the headgear is turned several times to control the flow of water. If a pillar tap has a dripping spout then the washer will need replacing.
You can easily fix these problems yourself with the right tools. Have a look at our films 'How to repair a ceramic-disc tap' and 'How to replace a tap washer'.
If you find water leaking from the top of the tap, it could be one of two problems. Both sound quite daunting with bizarre "plumber words" but are actually easily solved. Firstly, the gland nut which keeps the spindle in place may need tightening. Otherwise, the O-ring, which is the rubber seal that sits on the spindle, needs replacing. Try tackling these on a free Saturday.
Swivel spouts in particular are prone to leaks at the base. This can be quickly fixed by removing the spout and replacing the seal.
If you find water leaking from the underside of the taps, or for that matter, anywhere else under the sink, don't try and fix it yourself - otherwise you might find yourself swimming in your own bathroom. Instead, place a container under the leak to catch the water and call in a qualified plumber.
If you are planning to tackle any of these problems by yourself, it is always best to attempt any plumbing projects early in the day. This gives you plenty of time, if needed, to get to your nearest do-it-yourself store to pick up replacement parts.