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Did you know one slowly leaking tap can send 9,000 litres of water down the drain? And you’re the one footing the bill!

At Mr. Leak Detector we’ve got years of experience spotting and fixing leaks across Melbourne, but the truth is, you don’t need to call us for every leaking tap in your home or business.

Read on to discover how to spot a leaky tap and what steps to take to fix the problem, DIY style. Save time and money with the help of Mr. Leak Detector.

A leaking tap isn’t just annoying, it literally sends your money down the drain.

In fact, a leaking tap can waste up to 9,000 litres of water a year, and that’s water that’s coming out of your next bill.

At the same time, there’s nothing worse than a plumber telling you the only way to fix a leaky tap is to give them a call and organise a service.

The truth is, there are plenty of ways for you to diagnose and fix a leaky tap in your Melbourne home or business – and we’re going to teach you how.

Ready to become a tap-fixing expert? Let’s get into it.

What causes a leaking tap?

You can’t fix it until you know what’s broken, so let’s start with the basics.

Your tap may not be as complex as your car’s engine, but there are still internal parts that have the potential to wear down and break.

Put simply, the majority of taps use rubber or ceramic parts to form a seal when your tap is off. This prevents water from dripping into your sink, shower or basin. When one of these parts is damaged or worn down, the seal is broken and water escapes.

A standard household tap (sink and basin) has a range of internal parts, but the following internal parts are most responsible for leaks:

Washer: Small rubber ring that presses down on your water pipe to stop water flow
O-ring: Installed to create a water-proof seal
Cartridge: Responsible for water flow and temperature
Valve: Installed where the spout meets the tap

But wait, there’s more!

Your home’s plumbing may look as simple as turning on a tap when it’s time for a shower or your turn to do the dishes, but the cause of your leak may not be down to damaged tap parts.

For example, leaks may be the result of high water pressure that restricts the flow of water. This can leave your pipes backed up with excess water that needs to escape somehow, leading to ongoing drips and leakages.

Or, your Melbourne tap leak may be due to damaged pipes out of view. Corroded, rusted or cracked pipes can lead to drips that no amount of DIY tap repair can fix.

If you’ve tried to fix your leaks using our simple step-by-step instructions below, but you’re still being kept up at night by endless dripping, contact the Mr. Leak Detector team for Melbourne’s best leak detection services.

Internal parts of the most common household taps

In this guide we’ll show you how to repair the most common leaking tap – the sink and basin tap.

However, there are a range of taps you’ll find in and around your home, and these may contain different parts.

Use the table below for a guide on your household taps, and if you’re dealing with a leak you can’t fix, reach out and schedule a FREE quote to compare your options and save on your plumbing.

Sink and Basin Tap Washing Machine Tap
Tap Button Spanner
Tap Button C/Plate, G/Plate or Adhesive
Basin Flange
O-ring
Body Washer
Jumper Valve
Stainless Steel Reseating Kit
Tap Button Spanner
Tap Button C/Plate, G/Plate or Adhesive
O-ring
Body Washer
Valve
Thread Seal Tape
Filter Washer
Hammer Relief Valve
Washing Machine Hose
Spout Tap Garden Tap
Spout Aerator Adaptor
Water Saving Disc
Spout Aerator C/Plate or G/Plate
Spout Adaptor (Snap On)
Spout Adaptor (w/Machine Hose)
Spout Adaptor (Shower Hose Fitting)
Spout O-ring
Spout Washer
O-ring
Body Washer
Valve
Thread Seal Tape
Nut and Tail Washer
Vacuum Breaker
Tap Adaptor Brass
O-ring

How to tell which internal tap part is broken

Dealing with a leaking tap that’s keeping you up at all hours? Don’t pick up the phone and call your local Melbourne plumber just yet. You can diagnose the cause of your leaking tap without spending 3 to 4 years completing your plumbing Cert.

Does your tap drip when turned off? The culprit is likely a faulty washer attached to the jumper valve.

Does your tap leak water when turned on? The problem is likely a fault o-ring.

Whether you’re looking at a damaged washer, jumper valve or o-ring, you’ll need to dismantle the tap, and we’ll teach you how.

Tools you’ll need to fix a leaking tap

– 12mm washers (most common size found in residential taps)
– O-ring
– Jumper valve
– Wrench/spanner
– Screwdriver
– Pliers/tweezers
– Tap lubricant
– Washcloth

How to fix a leaking tap in 5 simple steps

Step One: Turn off the water supply at the mains

Before you start breaking down your tap and diving into DIY repairs, make sure your main water supply is turned off.

For Victorian homeowners, your main will typically be in the street or in your front yard. For Victorians living in a flat or unit, you can generally find your mains tap in the laundry or bathroom. Once your water supply has been turned off, remember to turn on the tap and empty out any water that’s sitting in your pipes.

MR. LEAK DETECTOR TIP: Even with your water off, it’s a good idea to put the plug in the sink. This will stop any important parts ending up down the drain.

Step Two: Remove the handle

You’ll need to remove the handle to access the damaged parts inside, so unscrew the button or screw holding the handle in place. This may say ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ depending on your tap.

You may need a screwdriver for this step, depending how your tap is built, then remove the handle from the stem to expose the body and spindle.

Step Three: Identify damaged tap parts

Using a spanner, loosen and remove the tap skirt and tap body. Some taps may have silicon or other sealant holding the tap skirt on, so you may need pliers or a wrench to complete this step.

By now, you should be looking at the large body washer, o-ring, and jumper valve. Remove the body washer that’s on the tap base and pull out the jumper valve (which will have a washer attached to its base).

Step Four: Replace damaged tap parts

Once you’ve completed the above steps you’ll be able to look at your tap’s o-ring, washer and jumper valve. Your jumper valve may have been caught in your tap skirt when you removed it, so you may need tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to get it out and check for damages.

If you’re heading to your local Bunnings or hardware store for replacement parts, it helps to know what you’re looking for. The most common washer found in Melbourne homes measure 12mm, though it’s possible to have sizes up to 15mm or larger, so consider bringing in your damaged tap parts as a reference.

Step Five: Put your tap back together

t’s time to reverse your previous steps to put your tap – and new internal parts – back together.

Make sure the jumper valve and washer are in their correct spots, then use a wrench or spanner to tighten things up and leave your tap head sealed (be careful not to overtighten the nuts). To test your DIY skills, make sure the tap is turned off, then turn your water mains back on.

Test the tap to see if water leaks.

Is your sink dry and your tap working properly? Congrats, you just saved money and put a stop to your leaking tap.

Still noticing water dripping from your tap? Read on for your next important step.

What happens if you ignore a leaking tap?

As far as plumbing emergencies go, a dripping or leaking tap isn’t always a priority.

Unlike a busted pipe or blocked toilet, you can live your life around a leaking tap. And for busy Melbourne families and business owners, finding time to fix their leak can be tough when there’s kids and jobs and pets and COVID lockdowns to deal with.

Unfortunately, an unattended leak can cause a range of problems that have the potential to impact your health and your household budget.

For example, a leaking tap can:

✘ Lead to mould and mildew that damage the structure of your home
✘ Cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions as bacteria develop
✘ Damage to your home’s foundations and walls over time
✘ Warped, cracked and rotting wood around your sink or shower
✘ Rusted metal surfaces and pipes that become weakened

Whether it’s your health or the health of your home, these negative outcomes will end up hitting you in the hip pocket.

Remember, prevention is better than a cure. It’s easier to find time to DIY your leaking tap instead of playing the ‘wait and see’ game and calling in an expensive plumber months down the line because your pipes have burst or the structural integrity of your home is at risk.

Is your tap still leaking? Grab a FREE quote to compare your options

Water leaks are stressful. It doesn’t matter if you’re losing litres of water every second or you’ve got a bathroom tap that won’t stop dripping, no matter what you do.

If you’ve tried to stop the leak but haven’t had any luck, requesting a leak detection service or leaky tap fix from your local Melbourne plumber can save you time and money.

At Mr. Leak Detector we understand you’re looking to keep costs down, and overspending to fix a leaking faucet is the last thing you want to do. That’s why we offer fast and FREE leaking tap quotes to help you compare your options and find the most affordable plumber for you.

Click here to compare us against the rest with your own FREE plumbing quote