There aren’t many things more annoying than the sound of a dripping tap. Calling in a professional will set you back around £70, but with the right tools and a bit of time you can fix the problem yourself – at a cost of £3 (or the price of a new washer), along with the satisfaction of doing the job yourself.
Before you start
The first thing you need to do is turn off your water supply. It sounds obvious, but if you are a DIY plumbing novice it’s an easy mistake to make. You can do this by turning off the tap at the isolation valve (usually found on the supply pipe beneath the basin). Alternatively, you need to locate your stopcock – look under the basin, under the stairs or near the front door – and turn it off to stop the water supply completely.
Remove the tap handle
How you do this will depend on the design of your tap. You may need to flip off the top of the tap head, find the screw holding the handle in place or simply unscrew it using an adjustable spanner. Once the tap head is removed, you can then remove the middle part of the tap by unscrewing it.
Replace the washer
Secure the nut at the base of the valve with an adjustable spanner and hold the body of the tap in place with slip-joint pliers. You can then loosen the valve with a spanner and undo by hand. A damaged or perished washer is what prevents the tap from fully tightening, thus causing it to drip. Remove the old washer and replace it with a new one.
Reassemble the tap
Now you need to retrace your steps in reverse order. Screw the base back on, replace the middle part of the tap mechanism and then screw the tap handle back on. Then you can turn the water supply back on again, check the tap is working well then turn it off and enjoy the silence.
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