Inner West and Eastern Sydney Plumbers

DIY Tips

DIY How to fix a Leaking tap fact sheet

Here are some common problems and some potential DIY solutions.

When starting work on taps:

Always turn the water off by turning the valve on the water supply lines to the taps (under the sink or basin. If these are absent:

  1. Turn the water off at the meter (have valves installed by a plumber next time he’s at your house)
  2. Turn the tap on to drain any remaining water away.
  3. Put a cloth or plug in the drain so small parts are not lost.
  4. Disassemble the tap and lay it out in the EXACT order that you took it apart.
  5. Always take the part you need to the hardware store.

Problem: Banging sounds from the pipes when the tap is turned on

This is called a “water hammer.” It’s usually caused by high water pressure and/or loose pipes banging against the wall.

Don’t ignore it or you can end up with broken pipes or worse, damaged fittings (taps, dishwashers, etc.)

Water hammer can be a complex issue and may require multiple repairs. Find out more about water hammer and how it can be fixed: read more.

Tap screeches when turned on:

  • DIY Solution: Turn off the water and replace the washer.

Tap is difficult to turn or twist open:

Your tap bonnet thread may be clogged with dry soap, grease or may simply need lubrication. If you or a household member is older, has arthritis, etc., we suggest tap-parts-CREDIT-fixataphaving ¼ turn taps installed. They are much easier to use for everyone.

  • DIY Solution:  Turn off the water and clean the tap bonnet thread. Lubricate tap bonnet, spindle thread, and O-ring. 

Tap squeaks when turned:

  • DIY Solution: remove the tap handles and grease the stem with grease

Tap spits rather than streams a proper flow.

  • DIY Solution: Try removing the aerator (that’s the screw-on screen that covers the mouth of the tap). Remove and flush any visible deposits, then reattach. If entirely blocked, it’s easier to swap the aerator with an inexpensive replacement from hardware store or plumbing supplier like Reece or Cass Bros.  

Kitchen sink sprayer dribbles rather than sprays:

  • DIY Solution: Low flow in a kitchen sink sprayer is often associated with the diverter, a small valve located in the stem of the tap. Take the handle assembly apart and pop out the diverter with a screwdriver and soak it in a bath of equal parts white vinegar and boiling hot water. Reassemble the tap with the diverter in place, and the sprayer stream should be as strong as ever.

When these solutions don’t work, your tap needs the attention of a plumber. It may need a full tap service or a new tap installed.

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DIY SKILL

How to turn off your household water supply:

We offer a complimentary service where we can show you how to do this when we are doing an inspection of your property.

Contact us  to make a booking.

Under the sink:

Cut off water to the taps by turning the shut-offs under the sink all the way to the right. If there are no individual shut-offs under the sink then use the main water shut-off for the entire house.

Shut off valves are an easy, quick way to isolate a leak in home without interrupting the entire home’s water supply. Have them installed when your plumber next visits.

At the mains:

This will stop all water flowing into your house. If you live in a house, the tap and water meter will probably be out on the street or in your front yard adjacent to the street.

If you live in a flat or townhouse, the mains tap will probably be inside, perhaps in the bathroom or laundry. Be certain the water has stopped running by turning on random taps in your home. (If the water has not stopped running, it will be necessary to call a licensed plumber). If the main’s tap has not been used for years, you may need a pair of multigrips to help turn it off.

Must-Know Pipe Perfection Tip:

You need to be able to locate your mains tap to turn it off in an emergency. If you don’t know where it is, now is the time to find out. Draw a little map of the location and tape it inside your pantry or utility cupboard.

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