How to Fix a Dripping Tap

monobloc tap with water running

In this guide we’ll show you how to fix a dripping tap, and everything you’ll need to know to get the job done with a minimum of fuss.

Ignoring a leaking tap is never a good idea; by fixing it sooner rather than later you’ll prevent damage, and it will be easier to fix too.

Fixing a leaking tap will also stop water wastage.

Modern taps have come a long way. Not too many years ago, all you needed was an assorted pack of rubber washers, available from any local hardware store, and a little bit of know how.

With a dripping monobloc tap, however, things are a little different.

Modern taps rely upon “ceramic disc technology” meaning that you will need to contact the supplier of your tap to order the correct part. The good news is that the cartridge shouldn’t, under normal circumstances, wear out for ten to fifteen years.

So if you work out how to fix a dripping tap with a ceramic disc under our guidance, and do so effectively, you should be free from issues for some time to come.

Watch: How to fix a dripping tap (Monobloc)

How to fix a leaking tap – important notes

  • Before starting your dripping tap repair, it’s essential to switch off the water supply to that tap.
  • You can usually identify if your dripping tap uses rubber washers or ceramic discs by simply turning the tap handle. If the tap uses ceramic discs, then the handle will only rotate a quarter or half a turn. If the handle rotates more than this, your tap uses a rubber washer. The differential is important to identify in any bid to repair a dripping tap.
  • Some mono basin mixer taps use a ceramic disc cartridge that’s specific to a certain manufacturer, so check before buying a replacement as you look to mend a dripping tap.
  • If your taps use a ceramic disc, then you will need to replace the entire valve, but if it uses a rubber washer, you can just replace the small washer.
  • In leaking kitchen taps, worn O-rings are usually the main cause, but O-rings can also be found on the body of the valve in other taps too. Sometimes you may find that your taps still leak even when you’ve replaced the washer, so check to see if the o-rings and seals are worn.
  • In older taps, a damaged washer is usually the culprit. Take a look inside the tap and if the washer is slightly damaged on one side you can reinsert it the other way up. That will only stop the drip temporarily, so you’ll need to replace it with a new one as soon as possible.
  • When turning your taps on and off, take care not to over-tighten them, as this can cause the rubber washers to wear out quickly. Taps with a rubber washer and compression valve tend to drip a couple of times once you’ve switched them off, but it’s not necessary to keep on tightening them. Just allow the residual water to drip out without tightening the tap more.
  • Remember, if you have any doubts about putting into practice our tips on how to stop a dripping tap, we recommend seeking professional help.

Fixing a dripping tap

Tools you’ll need to fix a dripping monobloc tap:

  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Plumbing grips
  • 2mm Allen key (Hex key)
  • Access to the water shut off valve
  • Replacement ceramic cartridge

  1. Turn off the water supply

    Locate your stop tap so that you can turn off the hot and cold water supply to the house.

  2. Remove the red and blue indicator

    Next, using your flat head screwdriver, remove the red and blue indicator from the tap.Removing the hot-cold indicator from a monobloc tap to access the screw

  3. Loosen the grub screw

    Now you will have access to a small “grub screw” and you will need your 2mm Allen Key. Insert the Allen Key and loosen the screw until the tap handle can be removed.

  4. Unscrew the collar

    Unscrew the chrome collar on the tap to reveal a large nut.

  5. Loosen the nut

    Using your plumbing grips, loosen the nut then unscrew and remove by hand.dismantling a dripping monobloc tap

  6. Remove the cartridge from the tap

    Now that you have removed the handle of the tap, along with the outer casing, you are ready to replace the ceramic cartridge. To do this you can simply pull the cartridge out of the tap and replace it with the new one.Removing a thermostatic cartridge from a monobloc tap

  7. Give the tap a thorough clean

    First though, be sure to carefully clean out the inside of the tap, paying special attention to the screw thread as this is where grit and grime gather and cause problems.
    Cleaning inside a monobloc tap

  8. Fit the new cartridge

    Now you are ready to replace to cartridge, being careful to ensure that the lugs match up with the corresponding holes inside the tap.Removing a thermostatic cartridge from a monobloc tap

  9. Turn on the water supply

    Once you have replaced the cartridge and screwed everything back in place, you can turn on your water supply and prepare for a good night’s sleep!

How to change a tap washer

1. Remove the cap from the handle

Begin by removing the cap from the handle (if there is one). This will expose the handle screw, so unscrew it to allow you to remove the handle.

2. Place the tap handle to one side

Once you’ve done this, place the tap handle and the shroud to one side. You will now be able to see the tap valve underneath.

3. Unscrew the tap valve

Unscrew the tap valve with an adjustable spanner so that you can remove the valve from the tap seat.

4. Remove the washer

You can now remove the washer and fit a new one in its place. Follow the above steps in reverse to put your tap back together.

How to replace an o-ring

1. Remove the grub screw

Remove the grub screw that’s located behind the spout and simply twist to release.

2. Lift the spout away

Once you’ve lifted the spout away, you will then have access to the O-ring at the bottom of the spout.

3. Prise off the O-ring

Carefully prise off the O-ring with a slot-head screwdriver. If you can’t prise it off, then you may have to cut out the worn O-ring.

4. Fit the new O-ring

Fit the replacement O-ring, refit the spout and tighten up the grub screw.

How to maintain your basin tap

Maintaining your tap is a simple task, especially once you have already learned how to replace the cartridge and fix a leak.

All you need to do is make sure you remove the tap head and housing, as you have done to replace the cartridge, and give the inside of the tap a good clean whenever you have any interior or exterior work carried out.

Remember, preventing grit and grime from getting a foothold is all you really need to keep your tap drip free, and avoid the need to fix dripping taps in future!

DIY is a great way to save time and money, however to avoid disappointment, invalidating your warranty, and potential injury we recommend hiring a trained professional for dripping tap fix measures. This guide is for your information only and if you do decide to be bold and try it, we cannot be responsible for any outcome.

DIY is a great way to save time and money, however to avoid disappointment, invalidating your warranty, and potential injury we recommend hiring a trained professional. This guide is for your information only and if you do decide to be bold and try it, we cannot be responsible for any outcome.

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