Dripping taps are the number one cause of water wastage; a dripping tap can waste 24,000 litres of water a year! The steady drip of a tap or two can be enough to keep some people awake at night, save your money and your time, and have your taps serviced by your plumber as soon as possible. If your tap is dripping, it is best to have them serviced or replaced quickly, as the drip indicates the tap has become old and worn, and the leak could get much worse very quickly. Leaking or dripping taps cost you money, as the amount of water lost can add up considerably over a period of time. If you turn off the tap ever more tightly, you are delaying the inevitable as the washer is just being further damaged by over tightening.
What causes my taps to leak?
Taps with washers are the most likely to leak compared to ceramic disc taps or mixer taps. The washer becomes warn as it acts as a ‘seal to stop the flow of water, over time the washer will perish from being pushed into the ‘seat’ of the tap to stop water flow. When changing your washer, your plumber will recommend a full service of your tap, this includes ‘re-seating’, replacing o-rings and re-greasing the tap.
In some cases, it is economically beneficial to replace the entire tap if it is old and beyond repair – this is something your plumber would determine.
Ceramic disc taps will take a little longer than washer taps to leak, however they will eventually leak. The ceramic disc will wear down after use and corrosion and need to be replaced. This is done by removing the old ceramic discs and installed new ones in their place.
Mixer taps will leak due to the cartridge most of the time, the cartridge is located at the base of the tap, above the bench top before the spout, the entire cartridge will be removed and replaced with a new one. Often it is recommended to replace the entire mixer tap as cartridges can be expensive, and your entire tap may be close to the end of its life, replacing it is cheaper in the long run. Mixer taps are also connected to the water supply under your sink with ‘flexible pipes’ which each have their own mini stop tap. When you replace your mixer tap, it is highly recommended that the flexible pipes and mini taps are replaced too, as they can burst when they are too old.
If you would prefer a whole new set of taps, or a new mixer your plumber can supply and install a suitable replacement, if you are looking for a specific type or look, it is best you source this tap yourself to avoid your plumber ordering a tap you are not happy with. Be sure that your plumber inspects first and gives you dimensions and types of taps that would be suitable. There is nothing worse than paying for a tap that does not fit!