Important before you try to stop a leaking tap is to remember to do nothing until you have turned off your water supply at the mains, and turned all the taps on to run any water out of the system (both hot and cold taps and all the taps in the house). You need to leave the taps open once the water has drained and run dry.
Some houses have a penny valve which is normally found under the sink; you can turn this off, but to be sure I would normally turn off the mains supply tap. If you don’t know where it is located yourself, you need to ask a neighbour for help or assistance.
Not all taps are the same; so you will need to read through to find out if this article describes your taps, the following may help you to mend it.
Lots of new houses have new eco click mechanism taps that help you save water. When you first turn them on they have very little pressure so that the water comes out slowly. Once you turn the tap and go beyond the click, the water pressure is turned up and the flow of water is increased. Your sink will then fill with water quickly.
Base Tap Leak
If the leak is from the base of the tap you will need to remove the tap first.
To remove these taps you need to unscrew the holding nuts from the existing tap. This can be done with a basin wrench to undo the tap connector nuts that hold the tap to the pipes, and to remove the taps to the basin use a spanner to remove the back nut.
You should be able to remove the old taps, sometimes you are unable to remove them as they are set in a sealant, you will need to tap them lightly underneath to try and dislodge them.
Remember to clean any sealant that is left on the basin before replacing the taps, check the washer; as it may have gone inside the tap, replace it with a new one if you have one or replace the old one back onto the tap as best you can.
You will need to buy a new one asap then you can connect the washers and mounting nuts underneath.
You will then need to connect all the pipe work back together.
When everything is reconnected you can turn the taps back on at the mains supply.
Replacing Worn Washers
Most taps can be easily removed if you have a few simple tools such as a screw driver, adjustable spanner and washers. Taps can leak from many places, mixer taps, shower taps all have the same problems, commonly from the base of the cap at the spout or any moveable joint. Most leaks are caused by damaged or worn washers. It is sometimes best to buy a multipack of washers beforehand so that you have the correct washer to replace the old one.
Put the plug in the plug hole so that no small parts will fall down the drain. Remove the screw cap from the side of the mixer taps with a flat head screw driver, then remove the screw from the tap. Next use a spanner to remove the headgear nut, if it is stiff you may need to use wd40 (maybe a UK product) or equivalent.
Next remove the washer; this may be secured by a small nut, if so use a small screw driver/spanner. Replace the new washer to the head gear nut. Then replace all the parts back together taking care to replace everything correctly.
If it is the movable joint that is leaking or dripping; to repair it you need to unscrew the faucet head and replace any damaged washers. Replace the faucet head and you can now turn the water supply back on and your tap should be like new.
Hot and Cold Taps
For individual hot and cold taps you need to unscrew or lever off the cover of the non rising spindle tap so you can see the retaining screw.
Remove the screw and put it in a safe place, then remove the head of the tap. You now need to remove the headgear nut with a spanner; if this is tight use a cloth around so that the spanner grasps better and prevents the tap from turning.
Try not to force this too much or a plumber will be needed. If this does not help you may need wd40 or an equivalent. You will be able to see the washer which may be secured with a nut, use a small spanner/screw driver to remove it.
Remove the old washer and replace it with a new one.
You will then need to replace everything back and make sure everything is fitted correctly and securely. You can now turn the stop tap back on.
The methods described above can also be used to mend a garden tap.