Leaking taps, mixers, showerheads and toilets.
Dripping taps, mixers, showerheads, and toilets can waste over 1500 plus litres of water per year. This can increase your water bill significantly and is obviously not good for the environment. Hidden leaks can also cause substantial damage to cabinetry and even structural elements of your home.
Is water dripping from the tap or mixer spout?
A dripping tap is usually as simple as replacing the tap valve. A lot of people do this themselves. Ensure you buy good quality valves as they will last considerably longer and don’t cost that much more. However, it’s generally easier to get a plumber in as they will replace all the washers, o-rings and, check the valve seat isn’t corroded and reseat if required.
Is water dripping from the spout even after the tap valve has been replaced?
This means the valve seat is corroded and needs to be reseated. If the corrosion isn’t too bad, it can be done quickly using a valve reseating tool. If not, then the whole valve stem might need replacing.
Most tap valves in your house will be around the same age. It’s not a bad idea to get the plumber to look at and replace all the tap valves in the house as it saves you calling them back next week.
Mixers can be a bit more complicated depending on the style and brand of the mixer.
Most plumbers will have suitable washers, o-rings and seals on hand to fix a mixer but may need to order parts. If you know the brand and model of the mixer, it’s always a good idea to let the plumber know before they come over.
If the mixer needs to be replaced, then it’s always best to buy the best quality one you can afford. Your plumber can advise on the best one for your needs.
Is water leaking from the mixer body or spindle of the tap?
There are several seals, o-rings and washers in mixers and taps. It’s best to disassemble the whole mechanism and replace them all, grease properly and reinstall. It’s not as simple as replacing a valve, and usually best to get a plumber to do this.
A leaking shower head is usually the valves or valve seats.
A showerhead will usually drip a little bit after you exit the shower, however, if it lasts more than a couple of minutes the valves or valve seats need looking at. If the head is leaking from the stem seals on the shower arm or you have one of those cheap elbow style showerheads, it’s not a bad idea to replace the whole head with something more modern.
Is the tap handle stiff and hard to turn?
A build-up of mineral deposits and possible corrosion can make the tap hard to turn. This can usually be resolved by disassembling the whole tap, cleaning and reassembling with new seals and grease. Depending on the build-up and corrosion, it’s sometimes easier and cheaper just to replace the whole tap stem.
Water leaking into the toilet bowl is sometimes hard to see.
The water might just be trickling down the back of the bowl. This can normally be fixed by replacing the washer on the outlet valve. If that doesn’t fix the leak, then you may need to replace the whole cistern outlet valve. Depending on your model and brand of toilet, a universal kit might work, or your plumber may need to order parts. If you know the brand and model of your toilet, it’s always best to let them know so they can bring the right replacement parts.
If water is leaking from underneath the cistern onto the floor, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible. A small leak can do a lot of damage to your flooring and the structure underneath. The mould and dampness it creates is also a health hazard.