How To Guides

How To Stop A Dripping Tap

how to stop a dripping tap

We’ve all had a dripping bathroom tap before, be that from a leak or simply not turning it off properly. As well as being very common, and notoriously annoying, dripping bathroom tap faucets can also cost you money on your bills in the long run – both in heating and water. 

In this article we’ll talk through the various reasons for a leaky faucet and how to stop a dripping tap without calling an expensive plumber.

Why is my bathroom tap leaking?

If you’ve tried tightening your bathroom tap and had no joy, a faucet can still leak for a number of reasons. The most common is simply that the rubber washer is worn, allowing water to pass through. A rubber washer is used to stop water flow between the pipe and the valve in some taps.

The alternative is that you have a bathroom tap with a ceramic disc which needs replacing – don’t worry, we’ll come on to how to tell which kind of tap you have a bit later. Ceramic discs in bathroom taps are more durable so you’ll be searching ‘how to stop a dripping tap’ far less often. But even so, we’ll show you how to sort it out.

It’s good to note that if you take your bathroom tap apart and notice that your valve is worn, rough or scored, changing the washer or disc won’t solve the problem. Replacing a valve is slightly more fiddly to fix, but still worth having a go at yourself if you don’t want to call out a plumber. That being said, always call a professional if you’re not confident.

So, what kind of bathroom tap do you have?

In this section we’ll troubleshoot by what kind of bathroom tap you have, what you’ll need to replace and how to fix your leak.

Before you start it’s important to turn off the water supply to your bathroom tap at the mains and put the plug in the sink to avoid losing anything as you disassemble your tap.

Compression valve taps, those that need a full turn to reach maximum pressure, need a rubber washer. Ceramic disc valve taps, your more modern mixer tap, will need a ceramic disc replacement instead of a washer. 

In both cases, here’s how to stop a dripping tap.

How to stop a dripping tap by replacing a rubber washer

You’ll need:

  • Flat headed screwdriver
  • Spanner
  • Packet of rubber washers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Towel
  1. Using your screwdriver, remove the cover of the bathroom tap.
  2. Use your wrench or screwdriver to remove the remainder of the bathroom tap head to expose the valve – depending what kind of tap you have.
  3. Remove the valve using your spanner, holding your tap in place to prevent any damage.
  4. Now you’ve exposed the rubber washer, you can replace it.
  5. Put your bathroom tap back together again and test it by turning on the water.

How to stop a dripping tap by replacing a ceramic disc

You’ll need:

  • New ceramic disc
  • Flat headed screwdriver
  • Allen key set
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Grease
  • Towel
  1. Using your screwdriver or wrench, remove the cover of the bathroom tap – depending what style of tap you have.
  2. Use an Allen key or screwdriver to undo the bolt holding on the top section of the bathroom tap and remove it.
  3. Remove the brass cartridge valve with your wrench. Hold your bathroom tap in place to prevent any damage.
  4. Remove the washer, usually red or blue, and gently tap out the ceramic disc inside the tap valve.
  5. Replace the disc with your new one and fix the washer back in place.
  6. Reassemble your bathroom tap the same way you took it apart, then test it by turning on the water.

How to stop a dripping tap by replacing a valve

Unfortunately replacing a bathroom tap valve isn’t as straightforward as you may hope. It’s best to use one of the above methods to disassemble your tap and take the valve into your local Bathstore to get a replacement. 

There’s a lot of slight variation in valves that can make a big difference to how they fit. For example, how many teeth they have at the top, or how tall they are. Always consult the professionals if you’re not sure. Once you have your new valve, it’s just a case of screwing it in with your wrench and reassembling the bathroom tap.

And there you have it! That’s how to stop a dripping tap. Hopefully this article has helped to solve your bathroom tap issue. If you need any more help on how to stop a dripping tap, the Bathstore team is always on-hand online and in-store to answer your questions.




Writer and expert