How to Stop Leaking Taps

Updated November 21, 2016

A leaking tap, or faucet, can cause problems for you and your family. A severe leak can cost you a lot of money on your water bill, and can also keep you up at night with its constant dripping noise. Fixing a leaking tap does not always require you to call a plumber for help. A faulty washer is often the culprit, and replacement washers are very inexpensive.

Remove the screw on top of the leaking tap. If there is a cover over the screw, use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry off the cover.

Apply some duct tape to the inner jaws of an adjustable wrench. This will prevent you from scratching the handle or the tap when you remove the handle.

Pull the handle up and out of its housing. Unscrew and remove the packing nut that sits directly beneath the handle.

Remove the stem that sits below the packing nut. This will expose the washer, or O-ring. Unscrew the brass screw that holds the washer in place. Remove the washer and inspect it for corrosion or other damage.

Match the old washer with a new washer of the same size. Washers typically range in size from 3/8 inch in diameter to 5/8 inch in diameter. Be sure to use a new washer that is exactly the same size.

Smear a thin layer of heatproof plumber's grease on the new washer. Set the washer in place in the faucet. Secure the washer in place with the brass screw.

Replace the stem and packing nut in their proper positions. Insert the handle back into the faucet, and secure it in place with its screw. Place the cover back over the faucet screw, and press down to snap it in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Duct tape
  • Replacement washer
  • Heatproof plumber's grease
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