Are you kept awake by a dripping tap at night? If so, chances are you’re losing more than just sleep. Leaky taps cost you big money and a tap that is leaking 1 drop per second wastes nearly 21 litres of water every 24 hours. That’s nearly 2,000 litres every 3 months! With increasing water prices in Sydney, there’s never been a better time to get water leaks fixed or else you may end up really paying for it in your next utility bill. Besides costing an arm and a leg, there are other serious consequences of not fixing water leaks.
If you have a water leak, water stains may occur on your walls or ceiling. Being damp, these stains may result in mould growing on the surface which has serious health consequences for you and your family. Additionally, water inside your home may result in major structural damage to gyprock and costly repairs if left untreated. Leaks in the pipes between your home and the metre cause water to rise to the surface through the cement or soil which can also result in significant damage. This indicates a serious leak and you must turn off the water main immediately and contact a professional plumber.
What Causes Leaking taps
There are many causes of a leaky tap and a lot of ways to fix drain leaks. Generally speaking, the most common reasons a tap will leak are:
- Worn out or loose O-rings
- Worn out or incorrectly installed washers
- Worn seals
- Broken parts
- Age of tapware
- High water pressure
- Taps need to be re-seated
Visible Signs of Leaks
Leaks can occur in any home. Sometimes the leaks are visible but other times they’re not. Some visible signs include:
The most obvious signs are dripping taps. This could indicate leaks, but more often than not it means that something like the washer needs to be replaced.
Look for water pooling under dishwasher or the fridge. Cupboards, bench tops or walls may also be warped or discoloured. If you see this, water may be leaking nearby.
Check that the toilet cistern is continually running or the showerhead is dripping.
Check if there is water pooling under the washing machine or laundry tub. If water is present, check the washing machine hose for cracks, fraying or bulging.
You’ll need to look out for wet patches or random bright green areas of grass in your yard. If you see anything like this, there may be a leak in one of your underground pipes.
How to Check for Invisible Leaks
If you’ve checked the visible signs but are still unsure whether you have a leak or not, simply follow these steps to investigate further:
Step #1: Turn off all running water in your house
Step #2: Find your water metre
Step #3: Take a reading of your water meter immediately
Step #4: Wait an hour or two, making sure not to use any water at all, then take another reading.
If the metre reading increased, that’s a tell-tale sign you have a water leak.
Fixing Water Leaks Yourself
Although we strongly recommend getting in a professional, for all plumbing needs, you can still try to fix some leaking taps yourself. Here’s how:
Step #1: Turn Off the Main Water Supply
Usually located outside on the street, in your front garden and usually in the laundry or the bathroom for townhouses or flats.
Step #2: Take off the Head Nut
Make sure you only do this once you have double checked the water is off.
Step #3: Change the Washers
There’s usually no need to change all three washers at the same time, but this is recommended.
The three washers consist of:
- The body washer:
This is the washer that goes around the head nut and it is normally orange and rather easy to get off.
- The O-ring:
This is the washer found on the spindle. You’ll need to close the tap then use needle nose pliers to remove it. The new O-ring normally stretches and goes over the spindle easily.
- The tap washer:
This may just slide out or you may need the help of a small pliers.
Step #4: Put it Everything Back Together
Before reassembling, you’ll need to make sure everything is well-lubricated with Vaseline or silicon lubricant.
Step #5: Turn the Water Supply Back on
Only turn the water supply back on when you are sure the tap is assembled correctly.
Call the Professionals at Silverwater Plumbing
Water leaks cost big bucks and waste our most precious resource. If you have identified a leak at your home or business and need professional help, please call the friendly local plumbers at Silverwater Plumbing. We are available Sydney-wide 24/7.
To make a booking, please call Silverwater Plumbing on: (02) 9199 2055.