Drip. Drip. Drip.
When it comes to plumbing problems, an annoying leaky tap is without a doubt the most common.
In fact, they’re so common that many home and business owners overlook it completely and even grow accustomed to it!
While it may be relatively small as far as plumbing problems go, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
Even small plumbing issues such as this have the potential to cause major plumbing problems.
Of course, that doesn’t mean servicing a tap is as straightforward as changing washers!
Your Templestowe plumber explains…
Taps are a lot more complex than people think
Most people don’t put much thought into how taps work. While the majority of people understand that there’s a mechanism, relatively few can name a part asides from the handle.
The humble tap uses a system of different parts to deliver water. A problem with any one of these can cause problems, including leaks.
That’s why servicing a tap isn’t always a quick 5-minute job!
Different taps may use different parts. In our experience however, there are a handful of parts you’ll find in any tap. Moreover, it’s usually these parts that start presenting with problems!
Hopefully, this shouldn’t need too much explaining!
Handles are pretty self-explanatory – turn them, and water comes out.
When you turn your tap handle, this turns the central shaft (more on that below), which lifts the washer and allows water to flow unimpeded.
The shaft is the heart of a tap. While the handle might be how you use it, without the shaft, it’s useless!
When you turn a tap, the shaft rotates and lifts the washer. The water pressure in your pipes then forces water through the gaps, allowing you to enjoy running water.
Connected to the bottom of the shaft are washers, thick rubber rings that physically block water in your pipes from gushing out your taps.
Needless to say, worn-out washers are one of the most common causes of leaky taps.
Many modern valves feature in-built ceramic discs with holes. As you turn your tap, these holes line up, allowing water to flow.
Unlike traditional taps, taps using this style of valve don’t rely on washers to control the flow of water.
Situated underneath the washer, tap seats help align your tap structure, forming a watertight seal. Tap seats need to be perfectly sized to match the size of your washer.
When the seat wears out or isn’t properly fitted, this can cause drips. In other cases, nicks and scratches can make the surface of the seat uneven, requiring you to use more force to turn your taps (and thereby increasing the risk of accidentally not turning your tap all the way back).
All of these parts of a tab can lead to the following symptoms
Now that you know what each of these important parts do, hopefully it’s all starting to come together.
Issues with even one of these crucial parts can cause you to experience:
The most obvious symptom of tap problems, these are often caused by washer and seating issues.
Difficulty turning your handle
Gunk and mould can jam up your tap (in particular, the shaft) leading to difficulty using your taps.
Strange screeching noises may indicate a worn out rubber washer.
Irregular water discharge in the form of a strong water surge can be an indication of a faulty tap.
What are the exact causes of tap problems?
Loose tap parts
As mentioned above, taps are comprised of many important parts. When one of these parts are loose, worn or improperly-fitted, their ability to stem the flow of water is impeded.
The result? A leaky tap.
High water pressure
We’ve talked touched on this before, but we feel it bears repeating owing to the fact that many homeowners still get this wrong!
Simply put, high water pressure isn’t a good thing. In fact, in many cases it can be the cause of accelerated plumbing wear.
And when it comes to your taps, that’s exactly what it does.
In addition to wearing out tap components, high water pressure can prompt the water to find other means of passage.
Unfortunately, in these cases fixing the leak in question is a job that’s beyond the scope of most DIY plumbers. In these cases, it’s best to go with a professional.
Worn out taps
It isn’t just loose tap parts that can result in leaks – another common cause is worn-out taps.
Wear-and-tear put tap parts under considerable strain. Over time, this can cause washers, seats and valves to lose their watertight qualities.
A bigger issue is that not everyone knows what these important parts are meant to look like. For example, even small nicks in a tap seat can potentially result in leaks.
Luckily for you, you can always call your Templestowe plumber for help!
More than just replacing washers
Servicing a tap is more than just changing the washer.
There are a couple of reasons why:
- Taps contain multiple different parts
- Not all taps are identical
- Not all leaks are the result of problems with your tap itself (read: water pressure)
In other cases, tap problems may be the result of debris building up in your taps. In these cases, fixing tap trouble can necessitate disassembling your tap completely and cleaning out each individual part.
And we haven’t even gotten started on leaks that are caused by underlying issues such as water pressure problems.
In short, not all tap servicing jobs are simple swap-jobs.
And that’s exactly why it doesn’t always pay to go DIY.
Tap trouble got the best of you? Call a Templestowe plumber today!
H2-Pro Plumbing services, installs, and maintains all model types of tap.
It’s not just taps either – our team service a wide range of plumbing fixtures and appliances, including:
No matter the problem and the room it occurs in, our team of expert Templestowe plumbers solve your plumbing problems. We’ll protect you from excessive water bills!