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How to repair a leaking water pipe

When you hear the sound of dripping water you seldom realize that you are actually wasting water. Taking an estimate, 8 out of 10 households have at least one water tap that has a leakage problem, probably the one which is used the most. So when you have a leaking tap, it means it’s time to use your toolkit and repair the tap. Here’s how you can stop that leakage yourself.

Time Required : 15 – 20 minutes

Complexity Level: Moderate

Resources Required:

  1. A small thin piece of wood
  2. New washer
  3. Screw driver
  4. Spanner
  5. A piece of cable or hose
  6. Plumber’s goop or Vaseline
  7. Insulation tape


1. Remove the headgear

  • Stop the water supply by turning off your main water supply valve. Turn the tap on and plug into the plughole with a thin wooden piece to stop any small parts falling into the drain.
  • Unscrew the lid of the tap to see the retaining screw. Remove the screw and place it on a safe and flat surface.
  • Unscrew the larger nut at the headgear with a spanner. If you find the to nut to be very tight, do not apply too much pressure. Instead, prop the tap body with hand or with a pipe wrench wrapped in a cloth. (If it is still difficult, lubricate it with oil and wait for about 10 minutes for the oil to soak in and then try again).

2. Replace the washer

  • Lift off the washer with a screwdriver. Unscrew the small nut (if any) with a spanner. (If it is difficult, lubricate it with oil and try again).
  • After replacing with a new washer, grease the threads on the base of the tap before reassembling (preferably with Plumber’s Goop, a clean silicone gel adhesive or Vaseline).

3. Repair valve seat (optional)

  • Even if you have replaced it with a new washer, it is possible that the valve seat inside the tap body is scraped by grit sealed between the washer and the seat. So check if the valve seat is in good condition.
  • If the valve seat has to be fixed, you can repair it easily with a combined washer and seating set readily available at the hardware store.

4. Reassembling the parts

Put the screw back and place the tap on its original stand and screw it again. Tighten it.

Frequently Asked Questions

The shower-head and the spout are leaking simultaneously. How can I fix it?

There must be a “shower-rise” where the water can’t flow easily through the tap as it does through the valve. This causes the water to collect and leaks through the shower-head. This happens usually when something gets clogged up in the pipe. This can be removed by unblocking the clog by removing the tub spout and inserting a long cable up through the tub drop. Flush the valve before reinstalling the tub spout.

After turning off the valve, water still drips from the tap for some minutes. Why does that happen?

Nothing is wrong. The reserved water is simply emptying from the aerator and the hose of your tap.

How do I prevent leakage in water pipes?

It is always best to make sure that your pipes are in good condition and they are free of dents or corrosion. If there are dents or corrosion, replace it immediately or it might cause leakage.

How to detect small leakage in our water distribution pipes?

Check for water oozing out of one particular location or areas that looks unusually wet. But to find those hidden leaks, you
would require the help of a professional plumber.

Quick tips

1. The taps which are used most frequently, cause leakage. Check the toilet or the kitchen taps for signs of leakage.

2. Ensure that the main valve is turned off before you start working on a leaking tap.

Things to watch out for

1. Work carefully with hot-water lines to avoid injury or burns.

2. You can’t make emergency repairs if you don’t have the required equipments, so make sure you’re well equipped.