Fixing a leaking washing machine tap can save money and conserve water. With the rising cost of living, fixing your leak sooner rather than later is a smart thing to do. In this guide, we’ll step you through how to fix your leaking washing machine tap to save on water costs. Not to mention, prevent damage to your walls and flooring.
The Impacts of a Leaking Washing Machine Tap
I know what you’re thinking, what happens if I decide not to fix my leaking washing machine tap? Well, did you know…
According to Sydney Water, you could waste up to 2000 litres of water per year just from a single leaking tap in your home. That’s enough water for 40 washing machine cycles or 100 shower sessions!
Additionally, a Canstar Blue survey in January 2023 observed that an Australian household spends an average of $208 on water bills every quarter. That’s a little over $800 per year. Since each Australian uses around 100,000 litres of water annually, leaving your taps unfixed will result in higher monthly bills.
Thus, it would be best if you addressed leaking washing machine taps as soon as possible. That way, you can avoid wasting water in the driest populated continent on Earth and make sure you don’t get bill shock every time the water bill arrives.
Why is My Washing Machine Leaking From the Tap?
Now there are several potential causes for leaking washing machine taps. Understanding them can help you identify the issue faster and take appropriate action. These include:
The most common reason for a leaking washing machine tap is a worn-out or damaged washer. Inside the tap assembly is a rubber or plastic washer that creates a watertight seal when the tap is closed. Over time, this washer can deteriorate, leading to leaks when the tap is in use. Replacing the washer is often the simplest and most effective solution to resolve this leak.
Malfunctioning Water Level Buttons
The water level button on a washing machine indicates the amount of water to fill and how much is enough during one cycle. If these buttons or their components are broken, it can result in water leaking or even overflowing.
Loose Tap Handle
If the tap handle is not securely fastened to the tap assembly, it can cause leaks around the handle area when you turn the tap on. Tightening the grip or replacing any damaged components can fix this issue.
Damaged Tap Valve
Sometimes, a leaky tap may be due to a damaged tap valve. The tap valve controls the flow of water through the faucet. If it’s worn, cracked, or faulty, water can escape even when the tap is fully closed. Inspecting the valve and replacing it if necessary should resolve this type of leak.
Loose or Damaged Hose Connection
If the leak appears to be coming from the hose connection rather than the tap itself, check for loose or damaged connections between the hose and the tap or washing machine. Tightening the connections or replacing damaged hoses can eliminate the leak.
High Water Pressure
Excessively high water pressure in your plumbing system can put stress on the tap and cause leaks. Installing a pressure regulator or reducing the water pressure can help prevent future leaks.
Corroded or Rusty Tap
In older homes or areas with poor water quality, the taps may have become corroded or rusty over time. This corrosion can compromise the integrity of the spout and lead to leaks. We see this regularly in the older style home on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, particularly those close to the water where the salt air has contributed to the erosion of tapware. Replacing the fixture entirely is the best solution.
Steps to Repair Leaking Washing Machine Taps
Fixing a leaking washing machine tap is a manageable task that can save you money on water bills and prevent potential property damage. Follow these step-by-step instructions to resolve the issue and get your laundry area back to leak-free operation.
Step 1: Safety First
Before starting any repair work, ensure the washing machine is turned off and unplugged from the power source. Additionally, shut off the water supply to the washing machine to avoid any potential water leaks while working. Also, prepare your pliers, wrench, and other necessary tools.
Step 2: Identify the Source of the Leak
Observe the tap to determine the exact location of the leak. Check if the leak comes from the tap handle, body, or hose connections.
Step 3: Remove the Tap Handle
If the leak originates from the tap handle, gently pry off the decorative cap (if present) and use a screwdriver to remove the handle’s screw. Slide off the handle to access the tap assembly.
Step 4: Inspect and Replace the Washer
Once you can access the tap assembly, locate the rubber or plastic washer. This washer is a common culprit for leaks. Check for any signs of wear, cracks, or damage. If the washer is worn out or damaged, remove it carefully and replace it with a new, identical washer. Reassemble the tap handle onto the tap assembly.
Step 5: Check the Tap Valve
If the leak persists after replacing the washer, the tap valve may be the issue. Disassemble the tap further to access the valve. Inspect it for any signs of wear, damage, or debris. Clean the valve if necessary or replace it if it’s faulty.
Step 6: Address Hose Connection Leaks
If the leak is coming from the hose connections, turn off the water supply to the washing machine and remove the hoses from both the tap and the washing machine. Inspect the hoses for any visible damage or cracks. Replace any damaged hoses and reconnect them securely to the tap and the washing machine.
Step 7: Test the Fix
Once you have completed the repairs, turn on the water supply to the washing machine and check for any leaks at the tap and hose connections. Run a short washing machine cycle to ensure there are no further leaks.
Step 8: Final Inspections
Double-check all connections to ensure they are tight and secure. Keep an eye on the tap and hose for a few days after fixing to verify the leak is resolved. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional help.
Factors to Consider When Buying Replacement Washing Machine Taps
When replacing a washing machine tap, choosing the right product is crucial to ensure a leak-free and efficient laundry experience. Here are some essential factors to consider:
Check the specifications and measurements of the current tap to ensure compatibility with the replacement. Look for a faucet that fits the existing connection points and is suitable for the water pressure in your home.
Opt for a tap made from durable and corrosion-resistant materials like brass or stainless steel. High-quality materials will ensure longevity and prevent leaks due to wear and tear.
Type of Tap
Various types of taps are available, such as:
- pillar taps
- mixer taps
- quarter-turn taps
Choose one that matches your preference and meets the requirements of your washing machine.
Some taps use traditional rubber washers, while others have ceramic discs or cartridges. Ceramic disc taps are more reliable and longer-lasting, providing smooth operation and minimizing the chances of leaks.
Consider the lever type and design for ease of use. Opt for a tap with a comfortable and easy-to-operate lever, especially if you have children or elderly individuals using the washing machine.
Water Flow Rate
Check the water flow rate of the tap to ensure it matches your washing machine’s requirements. A tap with a flow rate of around 10 to 12 litres per minute is usually sufficient for most washing machines.
Choose a tap from a reputable and well-known brand. Established brands often offer better quality products, reliable customer support, and warranties.
Set a budget for the tap replacement and look for options within your price range. While quality is essential, there are options available to suit different budgets.
Before purchasing anything, read user reviews and ratings for the tap model and spare part you’re considering. Genuine customer feedback can provide valuable insights into the tap’s performance and reliability.
Most plumbing and drainage products in Australia must be WaterMark certified and installed by a licensed plumber. So make sure the replacement taps you pick have this seal of approval.
Check if the tap or other plumbing fixture comes with a warranty. A warranty can provide peace of mind and protection against any manufacturing defects.
Tips to Prevent Future Washing Machine Tap Leaks
Preventing future washing machine tap leaks is essential to avoid the problems that come with it. By implementing the proactive measures below, you can maintain a leak-free washing machine system and ensure smooth laundry routines:
Perform Regular Maintenance
Conduct regular inspections of the washing machine tap and its components. Check for signs of wear, damage, or leaks and address any issues promptly.
Replace Washers Periodically
Rubber or plastic washers inside the tap assembly can wear out over time. Consider replacing them at least once a year, even if there are no visible signs of damage, to prevent leaks.
Don’t over-tighten the tap handle when shutting off the water flow. This can damage the tap components and lead to leaks.
Check Water Pressure
Excessively high water pressure can stress the tap and cause leaks. Consider installing a pressure regulator to maintain a safe and optimal water pressure level.
Use Teflon Tape
When reconnecting hoses or fittings, apply Teflon (plumber’s) tape to create a secure and watertight seal. This simple step can prevent potential leaks at hose connections.
Inspect Hoses Regularly
Check the washing machine hoses for wear, cracks, or bulges. Replace hoses every 3 to 5 years, even if they seem fine, as a preventive measure.
Properly Store Detergents
Avoid placing heavy objects on the washing machine tap handle, such as detergent bottles. The added weight can cause stress on the tap and lead to leaks.
Use Washing Machine Wisely
Avoid overloading the washing machine, as it can create excessive vibrations that may affect the tap’s integrity. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for load capacity.
Promptly Address Issues
If you notice any leaks or drips, no matter how small, immediately identify the source and fix the problem. Timely repairs can prevent minor issues from escalating.
Install Water Leak Detector
Consider installing a water leak detection system near the washing machine. These devices can alert you to emergency water leaks, allowing you to take swift action before significant damage occurs.
Seek Professional Assistance
If you need clarification on any maintenance or repair tasks, get the service of a qualified plumber or appliance repair technician. They can address issues effectively and provide valuable tips for preventing future leaks.
While a leaking washing machine tap may seem like a minor house issue, it can lead to significant water and financial wastage if left unattended. Therefore, addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent any further consequences. In Australia, professional plumbers are known for their knowledge, reliability and swift and affordable services. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance with this issue.