A leaking tap might seem like a minor nuisance, but it’s actually a problem that can have far-reaching consequences. Ignoring a leaking tap can lead to environmental issues, financial losses, and even structural damage to your property. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of fixing a leaking tap immediately and how to determine whether you should tackle the problem yourself or call in a professional plumber.

The Environmental Impact of a Leaking Tap

Water Wastage

A dripping tap may appear harmless, but the cumulative effect of this wasted water can be staggering.

Within Australia, according to Sydney Water, on average each person in Sydney uses about 200 litres of drinking quality water every day. Worsening leaks caused nine per cent of the 570,643 megalitres supplied by Sydney Water in 2018/19 to go down the drain.

Sydney Water also states that just one leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres of water every month. They provide tips to prevent water wastage, our favourites include:

  • Put a plug in your sink or fill a basin to wash vegetables – don’t use a running tap.
  • Wait till you have a full load of washing before you reach for the detergent.
  • Thaw frozen food in the fridge or microwave, not under a running tap.

Within America, according to data published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of their annual Fix a Leak Week, “household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide“. They go on to state “The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.” This wasted water puts a strain on our already limited freshwater resources and contributes to water scarcity in many regions.

Energy Consumption

When water leaks, it’s not just the water that’s wasted; energy is wasted as well. This is particularly true for hot water taps, as the energy required to heat the water is also lost. Moreover, water treatment and distribution require energy, so every drop that goes to waste is a squandered resource.

The Financial Implications of a Leaking Tap

Increasing Water Bills

A leaking tap can significantly increase the cost of your water bills over time, meaning less money in your pocket and more money being paid to your water supplier. The constant drip adds up, and you may end up paying for thousands of gallons of water that you never actually used. Additionally, if the leak is in a hot water tap, you’ll be paying extra for the energy required to heat that wasted water.

Potential Property Damage

Unchecked leaks can cause more than just financial strain – they can also lead to serious property damage. Prolonged exposure to moisture can result in the deterioration of your home’s structure, including wood rot and the growth of mould, mildew and bacteria. Such growth can lead to health issues including disease.

In some cases, this damage may even require costly repairs or renovations. At times, a leaking tap may even cause damage to nearby walls, especially in your bathroom and kitchen where space can be limited. It is because of this that we recommend that most tap leaks are treated like an emergency so that any potential damage can be avoided.

How to Identify a Leaking Tap

Signs of Leakage

Some signs of a leaking tap are obvious, like the sound of dripping water or a wet spot under the sink or on the floor. However, other signs might be less apparent, such as an unusually high water bill or mould growth in the area surrounding the tap.

Common Causes of Leaks

Leaking taps can be caused by several issues, including worn-out washers, damaged seals, or corroded valves. Identifying the root cause is crucial to fixing the problem and preventing future leaks.

O-rings

O-Rings and Their Role in Leaking Taps

O-rings are an essential component of many tap mechanisms, helping to create a watertight seal and prevent leaks. These small, rubber rings are located within the tap assembly, usually around the valve stem. Over time, O-rings can wear out or become damaged, leading to water seeping out around the tap handle or base.

A worn or damaged O-ring is a common cause of leaking taps, and replacing it is often a simple and effective solution. To replace an O-ring, you’ll need to disassemble the tap, remove the old O-ring, and install a new one of the appropriate size. Make sure to turn off the water supply before starting any repairs, and consult your tap’s manufacturer guidelines for specific disassembly instructions.

If you’re unsure about the process or unable to locate the issue, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber to assess and repair the problem.

Fixing a Leaking Tap: DIY or Professional Help?

DIY Fixes

If you’re handy around the house, you might be able to fix a leaking tap on your own. Don’t attempt ‘temporary’ solutions like the use of gaffer tape, go for a permanent solution. Common DIY solutions include replacing the washer, tightening connections, and applying plumbers tape to seal threads. Before attempting any repairs, make sure to turn off the water supply to the tap and gather the necessary tools and materials.

When to Call a Plumber

While some tap leaks can be fixed with a bit of DIY know-how, more complex issues may require the expertise of a professional licensed plumber. Just because you own a wrench doesn’t mean you’ll be able to successfully fix a leak – there can be complexities with different tap makes and models. If you’ve attempted repairs but the leak persists, or if you’re unsure of the cause of the leak, it’s best to call in a leaking tap expert who can service the tap immediately with spare parts they have in their van and fix the leak long-term. Additionally, if the leak has caused significant damage to your home or if you suspect there’s a more extensive plumbing problem, a plumber’s expertise will be invaluable in identifying and resolving the issue.

In our experience, fixing a leaking tap immediately is crucial to prevent water wastage, reduce energy consumption, and avoid financial losses and property damage. By identifying the signs of a leak and understanding the common causes, you can take appropriate action – whether that means tackling the problem yourself or calling a professional plumber. Don’t let a seemingly minor issue turn into a major headache; address leaking taps promptly to protect your home and the environment.