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Effective and timely tap maintenance is essential if you want to keep your domestic plumbing (and your home for that matter) in fault-free, good running order. Most of the time, broken or leaky faucets don’t necessarily cause property damage, but there is a chance that unattended tap problems can possibly lead to flooding, and leave you with a steep damage tally to cover.

Most of the time, basic tap maintenance is all that’s required to keep your faucets working properly and avoid all that can go wrong. Now before you attempt any self-administered tap maintenance or DIY repair work, consider the scale and complexity of the problem. If you think it’s more than a leaky tap you are dealing with, perhaps you ought to call in qualified plumbers. If however, you feel confident in your skills and knowledge grab your tools and read on below for some easy and effective tap maintenance tips.

Basic tap maintenance procedures:

  • Households faucets need to be serviced at least once every two years, though this depends on local water pressure and day to day use – sometimes annual basis maintenance might be in order;
  • Switch off water supply and detach the faucet from the wall water outlets; do this carefully as there will be leftover water in the plumbing though there should be no water pressure;
  • Disassemble the faucet and remember the order in which parts are to be reassembled – missing a single washer will be a problem;
  • Clean all elements of the faucet and remove any residue, mould, built up etc. – this is best done using hard bristle brush, perhaps a small amount of degreaser too;
  • Replace all existing O rings with new ones – sometimes rings might appear sound, when in fact they are hardened and rotting thus the cause of your leaky tap;
  • If the tap washer seems worn and tired, replace the part with a new brass one.
  • In all cases, you must lubricate the faucet spindle, do this using a quality lubricant that has high water resistance as you don’t want the grease to be washed away too soon;
  • Check if the tap fits properly in its seat, if you see gaps around the seat try and reseat the faucet, the better you do this the less chance of leak later on;
  • If performing maintenance on shower faucets, seal the shower spindles with a small amount of silicone before reassembly;
  • Carefully reassemble the faucet in the order you disassembled it, if there are any parts leftover – go back and do it again, you missed something;
  • When switching water supply back on, do so gradually and slowly in case there is a problem with the faucet you just fitted back on; doing it this way will potentially save you a lot of mopping up;

Additional plumbing advice:

  • If the tap won’t turn off and you don’t know where the main water supply valve is, call in qualified plumbers immediately, it will cost you a bit but it will save your home from extensive flooding damage;
  • The more often you replace washers and O rings the less chance of leaky taps or broken faucets which can be a real problem;
  • Don’t skip on lubricating the spindle/s as good lubrication will prolong the life of the faucet and prevent unexpected problems;
  • In case you require a replacement spindle, it might be better to call in qualified plumbers as many manufacturers go out of business or faucet styles are discontinued which means replacement spindles won’t be readily available;
  • When replacing tap spindles, it is best to replace the faucets or as many of them as possible at once in order to maintain matching sets and unify maintenance scheduling and procedures.

A leaky tap will waste anywhere between thirty and two hundred litres of fresh water per twenty four hours – and these are the numbers for a single tap only, imagine if there were two or three leaky taps throughout the property. Wasting precious water translates to wasting money on unnecessarily high water bills, so the sooner you deal with the problem the more money you save.

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Scott Fiori

Phone: 619-985-8204

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Scott has been " San Diego Emergency Plumber " for over 20 years.

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