Stop taps leaking from the middle is a surprisingly common problem that plumbers all around the world are called out to on a daily basis. Thankfully its a pretty simple problem to solve and you should not have to call out your local handyman.
When we mean leaking out of the middle, we are referring to the ‘packing gland’. After a period of non use, stop taps tend to seize up usually after they are moved for the first time in a while. This seizing up usually causes a small drip. Although it is usually not a major problem, many home owners just forget about it and only do something when there kitchen unit is sodden and their floor is damaged.
How To Fix A Leaking Stop Tap
What you will need:
Thankfully, you will only need a few tools which you should be able to find in the shed.
Spanner and grips – A basic adjustable spanner will do the job just fine, but some stop taps are in tighter areas which are obstructed by shelves, waste pipes etc so sometimes a pair of grips can be helpful for some extra leverage.
Plumbers tape – Were afraid this one is not optional, plumbers tape is essential. It can be purchased from any local plumbers merchants or even Amazon. If you have never used it before, check out our tutorial.
Jet Blue / Joint Sealant – This can be optional depending on wether you have any. If plumbers tape alone does not fix the leak, you may have to go and purchase some.
Box Cutter – Can be pretty useful for cutting any excess plumbers tape.
Fixing the packing gland:
- Bed the area down with plenty of towels – The area my already be sodden and to avoid damage to wooden units or floors it is important to dry the area as soon as possible. A small amount of water is also likely to come out of the gland.
- Do you need to turn off the water supply? – Some people opt to turn the stop tap off when working incase the un expected happens. Fortunately, due to the gland being in the middle of the tap, water should not gush out but ensure that you can turn the supply off just incase. If the stop tap is extremely stiff, be sure that you have access to the external cut off point.
- Loosen the packing gland – Using a spanner loosen the small brass nut, after a few turns this will come out pretty easily, do not be alarmed by a small amount of water coming out, this is normal.
- Apply Plumbers Tape – Apply anywhere from eight to ten wraps of plumbers tape, ensure that the tape is tight. Loose wrapping will not fix the leak. If you have some Jet Blue or water sealant then apply a small amount.
- Tighten up the nut – Using a pair of grips for added leverage tighten up the stop tap packing gland until it feels right. Be careful not to over tighten as this could cause damage to the stop tap. Three to four turns past hand tight should be sufficient.
- Dry up and check for leaks – Using a clean towel dry up the area and check for leaks. If you isolated the water supply, now is the time to turn it back on.
- Still leaking? – If leaking still occurs, repeat the steps this time applying more plumbers tape. If this does not do the trick place a small bowl underneath the tap to collect the water and call a local plumber.