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Fixing a dripping tap  

A dripping tap is usually caused by a worn tap washer a worn valve or caramic seals. You'll usually need to replace some parts

Turn off the water supply to the individual tap. You may have to turn off the supply to the whole house if there is no means to isolate individual taps. Turn on the tap to make sure no water comes out. NB if you turned off the mains supply and water still comes out then you probably have a water tank which will drain. You could let this drain out, but, draining the tank can often lead to air locks in the pipes so best to try to find a stop cock on the tank and so leaving it with water in.


You need to remove the valve.
Tap designs will vary. But you'll need to unclip or unscrew the screw cover to reveal a screw which holds the tap knob to the valve.

  Unclip tap top with a sharp blade to reveal retaining screw underneath. Unscrew the screw and the tap knob will pull off to reveal the valve.         Here is another type of tap. Its a modern mixer tap with retro styling. The screw cover on this one unscrews to reveal the retaining screw. When you get the knob off you'll also need to unscrew the the valve cover with an adjustable spanner.          

With the valve exposed use an adjustable spanner to unscrew and remove it. It should turn anticlockwise but you may find it quite stiff. You could try some releasing oil like WD40. It's also worth holding the tap with your other hand to stop the whole thing spinning.
NB if you've forgotten to turn the water off this will be when you realise!!!


This will reveal the valve which on traditional taps has a washer on the bottom. These are standard sizes but will vary on the size of the tap. Almost all kitchen sinks and basins have the same taps with bath taps being bigger.

Traditional valve types have a black rubber washer held in place with a screw. Unscrew the retaining screw and fit a new washer. Most DIY stores supply tap washers of varying sizes.Take the old one with you if you aren't sure what the size is. (the size for the ones pictures are 1/2inch.
Refit the valve and switch the water back on.

Most modern valves now have a slightly different arrangement. You'll find a rubber washer on the end but inside the valve body a pair of whiye ceramic discs with holes in. As the tap turns the holes line up to allow water to flow. These can be replaced. Sometimes they can be simply be cleaned up if they have lime scale build up.
Traditional tap valve with screw in washer Modern ceramic disc tap valve with white ceramic discs inside the valve  

If the tap still drips the problem may be with the tap which may have corroded or pitted internally where the washer close onto it.You can buy a kit to fix this. They are easy to use.

Simply screw the re-seater onto the tap having removed the valve. Then press down on the knob and screw approx. five revolutions. The hardened tip grinds the old tap seating smooth again. Or you may want to simply buying a new tap. (see changing a tap)

Tap re-seating tool. Fits several tap sizes
Remember, if you've got a mixer tap which is dripping it won't be obvious if it is the hot or cold which is the problem. It's probably worth looking at both at the same time.