Mixer taps are used throughout the home and are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas that need variable water temperatures. They work by blending cold and hot water into a single stream, allowing you to adjust the output to suit your needs. Sometimes, mixer taps become damaged or the seals wear away with time, causing a leak from the base. In this article, we’re going to learn how to fix a leaking mixer tap leaking from the base to ensure your water flows the way it should.
Why does a mixer tap leak from the base?
There are a few different reasons why a mixer tap might be leaking from the base, but it’s usually the result of some damage, corrosion or wear-and-tear. Regardless of the root cause of the problem, you can categorise mixer tap leaks into two different types of leaks:
- Leaks from above the sink: Although it may look as though the leak stems from the base, it’s common for water to pool at the base with the actual cause of the leak stemming from the swivel joint of the tap.
- Leaks from below the sink: If water is appearing under the sink, then it’s usually the result of a poorly sealed tap at the sink. Make sure to check it isn’t an issue with the plumbing first by checking it for signs of corrosion.
How do you find the leak?
The easiest way to find the source of the leak is to ensure the area is completely dry then hold some paper towels around the base of your mixer tap. Then, turn the water on and see where the paper gets wet first. This should give you a good idea of where the leak stems from.
If you find that water pools up underneath the sink, then you might be dealing with a poorly seated tap that needs to be resealed. If you think that the leak is stemming from the base of the mixer tap from above the sink, then try the paper towel method again to confirm.
How do you fix a mixer tap that’s leaking from the base?
Once you’ve established that the leak is coming from the base of the mixer tap, follow the steps below to fix it:
1. Turn off the water
Make sure the water is turned off before starting any work. You should be able to use the isolation valves underneath the sink to do this. Make sure that you run the water until it stops flowing to clear the pipes.
2. Remove the cap of the mixer tap
The cap is the top of the tap and is most likely the part you turn to switch the water on or off. With that said, there are many different designs of mixer taps so yours may be different.
3. Undo the shroud of the mixer tap
Next, remove the shroud which covers the neck of the tap. This might require a pair of pliers to remove if it’s stuck on tightly or a strap wrench if you have one available.
4. Remove the nut
Use a spanner to loosen and remove the nut from the mixer tap. This holds the mixing cartridge, so removing the nut allows you to access the cartridge. Be careful that you don’t damage the nut while removing it, as you’ll need to source a new one if you do.
5. Undo the cartridge case
The cartridge case is usually tightly affixed to the tap, so stick with the strap wrench to carefully remove the casing. As before, work slowly and don’t use too much force to ensure that you don’t damage the casing.
6. Remove the washer
Underneath the cartridge casing is a washer, which is there to ensure a watertight seal when the tap is in use. Remove the washer and give it a clean if it’s looking dirty. If it’s broken, simply replace it with a new washer of the same size and shape.
7. Put it all back together
Now that you’ve disassembled the mixer tap, it’s time to put it all back together. Work backwards from the steps described above to ensure that all of the components go back to the way they were.
8. Test for a leak
Test the mixer tap when it’s all back together to see if this has remedied the leak. Remember to switch the isolation valves back on and run the water to see if there are any leaks.
What to do if you're still experiencing issues?
If you’re still unsure about what’s causing the leak, or if you’ve had any difficulties with the steps listed above, we recommend calling in a plumbing expert.
If you live in Newcastle, Australia or surrounds, our team at Murphy Plumbing are here to help – all you have to do is give our team of specialists a call today on 02 4963 3922 and we’ll get your mixer tap sorted in no time.