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Empty Tank Mud

Rainwater tanks are an excellent addition to any eco-savvy household or business, helping to conserve water and reduce utility bills. However, even the most robust systems can encounter issues, a common problem being leaks from the tank tap.

A leaking tap can lead to significant water loss and undermine the efficiency of your rainwater collection system. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to efficiently identify, troubleshoot, and fix a leaky rainwater tank tap.

Understanding the Source of the Leak

Before you can fix a leak, you need to understand where it’s coming from. There are typically three main areas that could cause your tap to leak:

  1. The spout: where water is dispensed.
  2. The handle: which controls the opening and closing of the valve.
  3. The connection: where the tap meets the tank.

Leaks from the spout or handle are often due to worn washers or seals, while leaks from the connection might be caused by deteriorated thread tape or a faulty gasket.

Water Tank Broken

Tools and Materials You Will Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Teflon tape (also known as plumber’s tape or thread seal tape)
  • Replacement washers and O-rings
  • Gasket sealant (if necessary)
  • A cloth and a small bucket

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing the Leak

Step 1: Inspection and Diagnosis

First, inspect the tap to ascertain the leak’s origin. Turn the tap on and off, observing where water is seeping from. If the water is coming from around the handle when the tap is turned on, it’s likely a washer issue. If the leak is at the connection point to the tank, the seal may be compromised.

Step 2: Shutting Off the Supply

To work on the tap, you’ll need to stop the water flow. If your tank has a valve above the tap, shut this to isolate the water supply. If not, you may need to empty the tank or wait until it’s used up before proceeding.

Step 3: Dismantling the Tap

Using the adjustable wrench, carefully dismantle the tap. For taps with a screw-on design, unscrew the tap from the tank. If nuts are securing the tap, loosen them gently. Once removed, inspect the washer and O-ring inside the tap for any signs of wear or damage.

Step 4: Replacing Washers and Seals

Remove the old washer and O-ring and replace them with new ones. Choosing the correct size and shape is essential to ensure a perfect fit. Apply a thin layer of gasket sealant if needed to enhance the waterproof seal.

Rainwater Tanks Backyard

Step 5: Reapplying Teflon Tape

Clean the threads on the tap and tank for leaks originating from the connection point. Wrap Teflon tape around the tap’s threads in a clockwise direction, which can help create a more secure and water-tight connection when you screw it back in.

Step 6: Reassembling the Tap

Reattach the tap to the tank once the new washers are in place and the Teflon tape is applied. Tighten it by hand first, then use the wrench to ensure it’s snug, but be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the threads or the new seal.

Step 7: Testing for Leaks

Turn the water supply back on or fill the tank to test the tap. Look for any signs of leaking and ensure the tap turns smoothly without resistance. If there are still leaks, you may need to repeat some steps or consider if there’s a crack in the tank itself.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Leaks

Regular maintenance is crucial for preventing leaks. Check your rainwater tank tap periodically for signs of wear and tear, and consider the following tips:

  • Clean the tap and remove any debris or buildup that may cause blockages.
  • Lubricate the tap mechanism as needed to keep it turning smoothly.
  • Inspect the washer and O-ring seasonally and replace them before they wear out.
  • Ensure the tap is not overtightened, as this can wear out the washer more quickly.


What causes a rainwater tank tap to leak?

Common causes include worn washers, damaged valve seats, loose tap fittings, or a faulty tap. Over time, washers deteriorate, allowing water to leak past the valve seal.

Where is the leak coming from?

Determine if the leak comes from the tap handle, head, or body. This can help diagnose the problem. Leaks from the tap head indicate worn washers. Leaks from fittings suggest loose connections.

How can I stop the leak?

First, try tightening the gland nut or fitting, causing the leak. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace washers, valve seats, or the entire tap. Know how to turn off the tank water supply first.

What are tap washers, and how do I replace them?

Washers are rubber or plastic discs that prevent water from leaking past the valve seat. Replacing washers involves shutting off the tank valve, disassembling the tap and fitting new washers of the correct size.

When should I call a plumber about a leaking tap?

If the leak persists after trying to tighten fittings and change washers, the problem may require reseating the valve or replacing parts. At this point, it’s best to call a plumber to fix it properly.

WP Plumbing at Your Service

Leaky rainwater tank taps can be more than just an annoyance; they can disrupt the efficiency of your water-saving efforts. By following the steps outlined above, you can tackle this common issue promptly and maintain the integrity of your rainwater collection system.

However, if you’re uncomfortable tackling this repair yourself or if the problem persists, it’s time to call the professionals. WP Plumbing has a wealth of experience in managing all sorts of plumbing challenges, including rainwater tank tap leak repairs. We’re committed to providing high-quality service and ensuring your plumbing issues are resolved with minimal hassle.

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