Do you have a leaky tap at home that is dripping or difficult to close? In most cases, a leaky tap is the result of a faulty washer. The good news is this is something a home handyman can take care of by following the right steps on how to change a tap washer.
Now, it is possible you have a “washerless,” tap – that is a tap with a ceramic disc mechanism, a ball or a cartridge, although it’s unlikely as washerless taps rarely drip. Your tap uses a ceramic disc mechanism if you open at a quarter or half turn and the tap is fully opened.
It is not a tricky task to replace a broken tap washer in a leaky tap. It is a plumbing task which is not regulated by law, so DIYers have the all clear. However, contact a plumber if you are not sure about how to fix it after reading these steps.
Firstly, some of the vital plumbing tools you will need for the operation include:
- A spanner set
- Shifting wrench
- Set of pliers
- A couple of cloths
- Teflon tape
Ok, time to get to work!
How to perform tap washer replacement?
1. Switch off the mains water source
Be sure to to close your mains before you disassemble the tap; otherwise, you will be creating a big mess for yourself and you can add a mop to the list of tools! Typically, you will find the tap for your water mains at the front side of your home close to the water meter, and for those living in an apartment or flat, it can be located in the bathroom or the laundry. Furthermore, it is pertinent to off the water supply at the hot water service. Within some bathrooms, you may find an isolation valve beneath the sink inside the vanity with which you can isolate the taps.
While you’re there, check if your hot water system is leaking, just in case of hot water problems on the horizon.
2. Get rid of the leftover water
After you have closed your mains, turn your tap and allowed the remaining water to flow out. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. However, if the water flow lasts longer, it is likely that you haven’t closed the mains properly. Immediately the water stopped flowing, insert the plug to ensure that none of the essential elements is lost through the drain.
3. Cover the sink hole
Before you pull anything apart, cover the sink with a cloth so you don’t end up having to unblock a sink drain!
4. Take off the button from the tap’s head
For tap with a button that holds the handle (mostly, it shows “hot” or “cold”) you will need to remove it. Some tap’s construction might demand the gentle use of a screwdriver for this operation.
5. Remove the handle from the tap
This operation depends on the type of tap; however, in most cases, it involves unscrewing an element to reveal the taps mechanism.
6. Get rid of the skirt or shroud
As for taps with metallic shroud, you will have to remove it. If the shroud is screwed tightly or completely sealed with silicone, then you will have to use two pliers or wrench to remove it.
7. Remove the tap bonnet with spanner or shifting wrench
You have to unscrew the tap’s body (the headgear) completely. Once you remove it, be sure to to keep it safe at one side. Afterwards, you will see the jumper valve within the tap if it has not been removed with the headgear – in this case, it is either made of plastic or brass.
8. Take off the washer as well as jumper valve
It is advisable to use needle-nosed pliers or tweezers set if you can’t reach it with hand. By now, you should be able to figure out the faulty spot. One of the common problems is a split washer.
9. Get a suitable replacement of your washer from a local hardware store
Sometimes, you might see jumper valves with washers attached. Jumper valves are usually made in brass or plastic. Depending on the condition, you may have to replace the two elements together or only the faulty washer if the other part is still good. Since they are made in different sizes, it is recommended to take the jumper valves and the washer along while going to the hardware store for a replacement.
For most domestic taps, the standard dimension is 12mm diameter; however, some may come in 15mm size or higher. While comparing, take note that a split washer will look larger than the original one. If your tap had a shroud, it is best advised to buy some silicone for resealing to avoid mould growing inside the tap over time.
10. Replace the washer and reassemble the tap
Put in the washer and the jumper valve. Afterwards, screw the tap bonnet and tight it closely with a spanner or wrench. Reassemble the tap but, do not add silicone to the skirt unless you have made sure that the problem has been resolved.
11. Lock the tap and open the water at the mains
Ensure that the tap is closed, then, open the water flow from the mains.
12. Check the tap
After you have opened the mains, turn on the tap and off it to see if it is still leaking. Once you are sure that the problem has been solved, then, remove the handle and skirt to add the bead of silicone carefully to its bottom before you will seal it again (if your tap model possesses one).
No more dripping? Congratulations on fixing your leaking tap!