DIY Dave: How to fix a dripping tapBy DIY Dave
June 15, 2012
Dripping taps are a nuisance to everyone.
They are made worse by jamming the tap off as hard as you can (anyone with a teenager or indeed old taps in the house will know this).
Luckily this is a fairly easy problem to resolve.
You will need:
A cross-head screw driver
An adjustable spanner
Take a look at the picture – this is what we're going to do and the steps we are about to take.
Do bear in mind though that taps these days come in many different shapes and sizes. Whereas here I have given pictures of a 'generic' washer replacement, your particular tap arrangement may differ although you should be able to transpose the general principle here.
If in doubt though – do take a trip to your local plumbers merchant or DIY store as they will be able to offer on-the-spot advice for your specific tap and washer.
TIP Put the plug in the basin plug-hole. Parts of the tap can be very small and you can be sure they WILL fall down your plug hole and into the murky depths of your drainage system, never to be seen again.
Locate and turn off the isolation valve for the tap you need to repair – if in doubt ask at your local plumbers merchant.
Prise off the cap from the top of your tap (these sometimes unscrew).
You will see a screw in the hole – this holds the tap top on to the tap barrel – remove the screw and lift off the tap top.
TIP for undoing screws - “rightie tightie, leftie loosie”
Take your adjustable spanner and remove the tap barrel from the tap body. Depending upon how much calcium build-up you have this may be quite stiff to remove.
With the barrel removed you will see the round rubber washer. It will either be shredded or have a deep groove worn around it – this is why it drips and doesn't seal the water flow completely.
The old washer can quite easily be either prised out of its seating or there may be a small nut holding in position – remove this and the washer.
There are many different sizes of tap washer in use so a quick trip to your local plumbers merchant and they'll have you skipping back home with the correct replacement washer in no time.
Clean the area and fit your new washer.
Reassemble the tap in the reverse order from when you took it apart earlier. TIP When refitting the barrel into the tap body – tighten just finger tight and then an extra quarter turn with the adjustable spanner.
Check there are no bits left-over in the basin.
If you have one, get a teenager to stand over the basin whilst you turn the water back on at the isolation valve – if there is a problem and they get soaked, it will wake them up and help them to feel useful.
Test the tap (don't turn it off too tightly or it will begin to harm the new washer).
Have a cup of tea and a custard cream – well done you.
There are ways to re-seat the washer if it is the body of the tap which has become corroded and is not sealing even with a new washer – I shall cover this task in a future edition.
Next week we will put up a shelf with brackets screwed to the wall.
Do let me know if you'd like me to suggest places to purchase tools and hardware needed for these DIY tasks and I'll see what I can do.
Also see www.diydavediy.blogspot.com