Every once in a while we find ourselves with a dripping or leaking tap at our homes. What this usually means is that some part of a tap has to be replaced. In case you want to address this issue yourself, first you should find out what caused it and then take care of it. These few tips can help you in the process.
Removing the Headgear
To begin with, you need to stop the water supply to the tap by switching off water at the service valve or the mains. Make sure that your tap is turned on fully, and put the plug into the plughole in order to prevent certain small parts from going down the waste pipe. Using a flat-head screwdriver, unscrew or lever off the cover of the spindle tap to expose the holding screw, remove the screw and then demount the tap’s head.
Using a spanner, undo the large headgear nut, but be careful not to force it. In case it is not moving, try bracing its body with a pipe wrench, but first wrap it in a cloth so as to prevent your tap from damaging the connecting pipework. If you still find it hard to turn the nut, you can apply a thin layer of penetrating oil on it and wait for 10-15 minutes giving it time to soak well, and then try again. You may have to repeat this procedure several times. You can also use an electric paint stripper to apply heat to the nut, but you must to be extra cautious.
Replacing the Washer
Using a screwdriver, remove the washer. If there’s a small nut holding it in place, unscrew it with a spanner. If you have difficulty doing it, apply a bit of penetrating oil, wait for it to soak in, and try again. In case the nut is still not moving, you can simply replace both the washer and jumper valve in this unit.
Once you’ve fitted a new washer, use a special silicone gel (available at plumbers’ merchants), applying it on the base of your tap before reassembling it. Alternatively, you could also use other grease substances adequate for this purpose, such as Vaseline.
Repairing the Valve Seating
When replacing the washer, inspect the valve seating found within the body of the tap. In case it is scored by grit or a bit rough, the seal between the washer and the seating won’t operate properly, letting water by even with a new washer installed, so should go to a local hardware store and buy a combined washer and seating set. It comes with a plastic seating part made to fit into the valve seating, while the washer unit and the jumper valve will fit into the headgear.
The plastic seating will be placed firmly into position when you turn off the tap. You may have to use your tap effectively for a few days before the new seating gives a fully watertight seal. Another way to repair the valve seating is to grind it by using smooth using a tap reseating tool.
As you can see, fixing a leaking tap is really not that hard. However, if it doesn’t feel like something you are willing to do yourself, you can always call out a professional plumber to address this issue for you.
And if you are interested in more DIY work, check out this lovely article to learn about common bathroom repairs you can do yourself.