Fix a Leaking Tap with DIY
Rule number 1: read all of this article before attempting to mend your dripping tap.
Rule number 2: if after reading this you still do not feel confident enough to attempt the job yourself, then it is always advisable to call a professional.
If you decide to go ahead and try it, you are likely to require:
– A manual screwdriver (depending on your fittings, this may be flat-headed or cross-headed);
– A spanner – preferably one that you can adjust the size of;
– A new bag of various sized washers;
Depending on the type of tap, its condition and the type of problem identified – you might need to buy a new cartridge.
You will also need to locate the stopcock and/or isolation valve between your tap and its water supply. Generally, these can be found beneath the sink.
1.) Before you attempt to fix the leak, it is important to turn off its water supply using the stopcock and/or isolation valve.
2.) Now turn on the tap in order to release any water left in the top of the pipe.
Taps come in all shapes and sizes, but generally they fall into one of two common types: they tend to be either the old-fashioned traditional taps – one hot and one cold; or what is known as a monobloc lever tap. These have a single lever that controls both the flow and the temperature of water.
Over time, the washers in traditional taps tend to deteriorate and need to be replaced. Monobloc lever taps have internal cartridges that occasionally require replacement. As a rule of thumb – the more expensive the tap fitting: the more expensive the replacement cartridge is likely to be.
3.) The first challenge you will encounter will be finding the screw inside the handle of the tap that holds its components together. This can usually be found under the decorative cap on top of the tap handle. You will probably need a flat-headed screwdriver and/or an adjustable spanner to unscrew this, or you might find that you can remove it by hand.
Often the case with monobloc lever taps, there will be a tiny screw below the the button that indicates the water’s temperature.
4.) Before removing anything, put the plug in the sink to prevent any small, important components falling down the plughole.
5.) Remove the screw.
6.) Remove the tap head (the bit that you turn to make water come out of it) as well as any covering around the neck of the tap (sometimes known as a shroud) to reveal a valve or spindle that is usually made of brass.
7.) Using an adjustable spanner, hold the central hexagonal nut and unscrew the spindle whilst bracing the tap spout with your other hand to stop the tap from twisting and bending the pipes underneath.
8.) There are usually two washers – as they are relatively inexpensive, it is advisable to replace them both. You can take the spindle to a plumbers’ merchant and ask for the appropriate washers, or you can select them yourself from a bag of assorted washers available from most hardware stores.
9.) Once the washers have been replaced, reassemble the tap and turn the water supply / isolation valve back on.
10.) Turn the tap on and off again and assess whether you have fixed the leak.
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