A dripping tap can be a major source of annoyance in your home or business. Over time, a leaking tap can cost you money due to water wastage and can even lead to damage within your property. Learning how to change a tap washer is one of the essential skills that will turn you from a DIY amateur to someone who really knows their stuff.
As with any plumbing-related job, it’s important to do the work correctly to ensure everything functions properly and safely when you have finished.
With that in mind, we have compiled this guide to how to replace tap washers. Read on to learn more. Learning how to change a tap washer is a simpler job than you may think, and it can save you money in the long run. Find out how to change a tap washer in 5 simple steps!
Before we start, firstly you need to check your state laws and regulations. As plumbing is a licensed trade in Australia, you should be aware of the laws and regulations in your state. Some plumbing work that is legal in one state may not be in another, so you must check first.
In fact, many of the plumbing jobs that a DIYer may want to do themselves are not permitted in Australia. If you breach these rules, there could be serious consequences.
You will need these few basic tools to replace tap washers:
- Spanner/adjustable shifter
- New tap washer(s)
- Pointy nose pliers
- Screwdriver (for certain types of taps)
- Towels to mop up the mess
Step 1. Turn off the water
Switch off the water at the mains/water meter. Some taps will have stop valves under the bench in the kitchen. If it’s only the hot tap that needs work, you should be able to simply switch off your hot water system. Turning off at the mains is the safest option. Open the tap to drain any water lingering in the pipes.
It’s also a good idea to plug the drain to prevent losing any small screws or pieces down the drain. To protect the sink, place a towel inside it to avoid damaging the surface if you drop something.
Step 2: Remove the screw that holds the tap handle in place
This can usually be found inside the tap by removing the cover of the handle. For some taps, you may need to get underneath the surface they’re installed on to remove them. Once inside the mechanism, remove the spring (if there is one) and the flange cover plate. You can then loosen the tap stem (spindle) and unscrew it to completely remove the unit.
If the packing nut won’t budge, try spraying it with a lubricant like WD-40, then wait 5-10 minutes and try again. If it still won’t move, call a plumber so you don’t cause damage to your sink trying to get it out.
Step 3. Replace Tap Washer
Many tap stems have a small nut or screw that holds the rubber washer in place at the bottom. If you find this, use a screwdriver or adjustable pliers to remove the screw or nut. Then, pluck off the rubber washer with needle-nose pliers.
It is a good idea at this point to take the old washer to the hardware store so you can purchase an exact match. You’ll find rubber washers of practically every size at your local hardware store.
If the washer is very worn, it may stay dislodged in the seat. Use pliers to remove all of it to ensure a clean, clear surface for installing the one. When the seat is clear, place the new washer in the locating hole at the bottom of the tap stem. You can now reinsert the tap stem into the breach and tighten it back up. You can now sit the handle on the spindle and close the tap.
Step 4. Test
Before fully fixing the tap back on, you can test the new washer. Turn the mains back on and open the tap, checking carefully for any leakage around the washer. If all is well, you can remove the handle and reinstall the flange and spring before fixing the handle back in place with the screw on the button nut.
Step 5: Keep an eye while using
From here, be sure to keep monitoring the tap when you use it. It’s unlikely there will be any leakage after your initial successful test, but it’s wise to pay attention for the first day after replacing tap washer.
If your leaking water tap is still a leaking water tap, there’s only one thing left to do: call the friendly professionals at Fawcett Plumbing. We are the local experts in every sort of tap repairs, servicing, replacements – and run-of-the-mill tap washer changing, of course! And if you’re attempt at DIY has created a water-gushing nightmare, we can be at your place 24/7! Give us a call today.