Plumbing Tools

Here’s how to replace a worn-out tap washer:

Step 1:   Turn off the water supply for the dripping tap. Then turn on the tap to release any water in the pipes. Putthe plug of the sink in place to stop any screws or other small objects from going down the plughole.

Step 2:   Most taps have a cap with either red or blue colour (to show whether the tap is hot or cold). Lift this off with the tip of a small flathead screwdriver. Underneath you will find the handle screw which holds the tap together. Undo the screw and lift the tap handle off the spindle.

Step 3:   Select a suitable spanner and untighten the tap valve fully. Grasp the tap spout firmly to prevent it from moving as you loosen the valve. Take out the tap valve (some types of taps have fixed jumpers which can’t be removed).

Step 4:   Some tap washers are held in place with a nut which must be removed to pull off the old washer. If not, the washer can simply be prised off. If you are doing this job for the first time, you may want to keep the old washer so that you know which size to buy when you shop for a new washer.

Step 5:   Before replacing a new washer, lubricate the interior parts with grease or other lubricants      – this makes assembly easier.

Step 6:   Put the new washer in place and reassemble all parts.

Step 7:   If the tap is still leaking, it could be that the tap seat is damaged. While changing the washer, check that the seat for the washer is in good condition. If not, it will need regrinding or you may have to get a complete new tap.

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