Leaking taps in the kitchen or bathroom can be annoying, how many times have you said to yourself I must get those leaking taps replace or fixed?
Why call in the local plumber when you could do the job yourself, but if you have any doubt then use your local plumber..
Changing taps is not a big job to do if you have the right tools. You need a basin spanner and an adjustable spanner. These are normally all you need to change you’re leaking taps
If you want to try and change the washers then you will also need a small Phillips screwdriver. Most modern taps today are what you call quarter turn, they only turn a little. Taps with washers in, turn about six turns. If your taps are old then I would advise changing for new as the internal working parts start to corrode up over time, and by changing the washers may not stop the leaking, not always but sometime.
If you’re leaking taps are quarter turn they work by having ceramic discs open and close as you turn the lever. Over time the discs get scored by small particles of sand that’s in the water. The sand is so small you cannot see it with your eyes. You can buy replacement bodies for the taps, but you need to know the make and model to get an exact replacement, also you need to make sure you get both hot and cold bodies, as if you try to replace the hot with a cold body it will turn the wrong way. The body replacements are not ver cheap to buy. Sometimes it’s advisable to just change the taps.
If you’re leaking taps are over 5 years then I would advise changing them for new.
To change the taps you need to first switch the water off. If you have stored water in your property i.e. a tank in the loft and a hot water tank in the airing cupboard, then you need to identify the valve that switches the hot water off, then the same for the cold water supply. If you are changing the kitchen taps, then the cold will be through the incoming water main from the street, so you will need to isolate the supply by the stopcock. If you have high pressure water supply to both hot and cold supplies then again go to the main stopcock and turn off.
Open the leaking taps to release any water within the taps, if you are changing the taps upstairs it’s a good idea to open the taps downstairs, that way any water within the pipes will come out of the taps downstairs. It’s a good idea to have a rag that can be placed under the taps to catch any water that may be in the pipes when you remove the taps.
So you have isolated the water supplies to the leaking taps, get you basin spanner and undo the nuts that are on the pipe side that attach to the taps you may find a little water may come out, but as long as you have isolated the water it will stop, it will be less than half a cup. That’s where the rags comes in.
Next undo the nut that secures the taps to the sink or bath with the basin spanner. You can now remove the leaking taps and get ready to fit your new taps.
Now you have the leaking taps removed, you can insert your new taps and start to fit them, first tighten the back nut that secure the taps to the basin or bath. Next before you connect the pipes to the taps check that the fibre washer is in place on the pipe connecter it sits inside the nut that screws to the taps. Now tighten up the nuts, don’t over tighten as this sometimes causes a leak.
Now you have replaced you’re leaking taps with a brand new set, you feel very proud with yourself for changing the taps, now you are ready to turn the water back on. Do one at a time say cold first then the hot. Water now back on, now just check you have no leaks, job we’ll done.
If your taps have flexible hoses that connect to the water supplies it is just the same procedure but instead of ridged pipe you have flexible hoses. As most of us have mobile phones with cameras built in, it’s a good idea to take some pictures before you start to remove the leaking taps, this way if you are not sure you can refer to the pictures.
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