Find Out How To Change A Washer In A Tap, The Right Way
There’s usually a simple do-it-yourself fix for that pesky, leaking two-handed tap. Learning how to change a tap washer is a relatively uncomplicated process that can quickly be done with the proper tools and a little bit of elbow grease. Whether it’s a constant dripping tap or low water pressure, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work!
Step By Step: How To Change A Washer In A Tap
Here is the step-by-step process on how to change a tap washer. Follow these simple steps, and you will have that pesky leak sorted in no time! (For more plumbing tips & how-to’s check our dedicated plumbing blog!)
Overview Of Tools Required
Now that we’ve laid out the necessary steps for tap washer replacement, here’s a review of all the tools required for the job (you can get any of these from your local hardware store or Bunnings:
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Crescent Wrench
- Needle-Nose Pliers
- Adjustable Pliers
- Paper Towel Or Cloth
- Steel Wool
- Replacement Tap Washer
Step 1: Shut Off Water Supply
You can find the shutoff valves for both hot water systems & cold temperature water located underneath the sink or by turning off the water supply at your main water meter.
Two bendable supply lines connect to the underside of the sink, with the valves sitting at the lower end of each line. Turn the valves clockwise until they close completely.
The shutoff valves might need replacing if the water supply will not fully turn off.
Step 2: Drain Lines & Block Drain Opening
Turn on the hot and cold temperature taps and allow the excess water to drain from the lines. Then, use the sink stopper or a small piece of thick paper or cloth to protect any small equipment pieces from falling through during the repair.
Step 3: Remove The Cover
Wedge the tip of a flathead screwdriver underneath the edge of the tap cover to pry the cover off. There is usually a small indentation in the tap cover that indicates where to insert the screwdriver.
Step 4: Remove Revealed Screw, Then Remove The Handle
Taking off the tap cover reveals a screw that loosens by turning counterclockwise until freed. Determine by the type of screw whether to use a flathead screwdriver or a Phillips. Once that screw is out, the tap handle can disconnect from the tap stem.
Make sure to keep track of this screw and other pieces of equipment you remove, as you will need them to complete the repair.
Step 5: Loosen Packing Nut & Pull Out Tap Stem
Use a crescent wrench to turn the hexagonal packing nut counterclockwise until it releases. This packing nut is commonly too tightly secured to loosen on the first attempt. If this is the case, utilise a lubricant to help loosen it and call a professional if it continues to stay stuck.
Once the packing nut comes free, the tap stem is easily lifted and separated from the sink.
Step 6: Remove Nut Or Screw & Washer
The washer you are replacing should have a nut or screw securing it into place at the bottom of the tap stem. Use adjustable pliers or a screwdriver to remove that piece before using needle-nose pliers to remove the rubber washer.
Step 7: Make Sure The Replacement Washer Is A Match
Tap washers come in a huge variety of different sizes and levels of thickness depending on the type of tap they attach to. Make certain that you are replacing the washer with an accurate match.
Step 8: Replace New Washer & Old Nut Or Screw
Slide the new washer onto the bottom of the tap stem by using the needle-nose pliers or your own hands. Then, place the old nut or screw back into its original spot and re-tighten it to secure the new washer.
Step 9: Clear Debris From Tap Stem & Seat
White limescale and other buildups can occur inside the tap seat opening and on the tap stem surface. Clear away this debris using a paper towel or steel wool so the rest of the tap installs cleanly.
Step 10: Reassemble The Tap
Situate the tap stem inside the tap seat, use the crescent wrench to securely tighten the hexagonal packing nut, install the tap handle over the tap stem, and use whichever screwdriver to tighten the screw holding the handle in place before pressing down the cap until it clicks into position.
Step 11: Turn On Water Supply For Leak Test
Turn the shutoff valves counterclockwise to reactivate the water supply and check for leaking tap water around the bases of both water taps while running the tap at full force for a couple of minutes. After, watch for drips when the tap turns off.
When there are no leaks present, the repair is successful. A professional might need to step in if the sink continues to leak after tap washer replacement.
Tap Washer Information & Types
Stay Across The Different Types Of Tap Washers Here
Tap washers are small discs specifically fitted to the inside of a tap to serve as physical barriers that halt any leaking. Over time, the running water can wear & tear these discs down to the point of having gaps that water escapes from, causing leakage.
When a tap washer reaches this point of weakness, it is important to replace it so the tap system continues to function properly.
Tap washers come in a variety of materials, including:
Rubber washers have notability among professionals that is credited to their longevity, making them very popular. Still, nylon washers are also common and durable.
Ceramic washers appear in newer tap models and function differently than traditional rubber or nylon washers. They fit as a pair of discs that rotate with water flow, and since they are not as commonly used, there are far fewer sizing options than for standard tap washers.
Fibre washers consist of natural material that expands when combined with water. While they function well for leak prevention, operating a tap equipped with fibre washers requires more manual effort.
Final Notes – Know When To Call In The Professionals!
In some cases, a tap repair requires the skill set of a professional plumber. If following the above step-by-step guide does not result in a leakless tap, the tap washer might not be the problem.
Maybe it is something awry within the tap system, or perhaps you broke the tap bonnet during the replacement process that only a trained eye could do properly when fixing your leaking tap. Calling in the big guns might be a good idea if you want to save on water bills.
In other cases, knowing how to change a tap washer is sufficient for repairing leakage and maintaining a functioning tap. For more information about any plumbing maintenance repairs, emergency plumbing work, and any other plumbing service, contact us at Bayside Plumbing.