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How to Replace a Tap Washer

Exclusive to Curran Plumbing customers, home handy work guru Jason Hodges walks you through the key steps to solve a very pesky problem – the tap that won’t stop dripping!People of different skill levels can learn to replace a washer using Jason’s DIY video guide.

Tools you will need to fix that dripping tap:  

Tap washers, a shifter (adjustable wrench or spanner), pliers, flat-head screwdriver, tap bonnet cleaner and plumber’s lubricant.

Follow these steps:

  • The essential first step is to cut off the water supply. On all properties, this can be achieved by turning off the water main tap. With newer properties, there may also be an isolation switch under the sink or basin. This switch is a more accessible way to turn off the water to the affected tap, but many play it safe and turn off both their switch and their mains tap.
  •  Locate your water meter – for some apartment owners, it could be in the carpark. The water meter tap, which might look like a lever or a standard tap handle, will turn off the water main.
  •  Leave a ‘test tap’, such as an unaffected garden tap, turned on throughout the process to keep testing mains water flow.
  • Turn the mains tap off or use the isolation switch to stop the water flow to the affected tap.
  •   Remove the top piece of the affected sink taps (turn left to loosen), then remove the rest of the tap tops.
  • Take the opportunity to clean away any gunge on both hot and cold taps as this may have contributed to the problem.
  •  Using a shifter, loosen the nut.
  •  Remove the rubber washer from the affected tap with fingers or pliers – the old washer will probably look flat and worn from the pressure of constant tap-tightening. Remove the other hot or cold tap washer as well so they are updated with plump new washers at the same time.
  •  Before you replace the old washers, make your taps easier to turn on and off by cleaning the tap fittings. Wind the tap spindle all the way in until it comes apart.
  • Use a flat-head screwdriver to get the spindle washers off. Put on two new ones to provide a better seal. Use a lubricant that’s perfect for plumbing fittings to grease the spindle.
  •  To clean up the thread of the tap and provide better connectivity, you can use a tap bonnet cleaner that is available where you buy the new washers.
  • Drop the new washers in, front and centre, and put the tap hardware back together.
  •  Restart the water flow using the water mains and/or switch. Your test tap should indicate water is flowing normally, so you can now turn that off.
  • Your repaired tap should be drip-free, but if the drips soon resume, it’s a case of call the plumber.

The art of fixing a washer is not that difficult to master, and it is a skill that will remain useful to any homeowner over the course of many years. If your taps continue to cause problems or no longer meet the needs of your family members, such as young children and the elderly, give Curran Plumbing a call about upgrading your tap fittings.

Call Curran Plumbing today on 1300 792 082 if you want a professional plumber to deal with the tap that keeps dripping, tap fitting replacements and other home plumbing issues.

Need a plumber? Call Curran.