Plink…plink…plink… this is the sound of a dripping tap and a faulty plumbing system. The sound echoes through night and day, making you restless. A drip here and a drop there. It won’t stop ’drip, drip, drip, dripping’. Until the dripping comes in rhythm, it starts to become annoying. It can keep you awake all night. Or it can ruin a whole day, too.
Then, the worry comes.
Water is a valuable resource, and we should conserve it. And a leaking tap, if left undone, will give you a bit of heartache and a lot of headaches. When the leaking tap worsens, your water supply is hampered, and your water bill skyrockets.
In most cases, you only need to change a tap washer with a few tools required, even with zero plumbing experience.
How to change a tap washer? Easier said than done.
But if you get to the bottom of this article and realise a plumbing work like replacing a tap washer isn’t a walk in the park, after all, you don’t think ’Bob’s your uncle. Fixing a leaky tap is a piece of cake! You might want to call a plumber to fix your leaking tap instead.
What is a tap washer?
A tap washer is a small disk that sits inside the tap to seal when turned off. They do wear over time, resulting in leaking taps. Your fixtures may be washerless, but these taps are far less likely to leak.
Tap washers are general wear and tear product. Plumbing work like replacing a washer should be done every 1-2 years. And if your taps are old, replacing them with newer ones can save on your water bill!
Learning to change a water tap washer is fantastic, so let’s go through the steps.
Step 1. Grab your tools
Have you got a toolkit in the shed with a few essential tools like spanners, pliers, a flathead screwdriver and a rag? You’re ready to go!
Step 2. Turn off the water supply
Whatever you do, don’t start messing with those pipes until you turn off the water at the mains. It may not be enough to turn off the isolation valve which you can find on the pipes underneath the affected basin. Unless you want an almighty mess, you’ll probably find the mains with the water meter out front. Turn this until the water supply has been successfully turned off.
Step 3. Empty the pipes
But even when the mains is off, you should still open that dripping tap to empty the pipes that feed into it. If it stops quickly, you’ve turned the mains off and are ready to rumble. And if you’re handling a boiling water tap, you’ll also need to turn the supply off at the hot water system. You can now continue changing the old washer without causing damage.
Step 4. Remove the tap button
Get the tap off so you can access that busted tap washer. The faucet might have a button on the top that holds the handle on — it might be the part that identifies the ’hot’ or ’cold’ water. If it is round or inset, pop it off gently with a screwdriver. Otherwise, you may need a spanner.
Be gentle when removing this to prevent damage to your kitchen or bathroom sink.
Step 5. Remove the handle
Take the tap handle off. Depending on the type of tap, it’ll be as simple as sliding or screwing it off to reveal the inner workings of the tap lying beneath. There are many types of taps often used in Sydney homes. The washer may be different depending on your tap.
Step 6. Remove the tap skirt
If you see a metallic skirt or shroud on the tap, that will also come off. This could be where you need the pliers because some plumbers will have secured them with a sealant.
Step 7. Remove the tap bonnet
Unscrew the tap’s body (or headgear), revealing the plastic or brass jumper inside. You’ll need a spanner or shifter for this.
Step 8. Remove the washer
It’s important to know your tap for more modern tapware tends to have ceramic cartridges instead of rubber washers. Once this valve is removed, you can remove that pesky rubber tap washer. Some pliers with a handy needle nose will work like a pair of tweezers if it’s out of reach. If it’s a typical washer problem, you might see a split.
Step 9. Replace the washer
Now you’ve got that worn tap washer in your hot little hands; it’s time to go to the hardware store for a new tap washer. If the jumper valve looks undamaged, you could get away with only replacing the broken washer. But make sure you take both parts to the shop for the new and suitable replacement washer.
Step 10. Put it back together
With the new washer and jumper valve, it’s time to return everything together again! Slide the new washer into place on the tap stem using needle nose pliers. Screw the tap bonnet on, tighten it with that spanner, and then put the rest of the tap back together in the reverse order of how you took it apart.
Step 11. Get that water flowing
When back together, close the tap entirely before turning the mains water back on. Test the tap a few times when the mains are back on and check that the leak is completely fixed. Turn the tap on for a few minutes to clear any unwanted debris.
Step 12. Celebrate wildly
If everything has gone to plan, you’ve changed the tap washers and stopped the tap leaking. Well done, you’re a pretty handy DIY plumber, after all!
Not only can you replace tap washers now, but you can also replace the sink drain.
This may be a different issue if you are experiencing no hot water.
If you tried to change a tap washer and it hasn’t gone smoothly, don’t beat yourself up — help is on the way.
Fixed Today is an absolute expert in leaking tap repairs and replacements. We can also help with leaky showers, clogged shower drain or taps that are noisy or hard to turn on or off.
If your laundry taps aren’t too damaged, we can repair them by replacing washers, cleaning the spindles, replacing the cartridge in mixer taps, and completing a full service. However, any too old, rusted, or damaged taps must be replaced, which we can also do. Our tap experts can easily access various popular laundry taps of all types and brands, so we can install whatever you want.
A professional plumbing company can fix all your Sydney plumbing problems Today! Get in touch with our professional plumber on 1800 349 338 or send us an email today.