Drip. Drip. It’s enough to drive anyone nuts. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to if you know how to change a tap washer. The good news is that it’s easier to do than you would think. All it takes are a few basic tools and a small amount of know-how.
You provide the tools and this article will provide you with the knowledge.
First, gather a few simple tools. These are most commonly an adjustable wrench, a flat screwdriver, pliers, a few rubber washers, and some steel wool.
The first thing you will want to do is to turn off the water. This is easily accomplished by closing the valve underneath the sink. Remember the old saying, “Righty tighty, lefty loosey,” to get it right. Turn the valve to the right to turn the water of. After you have done that, turn on the tap to make sure it is off as well as to drain the remaining water from the tap.
Once you`ve made sure that the water is off, you will need to remove the decorative head on the tap. This can usually be done by prying the plate off the top with a flat screwdriver. The only thing that usually holds these on are a few tiny metal clips that spring out when you take it off.
Now, with the cap off, take a screwdriver and remove the screw at the top of the tap. In some cases, this screw is of the Phillips head variety, in which case you will need to get that kind of screwdriver.
Once this screw is removed, you can pull the handle of the tap off. After the handle is off, you will see what is called the packing unit. The top of the packing unit has what looks like a nut on the top. Using your adjustable wrench, set it onto the nut and turn it in a counter-clockwise direction so that the unit is loosened.
After the unit is loose, use your fingers to turn it until it is loose from the tap. Once the unit is free of the tap, pull it out and turn it over. You will see the washer at the bottom of the unit. It is usually black and made of rubber. It is held in place with a tiny screw, which you will want to remove to replace it.
Only a short look at the washer will usually show you what the problem is. This includes washers that are cracked, broken or just corroded. In fact, some washers that are old will practically dissolve in your hand once you take them out.
Regardless, take the washer out and replace it with a new one. Make sure that you insert the new washer in the same manner that you took out the old one since some washers are flat and others are shaped with a wide end or a narrow end. Then re-insert the screw at the end of the unit.
Before you put the packing unit back into the tap, use the steel wool to scour any residue from the threading on the unit as well as inside the tap. After you have rinsed off the unit, replace it into the tap and with your adjustable wrench, turn it clockwise to tighten it into the tap. Make sure that you don’t over-tighten the unit since it can break the tap.
Now replace the tap handle as well as the screw in the top that holds it in place. Next, replace the decorative top by putting it onto the handle and pressing it into place. Finally, turn on the water from the valve underneath your sink.
If you have done your job right there should be no leaks anywhere in your tap. If, on the other hand, you do have a leak somewhere in the washer socket, you will need to go back and redo the process, perhaps this time using plumber’s putty in the threading of the packing unit.
There you have it. Your tap washer has been replaced so the leaks that were driving you nuts are now a thing of the past. You have just learned how to change a tap washer as inexpensively as possible.
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