How to Repair Old Taps

How to repair old taps with a plastic or brass washer?

Turn the water off!

1: First of all you need to work out what type of handles you have and how on earth you are going to get the tap handles off. Tap handles that have a “x” or “t” handle will have either a lock nut on the top which is easy to work out and others will have a two slotted locking nut that sits underneath the handle and is unlocked by using a small spanner thingy with two turned up ends that slot into the tap lock nut and go around the spindle shaft.

Put the slotted spanner against the spindle and lift it up towards the underside of the tap handle and turn it until the spanner slots in. Then you can undo the tap handle successfully.

Other tap handles require a very small screwdriver to lift up the top plastic cover so as to get underneath to the locking nut on the top side of the tap.

Reading this you are probably thinking forget it and just let the tap drip. Don’t worry it is not that hard.

2: Now you need to remove the tap flange over the tap body that holds the washer inside. This can be tricky if it has been untouched for many years or over tightened the last time it was fixed.

To protect the flange from getting scratched you are best to use your hands around the base of the tap. Generally having the thumb and index finger closest to the basin is your strongest grip. Turn this as hard as you can anti-clockwise. It should crack any of the soap build up hopefully. If not get a rubber something or hammer and gently tap the base of the tap spindle whilst applying pressure with your hand in a anti-clockwise motion.

Patience, Patience. It will let go and you will not have damaged your tap. Worst case scenario use a pair of multi-grips around the base, but protect the base with a strong rubber mat or fabric. Last resort.

3: The next step with how to repair old taps is to use a shifter or your multi-grips to undo the tap from the Breaching Tee or the pipes that go under the basin. Be careful not to twist the pipes that are under the basin when undoing the tap from above.

4: move the tap washer from the spindle and tap body. Unscrew the spindle from the tap body. Remove the old O’rings from the spindle using a very small screwdriver or similar tool. Use a spindle cleaning to remove hard build up from inside the tap body. Use a wire brush to clean the spindle right up. Doing these two last processes makes the tap turn nice and easily with the tips of two fingers.

Now get a tap washer reseating tool and put inside were the tap came from. Turn this in one direction and look every so often to see if the old tarnished brass has all been cut away and is now clean new brass. Do not leave it looking like only half or three quarters have been shaved but you must shave the hole circle. This is the surface that the washer presses on and if it is not level or square it will start to leak earlier then later on the section that has not been shaved.

Put new O’ring on to the spindle.

5: Put everything back together in the reverse to how it came out. Apply and rub in a decent amount of non toxic grease to the threads and O’rings on the spindles. Excess grease will ooze out.

6: Replace the old red fibre washer with a new one.

7: Do not over tighten. The red fibre washer will swell and seal. Use a good quality brass washer.

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