How To Fix a Broken Tap

Workshop  /   /  By eseandre


So you have a broken tap, and you are probably worried about the water leaking out leaving unsightly stains on your appliances or about the water wasting, first of all, you should know that fixing a broken tap doesn’t have to be a herculean task as long as you understand the basics.

Firstly, what parts make up the tap head; the tap is made up of the handle, the flange, the bonnet, the tap spindle, the o-ring, washer, tap valve and the seat. Although taps can have different head and handle designs, these are the basics for many. If you are not clear on this part, it is advisable you consult a professional.

As with many tap leaks, it is usually caused by a worn out washer or o-ring, so most likely those are the parts that would need replacement. Before purchasing your replacement, you should cut off the water supply to the tap by turning the stop valve, which is usually located underneath the sink or several inches down the pipe. If you do not have a stop valve you will have to turn it off at the mains after that you should allow the remaining water in the pipe to run out completely which you could collect in bowls.

After the pipe has been successfully drained, it is time to uncouple the head, which can be done by loosening the handle screw, which is often hidden under the cap head. Means of accessing the screw vary with tap head design; you can simply lift some up with your hands while others might need the help of simple tools like a slot head screwdriver or an Allen key.

Unscrewing it will allow you take out the head, after dismantling the tap head, try to arrange the pieces in a line in the same order it was removed to avoid confusion when coupling. Locate what part of the tap needs replacement (most likely the washer or the o-ring) and take it along with you to the shop for purchase. There are two types of washers; the ceramic washer and the rubber washer and both of them perform the same function. One way of telling what type is on the type without uncoupling is to turn the tap head, a tap with a rubber washer will turn to a fuller degree than one with a ceramic washer, which will only turn about 90. However, it is still better to take the parts with you.

An old o-ring can simply be removed either by cutting it off or by stretching a part of it out using a slim metal or a slot head screwdriver and guiding it out. After that, the new o-ring can be carefully rolled in place. The O-ring is usually located at the base of the spout.

A similar technique is applicable if you need to change the washer, except that unlike the o-ring, the washer will be either pressed in place or held with a nut and can easily be removed using a screwdriver. Any other part that needs replacement can also be done.

After replacing the worn-out parts, you can go ahead to assemble the tap back together and test your job which shouldn’t be difficult if you have arranged them out in a line.

Although fixing a broken tap may be somewhat easy, care should be taken in maintaining the tap. Damage to washer and o-rings can be caused by excessively tightening the tap, understand that it is normal for a few droplets to escape after a tap

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