Leaking Taps

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A tap that leaks from its spout needs the main washer renewing.

If it is leaking from around the shield, the tap gland needs attention. To replace the main washer you will have to cut off the supply and drain the pipe. A gland can be reset without cutting off the supply.

Cross-type handles are removed by loosening the grub screw that locks them to the tap spindle. Modern streamlined tap handles may be secured by a grub screw or a screw hidden under a snap-on ‘H’ or ‘C’ button, or simply be held on the spindle by an internal spring clip.

To avoid damaging the plating on a tap shield when unscrewing it, tape the jaws of your spanner.

If the shield is very stiff, a kettle of boiling water poured over it will usually free it. With the ‘works’ exposed, unscrewing the largest nut will release the complete tap mechanism and the main washer will be on the bottom end of the spindle. As the washers can differ slightly in style, it’s safer to take the related bits to the shop and ask for a matching replacement.

You might cure a leaking gland by slightly tightening the gland nut – that’s the small one near the top of the spindle. If this doesn’t work, unscrew the nut completely and replace the washers and hemp packing around the gland. Make rough sketches or notes as you dismantle the tap so that you can be sure of putting the bits back in the correct sequence.

To re-washer a Supatap open the tap a little and slacken the lockout. Water will flow momentarily until the check valve drops into place. Now remove the tap nozzle and press its outlet against a hard surface. This releases an anti-splash device that also houses the washer. These combined components will fall out when you turn the nozzle upside down.

Click the new washer into its seating in the anti-splash moulding, replace the anti-splash device in the nozzle, washer uppermost, and reassemble.