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How to fix a dripping tap
A dripping tap isn't just a problem for perfectionists; it's also a waste of water. And if you're metered, that means it's a waste of money, too. Luckily, there's an easy fix. These simple steps will take you through everything you need to do to learn how to change a tap washer.
1. Check if it's an old-fashioned tap...The type of tap you have should tell you which type of washer you'll need to replace. If your tap looks like this one, it's the old-fashioned type of tap.
2. ...Or a modern oneIf your tap looks more like this, it's probably one of the modern ones.
3. Modern taps have ceramic washersTest the flow of water from your tap by turning it on. If the water comes out at full power after just a half or quarter-turn of the handle, it's probably a modern tap with ceramic washers.
4. Old-fashioned taps have rubber washersBut if you have to go through a full turn before the water comes out at full power, it's probably a traditional tap with rubber washers.
5. Rubber washers are easier to replaceIf you've got a tap with ceramic washers, it can be difficult to find the right replacement, and you should probably get an expert in to take a look. But if your tap has rubber washers, you can find replacements at most good DIY stores, and we can show you exactly how to change the tap washer.
6. Get your tools ready
To replace a rubber tap washer, you'll need:
- some protective gloves and glasses
- a screwdriver
- a spanner or adjustable wrench
- washers that are the right size for your tap
7. Shut off the waterTo avoid a disaster, turn off the water supply at the stopcock, and then turn on the tap until no more water comes out.
8. Take off the top of the tapUsing the screwdriver, carefully prise the cover off the top of the tap to reveal a screw. Undo this screw, and the whole top of the tap should lift off, exposing the valve fitting.
9. Remove the valve fittingUsing your spanner or an adjustable wrench, loosen the nut at the base of the valve fitting, unscrew it and lift the whole valve fitting out of the tap.
10. Take off the rubber washerYou can now slide the rubber washer off the bottom of the valve fitting. If it's a bit stiff, you can use the end of your screwdriver to work it loose. There are different sizes of washer, and it's important to pick the right one, so compare the one you've taken off with the ones you have available.
11. Stick on your new washerPut the old washer to one side so you don't get confused, and then push your new washer into position where the old one used to be.
12. Put your tap back togetherScrew the valve fitting back into the tap and tighten the nut. Place the top of the tap back over the valve fitting and tighten up the screw. Then just pop the tap cover back on top, and you've successfully changed your tap washer.
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