Replacing a tap washer

You will need to replace a tap washer if the tap is still running or dripping even when it is turned off.

tap with handle removed to reveal washer 

First of all turn off the main water supply at the stopcock. This is usually where the water pipe enters the house or near the kitchen sink. For a bath or basin tap you can sometimes turn the water off at the gatevalve on the cold-water tank. To turn off the hot water system shut off the gatevalve leading to the hot water cylinder and make sure the water heating system is turned off. Open the taps and drain the water out of the system. When the water is drained out of the system place a cloth in the basin or bath over the plughole or put the plug in to catch any parts. Remove the tap head by undoing the retaining screw and the protective head screw. On covered heads prise off the central disc cover to expose the screw.

If water is seeping through the spindle tighten the gland nut a little. If water is dripping from the spout, undo the main nut, lift out the tap assembly, loosen the fixing nut and replace the washer. Reassemble the tap insuring that all nuts and screws are tightened. Turn on the water and check the tap is working properly.

Adjusting a ball valve

The ball valve in the water tank or toilet cistern will need adjusting if the water flow is dripping or running or the tank or cistern is not filling up.

 ball valve in the toilet tank

Remove the tank or cistern lid.

You can stop the flow of water temporarily by closing the appropriate service valve by turning the screw a quarter of a turn or by placing a piece of wood across the top of the cistern and tying the float arm to it.

Lift up the ball float and check if the water flow stops. If the water flow does not stop the ball valve may need to be replaced or the washer replaced. If the water flow stops the ball valve needs adjusting. Turn the adjusting screw on the float arm a couple of turns and tighten the lock nut. Let the cistern fill and check the new water level. Adjust the screw on the float arm further if necessary until the correct water level is achieved.


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