The sound of a dripping tap is irritating enough without even thinking about how much water you’re wasting.
Many separate hot and cold taps are the old-fashioned type with a rubber washer fitted to stop water flow. These eventually wear out causing the tap to leak. You can change this type of washer yourself by following the steps below.
If your tap is a single lever tap and you are experiencing dripping – you can buy a replacement cartridge or body washer from Mitre 10 to fix it. We will cover this in the upcoming guide.
Before you begin, turn off the main water supply and drain the water in the pipes. See our guide here for instructions on how to do this if you are unsure how to do this.
Now the water is off, remove the tap cover. This is often the handle which may screw off or a cap on the top of the handle that you can open with a flat lever. If there is a cap you may find a small screw under the cap which you will need to remove. Once the tap cover is loose you should be able to slide the top of the tap off easily.
Next, undo the cartridge in the middle of the tap by grasping the flat surface on each side of the cartridge with the jaws of an adjustable or ring spanner. Lift out once loose.
The washer will be attached to the bottom of the cartridge. Pull the worn washer off the cartridge carefully as it may break into pieces depending how worn it is; you may need to use a pair of pliers.
Clean off any residue on the cartridge with a piece of steel wool then insert the new washer.
Slide the cartridge back into position and use you spanner to tighten in place– finger tight is best.
Replace the tap cover.
Lastly, turn the tap to the off position before turning the main water supply back on.
Choosing A Washer
There are different washers available for separate hot and cold taps so you need to get one that fits your tap.
Blue 15mm and 20 mm washers are suitable for hot and cold taps.
Basin taps are usually 15mm and bath taps 20mm.
Red fibre washers are good for use with hotter water as they are a stronger rubber
Dome washers are a good option if the seat of the tap is a little damaged. This can happen when a tap has been leaking for a while and has caused grooves to appear in the seat so it is no longer smooth and flat.
Washers also come in mixed multipacks which cost only a few dollars so if in doubt about what you need buy a mix pack to save you making an extra trip for another washer.