Re-washering a tap

Taps have washers so that when you close them the seal is watertight. It would not be were metal to meet metal without the interposed washer. Water dripping out of a tap is a sign that the washer is defective.

To replace a washer:

1. Shut off the water supply.

2. Remove the shield of the tap. If you cannot unscrew it by hand and must use a spanner, protect the shield with a rag.

3. Loosen the hexagonal gland nut and lift the top of the tap right away from its body.

4. At the base of the top you will see the washer held in place with a small nut. Unscrew this nut.

5. Take off the old washer and replace it with a new one, making sure it is seated properly and that no dirt remains to impede its action.

6. Replace the tap and check that it is working properly.

There are various sizes of washer. Some washers are suitable only for cold taps, others only for hot taps but it is

possible to buy dual-purpose washers.

Should water ooze out of the top of the tap shield, the gland nut may need to be tightened. There is no necessity to shut off the water supply. Do not over-tighten the gland nut. Half a turn should suffice. If water still oozes out, the gland may need re-packing. Remove the tap head, the shield and the gland nut. Then repack around the spindle, using plumber’s hemp or string on to which you have rubbed vaseline.


A Supatap can be re-washered without having to turn off the water supply. The washer on a Supatap is a combined jumer and washer.

1. To reach it, take off the whole nozzle by slackening off the nut at the top. Don’t worry if water starts to flow: it will soon stop.

2. You will see a flow straightener. Prise this out by pushing something such as a pencil up the other end of the nozzle.

3. Now prise the combined jumer and washer free.

4. Press the new one into the flow straightener until you hear it click.

5. Replace the whole unit in the nozzle and screw the nozzle back in place.

6. When it is almost closed, re-tighten the locking nut and close the tap fully. Note that the thread on a Supatap nozzle is “the wrong Way round- (i.e. you slacken it by turning it anticlockwise when viewed from the top).

Mixer tap.

Mixer taps vary in construction. On a typical one:

1. Lever up the apron, a press fit sealed with a rubber washer.

2. With a pair of pliers pinch together the jaws of the circlip so that the whole arm can be lifted clear.

3. Lift out and replace the washers.

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