Tommy’s Tips: Plumbing Problems

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One of my biggest pet hates is a running overflow pipe, and they generally tend to run unabated for months before they’re fixed. If running water is not attended to as a matter of urgency, the collateral damage can be quite extensive, and expensive to repair, ironic then that the original problem is normally a simple rubber washer replacement about 10p!  for some reason, we tend to leave a dipping tap for ages before repairing it, which could result in permanent staining to the sink, bath, or hand basin, and if you happen to be on a water meter, it may cost you a small fortune with all those litres of fresh water pouring down the plughole! To me it’s just morally wrong, and I do tend to become a bit of an ogre in my house, if anyone leaves a tap running, or doesn’t quite turn a tap off properly! Such a waste of a precious resource!

The family bathroom is directly next to our bedroom, and a dripping tap is the same as having a ticking clock in the bedroom, Chinese torture, and I can’t abide it!

There’s a few different reasons for a dripping tap, all are fairly simple to resolve.  The busiest tap in the home is the kitchen sink, our fresh drinking water source, and most of us now have a mixer tap for convenience so that’s what I’ll deal with! First, turn off the mains water supply, if the tap is leaking from the base of the spout, remove the spout. Then prise off the circlip at its base, check and replace washer at the base of the spout. Next, prise the head cover of the tap off.  Then remove the shrouded head from the tap exposing the retaining screw, (if there’s no screw, the head should just pull off) exposing the spindle.  An adjustable spanner is required to remove the spindle headgear, then remove the spindle itself.

There are normally two “o rings” if worn, will leak water from the top of the tap-shroud.  At the bottom of the headgear, is a rubber tap washer held on with a nut.  Undo the nut and replace this washer if the taps dripping from the spout.  There are more “o ring” seals on a swivel spout, if when swivelling, the spout seeps water from the joint, these O-ring seals need replacing.  Undo the small grub screw, pop out the swivel spout and replace the seals.

If the headgear is all seized up and corroded, purchase a headgear replacement kit.

Tommy’s Tip! Always take the tap headgear with you as a template, and go to a proper plumbers merchants for their expert advice, to ensure the “O rings” and washers are the correct one’s for the job. And always remember to put the plug in when working on the taps to avoid the grub screw or any other bits falling down the plug-hole, and giving you great stress!

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