Fix a Dripping Tap or Faucet

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If you have a tap that drips or takes excessive tightening to shut off completely, and a new washer hasn't solved the problem, or didn't solve it for long, then it is likely that the valve seat is pitted. With the right tool this is an easy repair - without removing the tap.

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Remove the tap body (done from above, without removing the whole tap).
  • Select the the right size cutter and bush from the tool kit.
  • Attach the tool to the tap.
  • Resurface the corroded valve seat by rotating the tool.
  • Remove the tool and reassemble the tap with a new washer.
  • Job done - no drip.
Detailed instructions - how to use a a tap reseating tool:

Inspection:

  1. Turn off the water supply and drain the system.
  2. Remove the tap handle. The retaining screw is often hidden under a push fit cap.
  3. Unscrew and remove the decorative shield over the tap body.
  4. While holding the tap firmly to prevent it turning, unscrew the tap body. An adjustable    spanner is suitable for this task. 
  5. The valve seat can now be seen in the bottom of the hole from which the tap body came. The valve seat should be smooth and uniform.  If it is pitted or uneven the tap needs reseating.
Reseating:

  1.  From a Reseating Kit  select the cutter that is the same size as the taps rubber washer.
  2.  From the kit select the brass bush that will screw into the top of the tap. 
  3. Fit the bush and the cutter to the tool handle and screw the tool into the top of the tap.
  4. Using moderate downward pressure on the tool handle, rotate it clockwise about quarter to half a turn to make a cut. Do not press too hard.
  5. Allow the spring to raise the tool handle then turn it back ready to start another cut.
  6. Make just a few cuts then remove the tool to examine progress.
  7. If the valve seat has ribbed marks from the cutting tool you are pressing far too hard.
  8. Keep going until the valve seat is uniform and all the pitting has been removed. Don't overdo it.
  9. Check your progress regularly and stop as soon as the seat is even.
  10. Re-assemble the tap with a new rubber washer.
    

Tips:

  • Put the plug in so you don't lose small parts down the drain!
  • Never allow the whole tap to turn when you are working on it. Doing so could cause a leak or worse, break the pipes below.
  • The tap body is the large brass piece that unscrews from the top of the tap (3)-(4).  It contains the rubber washer and all the moving parts of the tap. They are a standard assembly and replacements are readily available to fit just about all taps. They cost just a few Pounds and if replaced when you do the reseating your tap will be mechanically as good as new.
  • Before refitting the body you must retract the piston by setting the tap in the on position.
  • When using grips to hold the tap or remove the decorative shield, protect the surface with a heavy cloth, (a piece of leather is ideal) or several layers of masking tape.
  • If the shield won't move, protect it with a cloth then tap gently around the bottom of it with a small mallet to break away the corrosion that is holding the threads.
  • When working on a downstairs tap turn on the upstairs taps as well to drain the system. If you don't an airlock could hold water in the pipes which could suddenly release at any moment!
  • When you are done run the tap for a few minutes to wash out the system.
  • A tap that drips will quickly erode the valve seat and waste a huge amount of water. The sooner you attend to it the easier it will be to repair - it may only need a new washer if you get to it early.

Water is a resource like any other - don't waste it with a dripping tap.


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