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Tap washer - Advice please

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Tap washer - Advice please

Slight drip on both my bath taps so decided to change the washers.
Turned water off removed main body of cold water tap changed washer, job done
Moved on to the hot water tap, major problem no way could I slacken off  the main body of the tap. I was using a good fitting socket and had plenty of leverage but no way would it budge, applied releasing oil around the edge but still no luck.
I was applying so much pressure that the hexagon part was beginning to round off at the edges (I think it's made of brass) so I am still stuck with a dripping hot water tap.
Anyone have any ideas I could try.
We live in a soft water area but on the end of the hot water tap there is a small build up of something (no it's not muck) which can be scraped off and I suspect this may be my problem in that it has somehow seized the tap threads.
Changing my taps is beyond me although I can see the theory of how it is done.
The cost of a plumber is something I don't want to consider but if anyone has been in the plumbing trade it would be useful to know how a plumber might tackle this job other than replacing the taps.
31 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

No idea but NEVER use WD40 or similar on anything that affects your water supply (thought I'd say it before someone else suggests it).
Perhaps a photo of the offending article might help someone here to give you an idea.
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198kHz
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

I once had a similar problem when changing a lawnmower blade, when despite a good spanner fit, no amount of pushing and pulling would loosen the old one. What did eventually work was some patient, not too violent, tapping the spanner with a rubber mallet.
Not young enough to know everything
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Tap washer - Advice please

a plumber might use a stilson wrench, putting a bit of padding cloth between tool and tap.  when you can consider a tap change, ask your plumber to fit ceramic taps with levers.  i have them all round and they are brilliant.  no more replacing tap washers and not much to go wrong.
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Whatever you do - DON'T borrow Sprite's favourite Halfords torque wrench - as you will never be able to thread the parts back together   Crazy
For those readers not familiar with Sprites love of Halfords tools see -  https://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,98329.0.html  and  https://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,98329.msg831895.html#msg831895
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Quote from: artificer
r to fit ceramic taps with levers.  i have them all round and they are brilliant.  no more replacing tap washers and not much to go wrong.

Hmmm .. I have a ceramic one fitted to the kitchen sink. And guess what ... It DRIPS! Not much but enough to be annoying  Sad
I also am in a soft water area so limescale it could be muck in the pipe - the inside of the kettle & loo cysten are brown with it  Cry
pierre_pierre
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

for peats sake Wink
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

I had a similar problem to 'gleneagles', but the taps were so old it wasn't worth the effort of removing the limescale encrusted casing and repairing the washer.
Instead I got a brand new pair of ceramic lever taps of eBay for less than £10 (including postage), it was simple to remove the old taps and just attach the new ones, just needed some PTFE thread tape and a couple of fibre washers.
The ceramic lever taps were such an improvement that I have since replaced the bathroom basin taps for less than £10, and in the kitchen a mixer tap with swivelling outlet for about £13 - all brand new on eBay !
So replacing all the taps + washers + PTFE tape, cost about £35, and a couple of hours of my time.
My only regret is not having done it years ago - as I imagined the job to be more difficult than it actually turned out to be !.
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

When you eventually get your tap barrels off, before you fit the new washers, buy, hire or borrow a seating tool. This handy simple to use tool cleans up the crud and scale build up where the washer seals off the water flow.
I hardly ever change just the washers, but fit complete new barrels instead, they're not very expensive, the use of the seating tool is still recommended though.
Edit; its often the poor seal because of scale build up that can cause a tap to drip rather than the washer itself.
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

I would get my blow-lamp out and apply moderate heat to the body of the tap causing it to expand away from the top section. Then give it another go with my Footprint or small Stilson.
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VileReynard
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Assuming the water supply is turned off, just hit it with one of these (Faithfull Stillson Wrench 36")  Grin

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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Biggest Stilsons I've used have been 48" with a 4' length of scaffold pole on the handle but in this case 6" would be fine Wink
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Quote from: Petlew
When you eventually get your tap barrels off, before you fit the new washers, buy, hire or borrow a seating tool.

I personally recommend the Rolson Tap Reseater tool which I purchased from Amazon. It's a quality low priced tool. Whatever you do don't buy the cheapest ones with the tapered threads as they're worse than useless.
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Quote from: Strat
I would get my blow-lamp out and apply moderate heat to the body of the tap causing it to expand away from the top section. Then give it another go with my Footprint or small Stilson.

Along the same lines. As its the hot tap, run it for a while to heat it up before trying to dismantle.
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Re: Tap washer - Advice please

Quote from: purleigh
Whatever you do - DON'T borrow Sprite's favourite Halfords torque wrench - as you will never be able to thread the parts back together   Crazy
For those readers not familiar with Sprites love of Halfords tools see -  https://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,98329.0.html  and  https://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,98329.msg831895.html#msg831895

Lol. That was some seriously bad luck I was suffering back there.  Crazy
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