Tap replacement

DIY is starting to play a bigger and bigger role in my life and I discover, despite a fairly hands-on upbringing, I’m not sure I know anything.

Today’s problem: The bathroom sink is leaking from a tap. Not your classic drip that everyone knows just needs a replacement washer. In this case the body of the tap seems to be leaking.

It’s not a big leak, but the standing water might be what’s making the budgie sick. It needs to be replaced.

Youtube videos are great for this kind of work. Get some basic tools. Watch someone else do it. Try it yourself (in my best Neil Buchanan).

The trouble I find is that when they say “get a replacement” I’m not sure what the critical measurements are to ensure I’m buying the right part. Thus this post for future reference.

There ought to be three sizes I’m interested in: The size of the thread as it fits into the tap, the size of the washer that actually does the sealing and the height of the action to ensure once fitted it will actually reach the bit it’s trying to seal.

www.notjusttaps.co.uk has a handy chart which tells us the thread into the tap should be a certain size for a certain size of fitting. 20.9mm says I need a half-inch fitting. The difference between sizes is big enough that I’m happy to measure the thread with the markings on my adjustable wrench.

Amazon does a 3/8 x 1/2 inch fitting that looks the part. I had no idea what the 3/8 referred to, but since the only other measure I could imagine mattering is the height of the action and sure enough checking that shows it’s right and the 1/2 inch refers to the diameter of that part.

The part was ordered and delivered next day. Ordinarily I’d support my local tradesman, but some phoning around says nobody has any and I don’t really have spare time to go to a plumber’s merchant during the working day.

Following a YouTube video for replacing a washer has all the steps and I just needed to mentally edit in the replacement of the whole valve instead of just the washer.

The downside is the splines where the cartridge fits into the tap come in different sizes too. The cartridge fits the body of the tap perfectly, but the handle doesn’t fit on top.

I solved this by buying a set of two replacement cartridge/handle sets. I know the measurements they give you will fit into my tap and at least this way I know the handle and the cartridge are a pair.

Follow the instructions again and the taps look brand new.

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