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Opting for a new shower tap can turn your rather tired bathroom into a freshly remodelled one. No matter your choice, whether traditional, like the crosshead taps (basin), or the shiny minimalist looks consisting of a waterfall single basin mixer, it is a sensibly easy task to change your leaky shower.

To help make things less complicated for you, we have come up with a simple guide to help you make the required adjustments to your bathroom. First and foremost, you will need to equip yourself with various tools. But if you cannot have them all, you can find a helping hand from your local bathroom remodelling service provider.

Meanwhile, here is what you will need to get your tap showers back to their normal working statuses:

  • PFTE tap
  • Basin spanner
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Pipe cutting device
  • Tap connector(s)

Now that all these tools are at your disposal, you can now begin to fix your leaking taps.

Steps To Fix Your Leaking Taps

1. Loosen the Tap – Before anything else, you should first switch off the main supply of the affected tap. If you cannot locate your main supply, you may need to move items like washing machines out of the way. Once the washing machine, tumble dryer, etc., is out of the way, we recommend placing the plug into your basin to avoid fixings and bolts dropping down the channel and creating additional problems.

At times, it is wise to eliminate any extra sealant at the bottom of the shower tap using a knife. This will make it loose and easier to remove. However, it would help if you were more careful lest you damage the basin finish during this operation.

2. Remove the Nut Underneath the Basin – After getting off the tap, the next step is to unbolt the nut holding the shower tap to the sink. It is situated below the sink. It is sometimes tricky, mainly if you have limited space to operate from, so you need a cranked sink spanner to remove the nut. If the leaking tap and the tap washers are very old, the joint will likely be well corroded or become rusty. In this case, you will need to deploy the junior hacksaw to break the tap stem or nut.

3. Analysing the Tap Joints – Unless your new taps fit right onto the existing pipes, you should ensure using tap connectors. Most new bath and basin taps are availed with flexible extensions (often a braided or corrugated channel consisting of a tap connector with threads at one point and a compression fixing on the opposite side to facilitate installation. In case of need, you may trim the pipe end using a pipe cutting device in preparation for compression fixing.

4. Fixing Connections to a New Tap – Remove the tap connector from the edge of the new fixture using your hand, and then gently tighten it using the adjustable wrench. Make sure to hold the tap’s main body as stable as possible while doing this operation to avoid damaging the fitting or base plate where the tap rests.

5. Fixing the Connector to a New Pipe – Since the pipework is set for fixing, join two ends of the pipe and the flexible extensions using the compression fitting. Before working on this, some plumbers will opt to put some PTFE (plumbers’ tape) around the joint to provide a waterproof cover. You can always buy this from your local merchants’ stores.

Press your cap nut, and later one of your olives (internal ring, which is a component of the new tap’s compression fitting) together. Now firmly press the connection to ensure that the pipe touches the stop around the connection.

6. Tapering the Nut Underneath the Basin – To ensure that everything is tight, you may taper the main nut to the fitting. The moment everything is held together tightly, you can now use the spanner to fasten the nut completely. Repeat severally so that the fitting remains comfortably in position. Next, turn on the main supply and see if there is any sign of dripping tap. In case of any, make sure to re-tighten the necessary joints.

Now that you have successfully completed your shower tap repair, it is high time you enjoyed your cold or warm shower. However, apart from replacing the tap, other parts in your bathroom may require some attention.

Changing A Washer

Indeed, your shower tap may stop working correctly due to various issues. Like for instance, the washers in the faucet could be worn out and needing replacement. So, how do you go about the job? Let’s find out here.

You can quickly fix this issue by changing the washer using the suitable materials and tools to gather, including body washers (thin, fibrous washers), tap washers, silicone oil (lubricant), and O-rings. On the other part, the necessary equipment includes pliers (funnel-nosed), adjustable spanners, tap researcher, wire brush, cloth, and wrench.

In case the taps are located within the kitchen or shower, you may also look for a tube spanner for removing the tap’s spindle in case it is buried into your bathroom or kitchen wall, where the tiles make it hard for you to apply the standard spanner. A screwdriver is also necessary, as you may need it at some point, especially when removing the tap’s handle out of the spindle. In case of a tight fixture, you will require to use a multi-tap spindle to switch off the mains force.

Here’s the procedure:

1. Typically, the tap for cold water is to the right while the one for hot water is to the left. In case the fixtures are aligned horizontally, the tap with hot water is positioned above. Confirm before you commence if they have been fitted correctly.

Switch off the mains. If you stay in a house, the mains tap should be positioned outside, close to the meter. But if you reside in some unit, the mains tap should be within the system. You will find various separation taps in some cases: around the laundry, kitchen, and bathroom. (Look out for this around the showers, kitchen cupboards, below the sink in your laundry, or around the toilets).

In the case of recycled water, you will expect to find two mains. In certain houses, the primary source of hot water is located around the roof. Thus, before commencing work, ensure to cut off the water supply by switching off the right water source button. In case the mains have long since been working, they are likely to be tight. In this case, you will require turning it off using a multi-grip tool. Remember that when turning off the mains, you rotate it clockwise and vice-versa.

2. Unscrew the taps off. For you to protect the chrome surfaces, wrap them up in a cloth to avoid the rough wrench surfaces from damaging them. Remove the spindle from the pipeline by turning it counter-clockwise. Next, take out the orange fibre (body washer) and sanitise the surface where it rests using a cloth and wire brush.

3. Before grinding your tap seat using a resetter tool, clean it first. Grind to smoothen and clean. Get rid of any filings using a piece of cloth. It is necessary to rub off all filings to prevent them from infiltrating below the washer resulting in a leaking shower tap.

To replace the O-ring:

  • Rotate the spindle to appear on the interior
  • Using a pair of pliers or knives, cut off the worn-out ring
  • Wash the spindle using a piece of cloth and wire brush before fitting the brand-new ring into position

In some cases, you will need two rings, so repeat this procedure.

4. Lubricate your spindles interior entirely using your silicon oil. This is a vital step to ensure the tap turns quickly. Join the spindle’s parts firmly together with screws and the screwdriver.

5. Change the old tap washer. You must ensure all tap washers slide with ease. If they don’t, remove them using the pliers (funnel-nosed). Fix in a new washer.

6. Change the original body washer before reassembling the tap by fastening it into your main pipeline. Cautiously change the cold and hot labelled knobs on the correct taps. Rub off any oils from the taps using tissue paper. Turn on the tap halfway and turn on the mains. Gently switch off the tap since over-tightening may affect the newly installed washer.

Conclusion

After going through our step-by-step DIY guide to replacing your faulty shower taps, we are sure you can handle this independently. However, if you think this is beyond your understanding, you should contact your local plumbing expert. They have highly qualified plumbers who would not hesitate to jump to your rescue.

Plumbers understand how tricky some faulty taps can be, especially if you do not have suitable tools and material for the work. They have all the know-how, tools, and materials. When calling, ensure you are dealing with a well-established plumbing company.

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I called Hero Plumbing to unblock a shower drain and was unable to get a quote over the phone, but Sam the owner was here same day. After his first try, he made quick work of the blockage. I opted to also get the acid cleaner stuff poured down. Sam had run out, but made a trip to go pick some up to finish the job. If you opt for this treatment make sure you can easily air the bathroom as it’s extremely strong and produces a lot of fumes. Great Service and Honest Pricing.

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Jared Evans

We've used Hero Plumbing previously. Both times reliable and flexible with changing times (helpful during covid ISO periods!)
Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
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