For many of us, changing a tap washer can be a pretty daunting task.  But if you  have the right tools, you can soon learn how to do this basic home maintenance yourself.   First off you’ll need some basic tools such as a wrench or a set of multi grips – see image bottom left below), a screwdriver (depending on your tap fitting, some may need an Allen Key to remove the tap fitting) a replacement washer of the right size, and you may also need a reseating tool which is available from most hardware or plumbing supply shops (see image bottom right below).  Reseating the tap will ensure the washer sits snugly against the tap fitting, so you’re less likely to get leaks.



multigrips - Changing a Tap Washer
tap reseating tool - Changing a Tap Washer

The first thing to do is ensure the water supply is turned off  to the premises.  If you’re not sure how to do this, check out article on turning off your water supply. 

It’s a good idea to put the plug into the sink so you don’t drop any screws or parts down the sink as you manage the repair.

Next you’ll need to remove the tap so the washer is exposed.  Some taps unscrew through their handles – use your screwdriver to pop the top off, then turn it all the way on until you can lift off the handle (see below left image).

Other taps like mixers may have a screw fitting in the back (it may be concealed, so you may need to remove a small cover to expose the screw first). Some have Allen Key fittings – unscrew the fitting and the top handle should be able to be lifted off (see below right image).

tap handle - Changing a Tap Washer
remove tap head - Changing a Tap Washer


Inside the tap fitting you’ll be able to see the old washer – remove it, and check it’s the same type of washer you have purchased to replace it with.   Wipe out the inside of the tap to check the “seat” surface – this is where the washer was sitting – if it’s rough, you may need to reseat the area before fitting the new washer.   To do this, take your Reseating Tool (pictured above) and place it on to the surface where the washer was (the seat), now hold the reseating tool firmly in place, and screw the top of the tool several times.  This will smooth off any rough surfaces, making it ready to take the new washer.   Remove the tool and clean the area with a rag.  Feel the seat to ensure it’s smooth (as shown below right).  If not, you may need to reseat a little more, a little at a time is best.   Once smooth, it’s a good idea to add a little lubricant or grease to the area, then insert the new washer.

tap reseating - Changing a Tap Washer
tap seat - Changing a Tap Washer

Once you’ve inserted the washer you can replace the tap fitting, and restore the water supply to your premises.   Ensure the tap turns off fully and there are no leaks, and you’re done!

If you are unsure, or would like a professional to do this for you, call the team at DYFA Plumbing.  Our 24 hour emergency service can have your burst washers fixed in no time, and you won’t have to buy any specialist tools.  Give us a call on 07 5475 4152 any time – after hours this diverts to our on-call plumber.