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How to Replace a Bathroom Tap

29 June 2018

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Although hiring plumbers to install plumbing fixtures is preferable, when it comes to replacing taps, we don’t always have the time or money to hire professional plumbing services. Fortunately, it is possible and reasonably straightforward to remove and fit your bathroom basin taps yourself without the need for plumbing professionals. It’s sensible beforehand, however, to do your research and make sure you’re confident with your ability. Here are some pointers on removing and replacing your own taps at home to get you started.

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Tap removal

Before you fit your new taps, you need to remove the old ones. These may need replacing for a few reasons, they may be old, rusty and leaking, or you may simply want an aesthetic change to go with a new bathroom. The type of tap you want obviously depends on the style of your bathroom. However, it’s wise to note that chrome taps last a lot longer than gold ones.

Firstly, you need to cut off the water supply – otherwise it could get messy and very slippery. You can usually do this by turning off the indoor stop valve. If this isn’t the case with your water system, for example, your hot and cold taps feed off the cistern, there should either be a gate valve alongside the cold water tank or a miniature stopcock, which you can turn off. You then need to make sure the water is completely drained from the system; do this by running the taps until the water stops.

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To remove the taps underneath the basin, use a basin wrench to undo the nut that attaches the pipe to the tap and move the pipe to one side so that it’s not in the way. You then have to undo flanged back nut at the base of the tap. To do this, use a box wrench or tube spanner of the right size to loosen and then remove it. You are not a professional handyman but you should be able to remove the tap easily. If not, hire a plumber and avoid having to pay for home repairs you have caused yourself.

Wipe down the sink and general area to get rid of any lime scale, rust or grime that’s built up around the base of the tap.

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Fitting the new taps

When fitting the new tap, first ensure the fibre washer within the tap connector is in good condition. If not, ensure you replace it before installing the new taps to prevent leaking. You also may want to buy separate centralising washers to keep the taps in place, as older basins have tap holes that are too large for modern taps and can therefore result in your taps being loose. A centralising washer simply attaches around the base of the tap from underneath the basin to keep it in place when put through the hole.

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You are now able to reattach the flanged back nut and larger nut which attaches the pipe to the tap. Ensure you tighten these with the tube spanner and basin wrench so they don’t come lose.
You are now free to turn your water back on. Allow the water to run through the taps for a while to make sure the system is clear and everything is in full working order. If you have trouble along the way, you may want to visit your local residential plumping services’ site for help or advice on installing fixtures.

This method will work for bathroom basin taps and also freestanding bathtub taps. However, replacing kitchen taps can be slightly different so either hire a professional to install your kitchen plumping fixtures or look up how to remove and replace these separately.

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