Performing some minor DIY jobs around your home is a great way to save yourself a few pennies. It may seem daunting at first when faced with a problem you’ve never tackled before, but once you’ve done your research and you work through the problem one step at a time, the skills you’ve learnt will last you a lifetime.
An easy job you can do yourself at home is to fix a dripping tap. This tap is in the laundry and is probably as old as the farmhouse itself. The constant dripping was not only annoying but a complete waste of water, and as we are experiencing a four-year-long drought on our farm, this was one job we tackled quite quickly.
The cause of a leaking tap is usually one of two issues. Either a washer has deteriorated or split, or the tap valve (which acts like a plug to stop/allow the water to flow through the pipe) has deteriorated and needs replacing. Either of these issues are straight-forward, and inexpensive to fix.
Step one is to turn off your water. Nobody wants to have to clean up a water-logged kitchen or laundry, so turn your water off at the mains. Your mains tap is usually on your water meter (normally positioned at the front of your property). As our farmhouse isn’t on mains water, I turned off our pump which stops the water moving from the rainwater tanks to the house.
To avoid anything getting lost down the drain pipe, put the plug in (or a towel over the drain). Then remove your tap ware. Depending on the type of tap you have, you may need to remove an end cap to remove the tap, or it could be as simple as twisting off the tap in the direction that you turn on your water – just keep going.
Place all the parts that you remove together in one place. A folded hand towel placed on a flat surface next to the tap will stop any parts from rolling away.
Remove the cap at the end, the spring and the bonnet (plate that sits against the tiles). You should then just have the spindle sticking out of the wall.
Using an adjustable spanner, remove the spindle. To do this, twist the nut that sits nearest to the tiles. If the spindle hasn’t been removed in some time, it may be a little tough to undo. Use a little WD40 spray to help lubricate the nut if needed, but usually a little muscle should get it done. Carefully remove the spindle.
There are 3 rubber parts on the spindle that may have deteriorated. You can either replace the part that’s worn out/broken, or you can replace all 3 as the parts are inexpensive to buy (around a couple of dollars each from Bunnings or a hardware store).
You should see a rubber washer sitting around the main body of the spindle, and at the base of the spindle sits the valve (the white/yellow circle in the below image). There is also a small rubber o-ring washer that sits inside the spindle. You can access this by unscrewing the long part of the spindle from the main body and the o-ring is inside.
Remove the part that’s damaged and replace with a new one. The valve just pops out, the main body washer usually screws off, and the small o-ring washer may need to be pried off with a screwdriver. Below is an image of the damaged valve (right) and the new replacement (left).
Now all you need to do is put the tap back together, in the reverse order that you removed it.
Don’t forget to turn the tap off before turning the mains water back on.
That’s it. A straight forward DIY job that will save you money, save you water, and take no more than 10 minutes to do.
Let us know if you would like more tips like this to help you around your home… leave a comment below.