Removing your taps headgear
You should ensure that you turn off the water supply to your taps before you begin to tamper with them (Turn the water off under the taps at the service valves or at the mains); along with this place the plug in the plughole to make sure none of the small parts for down, this is a vital tip which will save you time and money. Turn the tap on fully either though no water will be running.
Next you will need to lever off or unscrew the cover of a non-rising spindle tap in order to expose the retaining screw; you can do this using a standard flat head screwdriver. Remove the screw and keep it somewhere safe, you will now be able to remove the head of the tap. You may not have a non-rising spindle tap but instead a rising spindle tap, if this is the case you need to prise off the index disc, which is located in the centre of the handle; again this can be done with a flat head screwdriver. Next you need to remove the retaining screw to release the capstan or the handle as its commonly known; I would advise using an adjustable spanner wrapped in an old rag or cloth to unscrew the metal shroud and lift from the head gear nut.
After you have done the above you need to undo the larger headgear nut; the way to do this is with a spanner. If the nut is stiff, which in many cases it will be make sure you do not force the nut. If this is the problem you should brace the tap body with you hand and twist. You do not want the tap to be turning while releasing the headgear as this could lead to you damaging the pipe or fracturing it. If this happens you could make your leaking tap twice as bad and calling a plumber will be the only real solution. What if the nut is still difficult to turn? If the nut is still proving difficult to turn then you should go to your local DIY store and purchase some penetrating oil. Rub this around the joint and allow at least ten minutes for the oil to soak in, and then try again. Sometimes you will have to apply a few layers in order for this method to work. If need be you could apply some heat to the nut using a blow torch or electric paint stripper however only use this method if all else fails!
How to replace your washer
You will to replace your washer in order to stop the dripping or leaking that your tap is experiencing. The way to do this is simple; firstly prise off the washer with a screwdriver and if there is a small nut protecting your washer you need to unscrew it. You will probably need an 8mm spanner for this. Again if you’re having difficulties undoing the nut use some penetrating oil. Afterwards prise off the washer. Sometimes you may find that the nut is too tight and cannot be removed, you don’t need to worry… You can replace both the jumper valve and the washer unit as one. Next of all you need to fit your new washer or the new washer and jumper valve. You should grease the threads on the base of your tap before you reassemble it. If you wish you can purchase a specialist silicone gel from all building/plumbing merchants however something such as Vaseline will do a good job.
Your ceramic disc taps
In comparison to the normal and conventional taps that use washer and have a main spindle a ceramic disc tap is completely different. The way they work is that they have a cartridge in the body of the tap which will contain two ceramic discs (each with two holes on them). One of the discs will be in a fixed position and the other will be rotating as the handles are turned.
The ways this method works is that when the rotating disc moves the holes within it are matched up with the holes on the still disc, this allows water to flow through. Once the tap is turned off the disc rotates and the holes are no longer aligned, stopping the water flow. If your ceramic disc is scratched then it will probably result in a leaking or dripping tap. You must replace the entire cartridge.
(IMAGE - CERAMIC DISCS)
Always remember that the left handed disc is for the hot tap and the right handed for the cold tap. Take the faulty piece with you to your local plumbing merchants to ensure you purchase the right size and left or right handed piece. It is important to note that your ceramic tap could be leaking because the seal at the bottom of the cartridge has been perished.
How to check your ceramic discs -
Turn off your water supply, pull off the tap handles and use a spanner to unscrew the section which is known as the headgear. Next you need to carefully remove the cartridges, checking if either is damaged. Also remember which is the hot and which the cold cartridges are. There is a chance that your cartridges will be worn; if this is the case then you need to replace them with identical parts for your tap. Ensure when fitting these again that they are fitted into the correct part, hot and cold. Your cartridges may not be worn but just dirty, if so then clean them with a damp cloth. Sometimes the rubber seal may be damaged… Replace this if so. Replace the cartridges and fit them into the appropriate taps.
You don’t have to cut off the water supply if you are adjusting the valve. You can make this adjustment with the tap turned off. Undo the small screw that secures the capstan handle and place it in a safe place as it is very easy to lose, and then remove the handle. If you can’t see a screw the handle should literally pull off. You should be able to see a bell-shaped cover that is over the whole tap, you need to remove this and you should then see the gland nut. This is the highest nut on the spindle; tighten the nut roughly a half turn with a spanner. Next of all turn the tap on for a temporary moment, do this by slipping the handle back on. You can now check whether or not the leak is still from the spindle. Hopefully there won’t be and if so turn the nut another quarter turn and reassemble the tap. Over tightening the nut can make the tap very hard to turn off. If you are unfortunate and the gland is still leaking then you will need to turn the nut another half turn and check again; sometimes there will still be a leak even after this and if so you are going to have to repack the gland.