How to Work with Taps and Stop-cocks

Taps: an annoying trickle of water from the cold tap over kitchen sink when it is turned tightly off indicates that a new washer is needed. Re-washering a tap is avoided by many people because they envisages a sudden uncontrollable flood of water pouring from the dismantled tap. Yet it is an easy enough operation.

  • The first thing you must do – you prevent that ‘uncontrollable flood’- is to turn off the main stop-cock which usually is found under the sink, though it could be in a purpose-made pit outside the house. No doubt, though you will know where your stop-cock is situated. Turn it off completely.

Stop cocks1 How to Work with Taps and Stop cocks

  • Now turn the kitchen sink tap on fully and wait until no more water gushes out. Your kitchen tap may have s will unscrew by hand after unscrewing the top.
  • Next use a padded wrench to grip the lower part of the tap’s body; use another wrench to grip the nut securing the headgear and remove it. Inside will be the jumper. The washer will be attached to it.
  • Grip the stem of the jumper with a wrench and remove the nut that holds the washer in place. Position the new washer and replace the nut to secure it. You can then re-assemble the tap and turn on the water again. Sometimes the nut cannot be removed easily. The best solution here is to fit a new jumper or washer. If a tap over the sink has a shrouded head, simply remove this and proceed as before.
  • It will probably necessary to use a screwdriver to prise off the plastic tab on the head of the tap (which has a small C, for cold on it) in order to reach the screw holding the shrouded head in place. Bathroom pressure of water under which they operate may not be enough to raise the jumper when the tap is turned on.
  • Unscrew the nut holding the jumper and washer together. Remove them both and replace with a new jumper and washer. Since the new jumper will not be pegged into the headgear, it might be necessary to taper the system of jumper so that it will fit tightly in the headgear.
  • Before re-washering bathroom taps (whether hot or cold the method is the same) there is no need to turn off the main stop valve. If there is a stop valve on either the cold supply pipe to the hot water cylinder or on the cold supply pipes to the bathroom taps, turn off which ever is appropriate depending on which tap you are re-washering.

Taps How to Work with Taps and Stop cocks

  • If there are no stop valves, then tie up the ball valve to the main cold storage tank and then drain the tank. There is no need to switch off the immersion heater on turn out boiler provided, that is, that hot water system has been properly designed.
  • A final word on bathroom taps, in fact on all mixer taps. For re-washering purposes these can be thought of as two independent taps to be re-washered as before. Just ascertain from the spout which tap is dripping after it has been turned off. This is simple to do since the spout is partitioned down its middle.

STOP-COCKS

If the stop-cock starts to leak it can be repaired easily. The leaking water is by-passing the gland packing. By turning the first nut through which the spindle of the tap passes (called the gland adjusting nut) the dripped will be stopped. Half a turn or perhaps one full turn is usually enough. After the gland nut has been adjusted over a period of time, the packing inside will have to be renewed. Screwed down the stop-cock to prevent the water from flowing past and release the screw holding the handle in place. Completely unscrew the gland nut and remove it. Rack out all the old packing and replace with knitting wool coated with Vaseline. Pack it down tightly before replacing the gland out and handle.

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