Plumbing DIY, Replacing Taps

Plumbing is an aspect of home improvement that often comes about without choice. It is important to take care of the plumbing of your property in order to avoid emergency situations and to ensure that you are getting the best from your plumbing system.

When it comes to replacing taps it can often be more complex than you may realise at first. Replacing taps can either be required as part of the installation of a new bath/basin or because your old taps have worn down. You may, however, just wish to replace your taps simply on a more cosmetic basis.

It is important to understand how many ‘holes’ your sink has when it comes to changing your taps. The amount of holes will determine whether you can install two separate taps or whether you will have just the one serving both your hot and cold needs. If there is one hole you are restricted to the one tap and you will require a mono-bloc mixer when it comes to replacing your taps. With one hole you will have two diameter pipes coming out of the hole, one for hot and one for cold. It there are, however, two holes you are able to fit two separate taps to your sink, giving you a tap for hot water and a tap for cold water.

OK now you have some basics about what to look for in your pipe work we can move onto the removal of your old taps. The first thing you need to ensure you do is to disconnect the water supply and then turn your taps on fully to drain any water left in your system. The way in which you cut off your water supply depends on what sort of water supply you are dealing with. If connected to the mains you should turn off your indoor stop valve. If your hot and cold taps feed off pipes from a cistern you should have a gate valve/mini stopcock available to turn off. The stop valve can be found alongside the cold water tank.

You should then use a wrench (crowsfoot spanner) or a tap tool to undo the nut, which connects the supply pipes to the taps. You will probably experience some water coming from the pipes at this point so ensure that you have a cloth ready then loosen the nut that is holding the taps in place and remove them from the sink. You then need to clean the area the taps fit into as well as replace any old sealing compound.

Before you go ahead and fit your new taps you need to compare the pipe connections on the old taps to the new taps. If they are longer then you will need a shank adapter in order to make them fit.

When it comes to actually fitting your new taps you have to check to see if the tails of the new taps are plastic. If not a connector is required to prevent damage. One end of the connector fits onto the tail and the other provides a connection to existing pipes. To fit the taps you should position the tap in the mounting hole in the basin, ensuring that the washers are in place between the tap and the sink and when the tap is securely in place the supply pipes can be connected.

When your taps are firmly in place and have been securely connected to the pipes you can then turn your water supply back on. Once your water is on you should check for any leaks; if any appear they can normally be resolved by tightening your joins.