How Do You Replace A Tap Valve?
Every day we receive enquiries from customers with questions about ‘How do I change the cartridge in my mixer tap?’, ‘How do you remove a tap cartridge?’ or ‘How do I fix a leaking tap?’. We are always very happy to give them guidance and can direct them to information pages on our website. In addition to this we thought it would be helpful to provide more detail for our customers here.
The most common signs that your valve or cartridge might need replacing is intermittent dripping or a constant leak, even when the tap is fully shut. You may want to remove and clean the valve/cartridge of any limescale to see if that sorts the problem. If not, then try replacing it with a new tap valve/cartridge.
There are two types of tap valves - ceramic disk valves and compression valves.
- Ceramic Disk Valves require a quarter turn to open/close the valves. They come as left and right handed pairs with left opening for the hot side and right opening for the cold. Most valves have 20 teeth on the spline however some valves will have 18 or 24 splines.
- Compression Valves have rubber washer on the bottom that require 2-3 full turns to open or close the tap which are universal and fit either hot or cold sides.
Ceramic Disk Valves and Compression Valves are both for taps with two separate handles, one controlling hot and the other cold.
In order to remove a tap valve you will need the following tools but if you are unsure just ask a qualified plumber:
- Screw driver
- Replacement valve
A good tip to remember before start, is put the plug in your waste to avoid losing small parts down the drain.
Instructions for removing your tap valve:
- Switch off the water to your tap from either the mains or the isolation valve under the sink
- Remove the handles from on top of the valve
- Once the valve is exposed, use a wrench or spanner to grip the hexagonal nut on the valve and turn anti-clockwise to undo
- We suggest you use a soft cloth between the spanner and tap to avoid marking it
- Hold the tap body to prevent it rotating and getting damaged
- The valves may require some initial force or use some grease or silicone as they may be stiff due to limescale build up
- Once the valves are removed clean any debris from inside the taps and remove any built up limescale. Either put the old one back in (after cleaning away limescale) or replace it with a new tap valve
- Screw the valves back in, turning them clockwise to tighten
- The hot should always be on the left side
- The valves should be tight enough that they do not undo with hand pressure but do not overtighten more than required to fit them securely
- Turn on the water and test to see that the valves are functioning correctly – adjust if necessary. If any water escapes from the join between the valve and the tap body, gently tighten until the join is watertight
- Once you are satisfied that the valves are working, push the handles back on to the shaft of the valves and secure with the retaining screw
All tap cartridges are operated by either a single lever or by a joystick. Single lever cartridges control water flow and the temperature blending the hot and cold water.
Instructions to remove your tap cartridge are:
- Switch off the water to your tap from either the mains or the isolation ball valve under the sink
- Remove the lever from the cartridge (the most common method is to take out the colour indice as there is a grub screw behind which needs loosening
- Once you have undone the grub screw, remove the lever vertically from the top of the cartridge
- The cartridge will be held in place by a brass bush which will need to be undone anticlockwise
- Once it is undone, you can simply lift out the cartridge
- Place a soft cloth between any tools used and the tap to avoid marking the tap
- Hold the tap body to prevent it rotating whilst undoing the bush
- The cartridge and bush may both be stiff due to a build-up of limescale and will need some initial force to loosen them
- Once the cartridge is removed clean any debris from inside the taps and remove any built up limescale. Either put the cleaned old cartridge back in or replace it with a new one
- Push the cartridge back in ensuring the locating lugs are positioned in corresponding holes in the tap
- Screw the bush back on to secure the cartridge
- Turn on the water and test to see that the cartridge functions correctly – adjust if necessary. If any water escapes from the tap body, gently tighten the bush until there are no further leaks
- Once you are satisfied that the cartridge is working correctly, screw on the cover cap that fits over the bush and refit the lever
We hope this further detail is helpful. If you need any advise on which cartridge to buy then please use our Identification Service or call our experience sales team who will be happy to help you.