Leaking taps & toilets

Are you having trouble with your taps? If so, continue reading. Toilet problems? Click here.

Jumper valve taps.
The normal jumper valve, (tap washer), style of tap is quite straight-forward to repair, especially if you have worked on them several times. Jumper valve.

Having said that, it is very easy to make matters worse if you don’t know what you are doing.

If your taps are dripping, stiff and hard to turn or weeping around the flanges, you can clean and lubricate the spindle and bonnet, renew the o-rings and fibre washers and renew the jumper valve, or washer.

The most important part though, is to check and clean the seat if required, with a tap re-seater. If the brass seat of the tap body that the jumper valve sits on to seal the tap is pitted or cracked, renewing the jumper valve will make no difference. The seat must be ground with the re-seater until smooth and flat.

Sometimes, the hardest part of this process is getting the tap handles and flanges or covers off to access the spindles. Occasionally it is impossible without damaging the finished surfaces.

Ceramic disc taps.
If you have ceramic discs in your tapware, instead of jumper valves, the process is different. Ceramic disc style of taps usually have a quarter, half or three-quarter turn of the handle to operate the tap. They don’t have the feel of a tap washer biting into the tap seat when turning off, it is just a firm stop and the water is off.

When these taps start to drip, you can remove the spindle, which is like a cartridge, and check that the tap seat is smooth and flat. At this point you can try to flush and clean the spindle, re-install it and see if the dripping stops. This rarely works but is worth a try.Ceramic disc spindle.

Some ceramic disc spindles are serviceable with the purchase of a ceramic disc replacement kit, if you know the brand.

Usually though, it is easier to just replace the spindles. They differ to a normal tap as you can’t just change a jumper valve, you have to replace the whole spindle.

Depending on the brand, the parts can range from very reasonably priced to ridiculously expensive.

Mixer taps.
The other main type of taps, which are more and more common these days, are mixer taps. They can be installed throughout the house as basin mixers, kitchen/laundry mixers and wall mixers for shower and bath taps.Mixer tap cartridge.

These also generally use ceramic discs, but they are contained in a replaceable cartridge. When the tap starts dripping or leaking from around the handle or base, the cartridge can be replaced.

Different brands use different cartridges and there are many different models, so you have to identify the correct replacement before attempting this repair.

The cheaper brands tend to use generic, easy to find cartridges while the more expensive brands use unique cartridges which usually need to be ordered from the supplier.


Are you having trouble with your toilet?

There are many different types of toilets and therefore, many different issues that can arise.Doulton outlet valve seating washer.

If your toilet trickles water into the bowl when not in use, it is usually due to a perished outlet valve washer. However, it could also be due to the inlet valve not shutting off and slowly overflowing through the overflow tube, which is directed into the bowl, (unless you have a very old cistern, in which case it will overflow onto the floor).

If the toilet continues to run at the end of a flush until you jiggle the flush button, or press it again, it is probably just an outlet valve washer.

An increasingly common problem these days is with wall-faced or back to wall pans. The pan is neat and enclosed and you can’t see the connection to the drainage. They use a plastic pan connector bend to connect the pan to the sewer and the rubber seal on these bends perishes or sags after several years. The result is leaking around the base of the pan. The only way to repair this problem is to remove the pan and replace the rubber seal or pan connector. If the pan was attached to the floor with silicon, this is a fairly simple job. If the pan was installed on a bed of cement, the chances of getting the pan off the floor without cracking is slim. You will probably require a new pan.Wall-faced toilet suite.

There aren’t really many tips we can offer to someone wanting to attempt to repair their leaking toilet because there are so many different problems and parts required.

If there is one thing we can suggest, it is to not to try to take the lid off your cistern unless you know how to. Older cistern lids can be removed by unscrewing the collar around the flush button and then lifting the lid. Many cistern lids simply lift off as the buttons are attached to the lid itself. Many others though, are attached to the outlet valve, either with a plastic screw under the flush buttons, or by the button assembly itself. I have seen many instances where the owner has pulled and pulled until the lid came off and, in the process, damaged parts inside. 

If you have any trouble at all with your toilets or taps, please give SB Plumbing Services a call. With my over 44 years in the trade, I can confidently say that I can solve your issues.

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