How to Change a Washer on a Mixer Tap
Here at Jim’s Plumbing, we deal with a wide range of maintenance and emergency plumbing problems from blocked drains to leaking taps. One of the most common reasons for calling out a plumber is to change a tap washer. Whilst changing a washer on a standard set of separate hot and cold taps is simple, changing a washer on a mixer tap is somewhat more complex.
Most mixer taps do not have a tap washer, instead having a replaceable cartridge which functions as the washer.
There are two main types of mixer taps that we encounter,
- The first of which is a shower mixer tap, which is built within the wall and behind the tiles.
- The second main type of mixer tap is a sink or basin mixer tap, which is installed over the sink or basin.
Due to mixer taps varying greatly in price, from $35 – $1000 plus, the decision whether to replace or repair often hinges predominantly on price.
Shower Mixer Taps
We would change a tap washer/mixer cartridge on a shower mixer tap by firstly attempting to identify what brand and model of shower mixer is present.
Often, this can be difficult as there are hundreds of brands and models that have been on the market and some of them are no longer available.
If there is no writing or identification visible on the chrome of the mixer plate or handle, we would suggest removing the handle and chrome cover plate, which may reveal further information as to the brand and model.
Once this is identified, we would suggest that water is turned off at the water meter. The cartridge should be removed from its body within the wall by using a spanner and turning the cartridge in an anti-clockwise direction which will loosen and remove it.
This can then be taken to a plumbing supplier who, if this is a common brand, may have it in stock. If this item is not in stock, it may be possible to order it in. This would mean you would have to reinstall the cartridge, and keep the cap off until the part has arrived?
It is important to note that in some states of Australia, the water authority does not allow unqualified persons to replace cartridges or tap washers on mixer taps. It is important that you check before carrying out this work yourself.
We would normally try to replace the internal cartridge rather than the shower mixer tap completely, due to it being within the wall. And as such replacement would involve removal of shower tiles and then reinstatement once the complete shower mixer had been replaced, which can be arduous and costly.
Basin and Sink Mixer Taps
The process of changing a tap washer on a basin and sink mixer tap is slightly less complex.
The decision whether to repair or replace a sink or basin mixer tap is often determined based on the brand and price of the existing mixer. As the cheaper mixers are replaced completely by most plumbing companies rather than sourcing and replacing the internal cartridge, which works as the tap washer.
However, should the customer have an expensive mixer, we would then try and source the internal cartridge/tap washer from one of our many suppliers rather than replacing it completely. It is also important to remember that many of the brands that we come across no longer have replacement parts available and complete replacement may be necessary.
If you require assistance with your mixer tap in your shower, basin or sink, contact Jim’s Plumbing and we can be at your door in an hour!