Replace your tap to make a quick difference in your kitchen
Replacing a tap in your kitchen is quite straightforward with a little planning. Before you begin make sure you choose the right style for your sink.
Before you fit a new tap, first you must remove your old one.
Step 1 - Turn the water off
Before you start make sure you’ve turned off the water supply to the tap(s).
The pipes or flexible hoses supplying your tap(s), should have isolating valves fitted at their outputs. These are operated by either a thumb lever or slotted screw head that requires a screwdriver. Apply a quarter turn to shut the water off. The water is off when the lever or slot are at right angles to the pipe.
Run the tap as you isolate to make sure flow of water has stopped. If you don’t have independent isolating valves, you’ll need to turn off your water supply by closing the main stopcock. It’s likely there’ll also be a valve at the hot water supply tank. Run the tap(s), both hot and cold to make sure all water flow has stopped.
Step 2 - Prepare
Clear everything from under the sink to give you enough room to work. Lay a towel down and have a bowl available to catch any residual water as you undo the pipe connections.
Make sure you understand the replacement tap installation instructions first and make sure you’ve got all the tools you need.
Step 3 - Disconnect the tap(s) from the mains water supply
Now that you’ve isolated the water supply you can disconnect the tap(s).
For standard water pipe connections, loosen the nut where the tap joins the pipe with an open-ended spanner. Support the tap to stop it twisting at the same time. You may need someone to help with this if you can’t reach it. Expect some water to come out at this point. Unscrew the nut completely to free the water connection.
For flexible hose connections, loosen the nuts where they join the mains water pipe connections or isolator valves if they’re fitted. As you loosen, grip the connection or valve with a wrench or adjustable pliers (to avoid too much strain!). It’s a good idea to protect the jaws with the cleaning cloth to avoid scratching. The nuts may have become tight over time. Completely unscrew to free the water connections.
Step 4 - Extracting your existing taps
To remove the tap(s) loosen the nut that clamps it to the mounting surface, gripping the tap to stop it rotating. You might need assistance if you can’t reach it.
The tools you’ll need at this stage will depend on the style of the tap you’re removing. For individual traditional pillar and bridge combination styles that carry a large retention nut (normally positioned with restricted access), you’ll need a dedicated basin wrench or back nut box spanner at the correct size to loosen it. Removing the nut completely will allow the tap to be removed. Make sure there aren’t any remaining associated washers of seals left hanging up.
For single block combined and mixer taps you’ll need an open ended or, in restricted access areas, a suitably sized box spanner to loosen the retaining nut on its securing stud. Again, by gripping the tap above and getting someone to help if you need to.
Completely removing the nut from the stud will allow the tap to be removed complete with its flexible hoses. Make sure no associated washers or seals are left hanging up. Take care when you withdraw the hose ends, especially on stainless steel sinks where sharp edges can figure.
Once the tap is removed, clean off any residue or matter from the open mains pipe connections under the sink.
Make sure your new combination or mixer tap is supplied with new hoses. The removed tap with its hose connections can be disposed of considerately
You're now ready to assemble your new tap and fit this to the sink.
Step 1 - Cleaning the mounting surface for the new tap
Once the old tap is removed it’s likely there’ll still be residue from the seals or gaskets where it was located. Clean or scrape these off gently to avoid damaging the surface.
Step 2 - New tap mounting
Make sure you understand the new tap’s instructions before you begin.
For individual pillar and bridge combination styles, apply four or five turns of sealing PTFE tape to the mains connection lower threads. Wrap in a clockwise direction, looking from underneath the tap. Once it’s wrapped, tear it from the reel to make it bind.
Now you can fit the new tap!
Hoses are pre-fitted to mixer taps. If not, screw the hoses into the tap base carefully, tightening by hand only. Follow the instructions which come with the tap. Feed the mains connection ends through the location hole - be careful with the sharp edges on stainless steel sinks and make sure any seals, gaskets, washers and studs are pre-fitted and located according the instruction’s steps.
Get someone to help you hold the tap in the right position on the sink and make a final check that all top side seal is correctly fitted and aligned. From under the sink, apply any under-side gaskets, washers or retaining plates in the right order and align as per the instruction manual.
Apply the retaining nut by hand until finger tight. Make a final check of the tap alignment and tighten it further with the tool you used previously.
Make sure the person holding the tap keeps the tap position by gripping it. This will stop any rotation as you tighten. Ensure any seals, washers and mounting plates remain in position. Don’t overtighten the tap.
Step 3 - Reconnecting to the mains supply
You now need to fasten the mains connection. This will be the opposite method to the removal. Make sure you always start threads by hand to avoid risk of cross-threading.
For pillar and Bridge Mixer type taps the thread length is standard with the existing connection alignment assured. Once the thread has started, tighten with the right tool. As a precaution get someone to support the tap to assure it doesn’t twist on tightening. Make sure you don’t overtighten.
You don’t need PTFE tape for mixer taps as the hose connections already carry integral seals. Finger tighten the connector nuts to the mains pipe connections or isolator valves if fitted. Finally, tighten with the right sized open- ended spanner, whist gripping the connector or valve body below carefully, with adjustable pliers to avoid over straining the pipe. Again use the cloth over the plier jaws to avoid scratching. Do not overtighten.
Step 4 - Turn off the water supply
Make sure your new taps are off.
Slowly open the isolators or mains stop cock and water tank valve. Check the mains connections under the sink for any leakage.
If it all looks good after a couple of minutes, slowly open the taps. Expect an intermittent flow to start with, especially if you turned off the water at the main stop cock.
Success - you’ve successfully fitted your taps! Just make sure you check out the water connections for any signs of a leak over the next couple of days, just in case.