Tap Leaking


Hi When my wife and I go away for a few days we always shut off the hot and cold taps to the high pressure hoses on our washing machine. When we return and open them up again, the hot water tap leaks from just under the handle for a few days. Is there an easy way to fix this or do I have to replace the whole tap? Is this something I can do myself? Thanks for the help and advice. Howrd
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lever shut off valve. That way both hot and cold water are shut off with one stroke of the off-on lever--this is something you could do your self but if not comfortable with this type of DIY project, should be a quick and easy job for a plumber--- Something you should do, BTW is to keep the valve(s) closed all the time when not using the machine, not just when you go away. You are depending on a relatively cheap valve on the machine to give you 24/7 protection against a serious water leak--not to mention the hoses (potential failure) that are also subjected to the trauma of the various water pressure surges that take place most times when you open/close a water faucet. Second is option is to remove the handle and replace the seal. MLD
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MLD's advice is good. Additionally there are devices on the market that will automatically shut off the wall valves. You plug the device into an outlet, then your washing machine into the device. The device is plumbed into your washer supply piping and has electrically operated valves. When you turn on your washer, it senses the current flow and opens the valves. When the wasser finishes, it senses that and shuts the valves. Not a bad job for an experienced DIYer but should not be your first plumbing project.
Most manufacturers, due to liability reasons, will include in their manual or lables on the back of the machine, directions to replace these hoses at least every five years. To be safe, you should never use plain rubber hoses. Only use hoses with steel braiding on the outside. The braiding provides mechanical strength to the hose, preventing the rubber from bulging and then splitting. The last set of hoses I purchased have small devices in them. If the hose bursts, the high water flow will cause this device to close shutting off the water. You'll only end up with a quart or two of water on the floor. I'm not sure if it will do anything on a small pinhole or weep since it wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and normal washer filling volume.
As to your original question, it sounds like your valve stem packing is leaking. You could just tighten the nut under the valve, on top of the body of the valve. However, it's probably best to replace both the valve washer and packing. They're both probably worn and easily replaceable while you have the valve apart.
First, turn off the supply to this fixture. Then undo that nut under the handle. Then, turn the handle to unscrew the stem from the body. Replace the rubber washer. You can buy a pack of mixed sizes from a home center, or bring the stem to the store to get the right size. Just unscrew the screw in the middle and pry to remove the old. Also pick up some teflon packing (looks like thick white string). Remove any old packing from under the nut by prying with a very small screwdriver. I lightly buff the stem with something like the scrubbing (green) side of one of those sponges for scrubbing pans. Wrap some packing around the stem (3 or 4 turns) under where the nut goes. You're trying to fill the space under the nut and still leave enough room to start the nut back onto its tread. Reassemble. Tighten the nut. Turn water back on. If you still get a leak at the stem, tighten the hex nut until it stops. Close and open a few times to check and retighten if necessary. If you can't stop the stem leak, disassemble and rebuild using more packing this time.
Howard Fisher wrote:

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