Leaky tap

Hi,
I have changed the washer on two old - very old - taps in my house, (I think the taps are about 40 years old), and they are still leaking after having replaced the 1/2 inch washers.
To be frank, I am not certain is the half inch washer is the right size as each tap looks as if it could do with a slightly bigger washer - anyone know if older taps used to have 'bigger' size washers and, if so, where can I lay my hands on replacements today?
Anyhow, after replacing the washers the taps are still dripping and so my options appear to be:
1) Buy a hand grinder and grind down the seat. I have never done this before, have no idea how difficult it is and whether it works or not?
2) Replace the taps altogether. I have never done this before and I have put off doing it as the copper pipes leading to the taps look old, are in a difficult place, etc, etc, but it is something I have been thinking about doing/learning so... If I go down this route what things should I be wary of and what new whizz bang products are available in terms of fittings there days - i.e. should I consider those flexible pipes that fit on taps, push-fit fittings, etc?
Any thoughts, advice on the above would be of use,
Thanks,
John.
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On Mon, 30 Aug 2004 18:27:22 UTC, "John Smith"

I guess it depends how long you are going to live with the taps.
We had two taps like this in the bathroom, and grinding wasn't too successful (they are old too). I bought a set of those cheap 'tap refurbishment' bits from a shed for about 8 quid. Screws in the top and provides a new seat and stop. Works OK, at least for the few months before we rip out the bathroom.
--
Bob Eager
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I want to move next year or, if I do not move, I want to refurbish the kitchen the taps are in. I would rather not do anything major now and I believe I have imperial copper piper so it gets messy then doesn't it - imperial to metric convertors and all that. I wondered if I could get away with some of that pushfit type tap connectors and use them?
John.
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BTW, forgot to ask - which shed did you buy it in?
Thanks,
John.
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On Mon, 30 Aug 2004 19:07:07 UTC, "John Smith"
B&Q...but I bought one set when in our last house (similar purpose and lifetime) and I think that was in Homebase. They seem fairly common.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

A lot of hardware shops sell a range of washer sizes. Take the innards of one of your taps with you, to get some washers which fit.
If this still doesn't stop the drips, re-cutting the seats is the next step. This can only be done a certain number of times - and may or may not be possible, depending on whether they've been done previously. Cut as little off as possible - consistent with getting a flat, unpitted, surface on the seat.
If that doesn't work either, it's new taps. If you get taps which are broadly similar to the existing ones, you'll probably find that the existing pipes fit straight onto the new taps without requiring any modifications. However, getting 40-year taps off without breaking the basins or whatever to which they're attached may present a bit of a challenge!
If you *do* need to modify the pipework, you could use flexible braided tap connectors (Screwfix D18417 or similar) to connect to the tap itself - and shorten the original pipe to suit the braided hose. *Don't* use pushfit fittings - because they are designed for metric pipe sizes and your pipes are almost certainly imperial. In addition, you probably won't be able to clean up to old pipes (traces of paint etc.) sufficiently for pushfit to seal properly. The hose I suggested has a compression fitting at the remote end from the tap. The 15mm variety will fit old 1/2" pipe ok. If any of the taps are 3/4" and use 3/4" pipe, you will need 3/4"/22mm flexibles (designed for joining a 3/4" tap to a 22mm pipe) - for which you'll have to buy special olives to fit to 3/4" pipe rather than 22mm. The hose I suggested also has a built-in 1/4 turn service valve - which makes it easy to isolate the tap for subsequent washer changers without having to turn the whole water system off.
--
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wrote:

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Thanks - just double checked now and it looks like a 1/2 inch diameter copper pipe going to, and soldered to, a piece of copper pipe, about 2 inches long, which is slightly wider, so I assume that is 15mm diameter pipe, which has a bolt on the end and which is attached directly to the taps. I assume the short piece of pipe with the bolt on the end is a type of tap connector? It is impossible to see the tap connectors behind the bowl of the sink.
I think a tap change would involve cutting the pipes just below the bowl where it is visible to me, using a tap connector to connect a flexible tap hose to the current piping and the flexible tap hose to the new taps.... after turning the water off of course.
I will give it a try tomorrow morning to unscrew the connectors on the taps to the pipes to see if I can lift the sink off and replace the taps that way - i.e. removing the taps and taking them to a shop so I can get as identical a replacement tap as is possible.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

I'm pretty sure that what you've got is the 1960's equivalent of a soldered tap connector - see http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/sea/searchresults.jsp ;jsessionid=MNXEK4YXE2WEJCJO2C3CHPQ?_dyncharset=UTF-8&q894&n=&pn=1&pd=1&pi=1&cn=1&cd=1&x=7&y (Watch the wrap. If the link doesn't work, go to www.screwfix.com and look for part 15894) [The one shown here is bent, but the straight ones are similar].
Thae change in diameter is where the pipe goes into the fitting. The fitting obviously has to be bigger than the pipe so that the pipe can go inside.
With respect to pipe sizes, it's worth pointing out that, with a 1/2" imperial pipe, the 1/2" refers to the nominal *inside* diameter - whereas metric pipe is sized on the *outside*. There is actually *very* little difference between the outside diameter of a 1/2" and 15mm pipe. There is slightly more difference between 3/4" and 22mm - but even that isn't very great.
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On Mon, 30 Aug 2004 20:41:46 GMT, "John Smith"
I doubt it. If you unscrew the nut on the end of the copper pipe from the tap then unscrew the nut holding the tap to the basin the tap will lift out. A new set should drop straight in, and in a Haynes style - refitting is the reverse of removal! The tap connectors will be 1/2" BSP, as will the new ones. The fittings with threads on stayed the same size when metrication came along, it's only pipe that changed, and therefore soldered fittings, for some reason.
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strung together this:

Thanks Lurch, so if I am reading you right you are of the thought that if I can get the nuts undone I should be able to pop along to Homebase, B&Q, whoever, buy a standard set of UK taps and simply screw them back in?
John.
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"if I can get the nuts undone" is what happened to me about a month ago, on the kitchen taps. I couldn't get enough purchase on one of the fixing nuts, and a half hour job turned into a hacksaw-blade exercise. And you need arms like a gorilla to hold the tap steady whilst trying to undo the nut with a less than satisfactory spanner access.
Before you commit yourself, take the tap apart again and have a closer look at it. That little piston that holds the washer... is it bright and shiny, with no traces of crud under the washer? Any crud there and water seeps through the centre hole in the washer and results in a small leak. Clean that piston thoroughly before re-assembly.
When that's ok then look down the tap at the end of the pipe that the washer bears down on. Is the top of the pipe nicely smooth and rounded, with no crud on it?
Look for a crack or little chunk out of the bearing surface. If it looks reasonably ok you might get away with just a light skim with a facing tool.
--
Tony Williams.

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Good advice Tony - actually, I have put two washers on the little piston - one above and one below the metal disc.
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wrote:

I once had a permanent mystery leak in a tap that was fixed by a friendly plumber who ground down the bit that the washer pushes against. As you say, these get chipped or cracked or encruddified. I had looked by eye but had not been able to see what was wrong. He had a special gadget for doing the grinding which y9ou may be able to hire out (hand tool/manual grinder).

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I bought a tap re-seater - asked for a tap grinder in my local DIY shop and got a few odd looks from the various plumbers in there who were asking for Star Trek style bits and pieces - and grinded the cold water tap and, touch wood, it seems to have worked. I then played around with the hot water one, which was not dripping as bad as the cold water one was, and it is not that much better. I am going to rest on my laurels this evening and have another go grinding the hot water one tomorrow morning.
The grinder is easy to use but doesn't fit my tap hole - it has a number of head attachments but all are much smaller than my tap 'head' but the 16mm attachment seems about the right size for the bit/seat that the washer sits on.
John.
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On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 12:38:30 GMT, "John Smith"

Yes, but now I see you are worried about getting the nuts undone, but if you can't you won't be gaining anything by having to take bits of pipe out etc... as the nuts have to come off before you can get the taps out IYSWIM. Perseverance is all you need, and possibly a basin wrench and a good pair of grips!
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