Whether you are updating your bathroom or installing a new one from scratch, there will come a time when new taps will need to be fitted. If this is a task you are willing to do yourself, you could save yourself money by learning how to do the job right.
The type of tap
Your first consideration is going to be the type of tap you buy. If you are replacing an old system you may need to buy similar taps to fit the old holes in your bath or sink.
Your basic choices are individual taps for hot and cold, a mixer system which has two taps but one water outlet or you can get a tap which has one tap which controls both the hot and cold feeds. Some taps will also have a lever for controlling the plug.
Your choice will be based on how each of these options looks, the type of system you had previously and the ease with which each can be installed.
Removing your old taps
It might sound obvious, but the first thing you need to do is turn off your water supply. Forgetting this important step could lead to all kinds of problems you were not expecting. Turn on the taps to drain the water which remains.
Use a wrench to undo the nut which connects the tap to the supply pipes. It can be tricky to get access to this – especially under the bath, but perseverance will usually get you there.
Now undo the nut which attaches your taps to the bath or basin. You may find it useful to have another person holding on to the tap so it doesn’t turn as you try to undo the nut.
Check what you have
Now that the taps are removed you need to clean the entire area and remove any old adhesive and dirt. Check the condition of your pipes, fixings and joins. It is at this stage that you will want to make any necessary repairs.
Check that the fittings for your new taps will work on your old pipework. You may need to get an adaptor if there is any discrepancy. Plastic fittings may require a connector to the pipes, while a monoblock tap (with one spout) will need a reducing coupler. The tap will come with a 10mm pipe which needs to be increased to the 15mm supply pipe.
If you are doing the job from scratch, you should already have your plumbing in place. Check to make sure it is positioned correctly and that it reaches the bath or basin.
Fit the new taps
Place your taps into the holes in the bath or sink with the washers between the tap and the surface of the bath or basin. A backnut will be supplied which can tightened to attach the tap.
Once the taps are attached, the supply pipes can be connected. It is possible to use copper piping to do this or push-fit plastic fittings. Copper is useful for awkward positioning but you will require a blowtorch and solder to fit the lengths together.
When connecting to the water supply, just hand tighten each end until the position is correct and you feel that the water will run without any problems. This should mean that there are as few twists and turns as possible. Try to keep your plumbing neat. Once you are happy, tighten both ends.
Check for leaks
Now is the time to turn on the water and run the taps. Just gently at first. Check carefully all around the connections and the taps themselves to see if any water is escaping. Remember that even the smallest drip can lead to damage over time. If a leak is detected, simply tighten the nuts and connections and try again. Your last resort will be to take it apart and try again.
A plumber will charge you a fortune to fit some taps – so doing it yourself will save you plenty. So you will be able to buy those fancy new taps you had your heart set on.