How to Change Seals on Bathroom Faucets & Taps

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathroom faucets and taps are constantly exposed to moisture and running water, leaving them susceptible to general wear over time. The seals on these plumbing fixtures can harden and become contaminated with mould or rust, often resulting in leaks. There are particular components in a faucet assembly that require replacement for a new, improved seal. The necessary supplies are available at home improvement stores and require basic installation. Doing so will restore the faucet or tap to perfect running order.

Locate the shutoff valves for the faucet, usually beneath the sink. Turn them clockwise to shut off the water supply.

Pull off or unscrew any decorative covers from the faucet handles, depending on the design. Remove the exposed screw that anchors the handle and lift the faucet cap to reveal the stem of the faucet. Keep track of all the loose screws for reassembly of the faucet later on.

Use a wrench to undo the faucet stem from the leaky handle, along with the attached O-ring. Any packing nuts or placement clips preventing the stem from being lifted can be slipped off or undone using a wrench of the appropriate size.

Reach into the faucet's housing and remove the rubber washer. Take the stem, O-ring and washer to a hardware or home improvement store and purchase the matching replacements for the plastic O-ring and metal washer.

Reassemble the faucet or tap fixture using the new components. Tighten each connection firmly, returning all corresponding screws, clips and nuts into place.

Turn the faucet valves on to restore the water supply. Run the water and check for leaks in the new seals to ensure that installation was successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Plastic O-ring
  • Metal washer
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