Fixing Taps: 3 Common Problems In Old Homes


After years of squeezing in with different roommates and moving from one flat to another– you finally have your first home! If you are one of many who invested in an older property, you need to get the skills to maintain it. These houses and flats are usually very affordable, but there is a lot of work ahead.

Among all the different systems working in your home, plumbing is often a major concern. Since it is used daily, you’d expect it to be given proper care and attention. However, people tend to ignore the warning signs and opt not to fix the problems they can “live with.”

If you are determined to stay in this place long term, you must learn how to repair and maintain common plumbing problems or else risk losing your central heating as well. You can start by learning how to deal with the 3 common tap problems:

Leaky Taps

A dripping faucet may not be the worst plumbing problem you can have in your home, and that’s why you should be wary of it. It sneaks up on you, quietly dripping bit by bit and slowly accumulating at the end of the year into a ghastly water bill.

Besides wasting water and breaking the bank one drop at a time, leaky taps can damage the washers inside your faucet further and affect even your sink! Worst case scenario? It would be best if you replaced the whole thing.

Fixing taps on your own is not usually advised, but it is possible. When you have your toolbox on hand, you can follow the instructions below:

  1. Identify what type of faucet you have.
  2. Prep your space by disconnecting the water supply and closing the drain.

3.     A. For Ball Taps:

Unscrew the faucet handle and remove the cap, washer, and ball.

Use needle-nose pliers to take out the inlet seal and spring.

Replace the O-rings along with a new spring, valve seats, and cam washers.

B.  For Cartridge Taps:

Remove the handle and retaining clip.

Take out the cartridge and faucet spout so you can find the O-rings

Replace the O-rings and make sure you use silicone grease to make a tight seal.

C. For Compression Taps:

Remove each handle of your faucet, along with the nut, to expose the steam.

Take out the stem and remove the seat washer and replace it.

  1. When step 3 is finished, you can put the elements back together again and reassemble the handles.

When you do not install the elements properly, the leak may persist. When it comes to technical tasks like this, it is best to contact a professional plumber. You can learn more about when to call a plumber here.

Rust and Grime

Old homes are notorious for their rusty pipes and fixtures. While you can easily polish any exposed metal, rust is not a good sign. It means that the plumbing system is not clean and that there might be more expensive problems hidden behind the walls. When there is rust in the system, it can affect the other fixtures in the house, from your radiator valves to your taps.

So how do you get rust in the first place? It starts with limescale build-up. Hard water is safe to use, but since it is rich in minerals, especially limescale, blockages tend to form. When this happens, air enters the system and creates rust.

You can avoid this from escalating by adding an anti-scale solution near the main water supply line. You may choose to add a bit every month or invest in a self-administering device. You can also replace all the rusty taps and valves to make sure the system stays clean. However, if your pipes are rusty, you may need to call a plumber since all pipework must be done by a professional.

Low Water Pressure

Usually, there is nothing you can do with low water pressure because it depends on your location. However, if the pressure is fine in some parts of your house and not in others, the issue might lie somewhere else. If you recently had any maintenance done, you might want to check if they toggled with the valves. If they did, then you can easily change it back. However, when you aren’t in a low water pressure area, and the valves are fine–it can be the third option: your taps.

Limescale build-up in your aerator or cartridge may be blocking off the water, leading to a weak trickle. You can take out your tools and remove these pieces so they can have a thorough clean. Soak the pieces in a baking soda and vinegar solution and use an old toothbrush to get the small nooks and crannies. When it is clean, you should get better water pressure in no time.

Your old house may come with many strings attached like noisy faucets, creaking floorboards, and drafty windows. However, it doesn’t make it less of a home. With a bit of sweat equity, you can learn how to navigate its hiccups and make it your own. Today the taps, tomorrow the rest of the house!

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