If for some reason – breakage, wear, change of design, it is required to replace the mixer in the bathroom or kitchen, then for the owner this business should not be an unexpected and extraordinary event. Replacing the water tap yourself is a simple job that requires only care and the availability of a suitable tool. For a home craftsman, such work takes a maximum of 1.5 hours, not counting the time of choosing and purchasing the necessary plumbing fixture in the retail network..
Any plumbing equipment of the apartment is included in the system of plumbing and plumbing communications common to the house or area. Therefore, you need to remember about responsibility for errors in self-repair or replacement of this equipment. They can lead to damage to the property of neighbors and the management company as a result of flooding, fire or other accidents that have arisen due to negligence of the perpetrator of the accident.. All this can be avoided by carefully considering the entire process of replacing the mixer before starting work..
Before starting the repair or replacement of plumbing fittings (valves, valves, taps, mixers) and devices for their connection to pipelines, it is necessary to completely turn off the water supply to the repaired area. To do this, shutdown valves are closed at the inlet of pipelines to a house or apartment (experts call such valves primary valves or primary valves).
Replacing or repairing the mixer requires disconnecting two water supply pipelines – cold and hot water. In addition to shutting off pipelines, it is necessary to make sure of the density of the primary valves by opening all the valves in the disconnected section for inspection: the cessation of leakage from the valves confirms the absence of gaps in the primary valves.
Preliminary measures are necessary to ensure complete safety at work. If it turns out that the primary valves in the “closed” position pass water in large quantities, then permission should be obtained to turn off the valves at the entrance or even at the entrance to the entire house. Permission can be obtained from the Management Company, where you need to write a statement indicating the date and time of the proposed repair.
The management company must send its employees for the operation of disconnecting and then connecting the pipelines.
To replace an unusable or unpresentable mixer, you must first purchase a new one. On sale there is a huge number of mixers for baths and sinks, domestic and foreign manufacturers, of any color, style and material of manufacture..
The device of modern bathrooms involves the installation of mixers of two functional types in several versions.
- Two separate faucets: one is installed above the sink bowl, the other for filling the bathtub and shower. These devices are completely different in design and function. Above the sink, the faucet is ordinary, designed for washing. The faucet above the bathtub has a switch for the direction of flow to the shower or to the gander for collecting water.
- One mixer that performs three functions at once: a washbasin above the sink, a device for supplying water to the bathroom and a shower. The same type of mixing valve is used as in the first version (with a switch for the direction of water flow).
For the sink, conventional taps with two valves are more often used (one valve for starting cold and the other for hot water) or taps with one lever. Cranes with a lever are also called single-lever. The design of the named mixers is not the same. They also differ in terms of ease of use: to regulate the pressure and temperature of the water through a single-lever tap, one-handed control is enough. In a two-valve tap, sometimes two hands are not enough.
Familiar to everyone when visiting public places (theaters, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, train stations), contactless faucets are not only a new type of plumbing comfort based on the principles of automation and electronics, but also quite hygienic and economical devices..
By setting them to a certain water supply temperature suitable for all family members, they are no longer touched with dirty or soapy hands.
Single-lever mixers also have a significant drawback – either ball or cartridge locking mechanisms are built into them, which are very demanding on the purity of water. In the conditions of old water supply networks, not equipped with modern treatment equipment, ceramic parts of faucets quickly fail. The parts cannot be repaired, they can only be replaced with a new locking mechanism. But such work can be done in 20 minutes without resorting to the services of plumbers. More important in this case is the set of the necessary tool.
The main reasons for the complete replacement of mixing taps in the kitchen and bathroom are their frequent leaks or blockages, wear of the switching mechanisms in the “shower-spout” system, cracks in the body, broken fasteners, as well as a change in the design of the premises where these taps are installed. You should understand and determine exactly why breakdowns occur. This is especially important for those who are satisfied with the existing mixers, and extra costs are not included in the plans..
Often, some of the named causes can be eliminated without replacing the entire valve..
Leaks in two-valve types of taps are from the mixer gander and from under the crane flywheel.
- From the gander of the mixer. Possible one of two reasons or both at once. The first is the missing valve gaskets due to a violation of their integrity, wear, hardening or deformation. Integrity can be compromised by exposing the gasket to the sharp edges of the valve seat. The second is the wear of the seat and valve, which occurs most often in taps with a long service life as a result of corrosion and mechanical (rubbing) action of water.
- From under the crane flywheel. Blame for this: flywheel stem seal or valve gasket. A poor flywheel seal is due to a loose or deformed O-ring. The reason for missing the gasket – it fell out of the pin.
Ball or cartridge mixers leak if grains of sand or other debris enters the valve mechanism (between the ball and its seat on ball mixers, and between the cartridge-type valve discs). Even if the taps are tightly closed, water will ooze through the gap formed between the working parts of the valves..
In taps with a shower, in addition to the listed malfunctions for the same type of mixers, other leaks are possible.
- When you open the tap, water flows through both the gander and the shower. The reason lies in the switch. Depending on the type of mechanism, these may be: lack of water pressure for tight switching of the “shower-spout” system in push-button types of switches with a metal valve, wear of guide parts in switches with an eccentric and a barrel, breakage due to sand ingress of plates and retainers into ball switches, wear of gaskets in spool devices.
- Leakage through pushbutton switches due to damaged O-ring.
The reason for the decrease in the flow of water at the outlet of any type of mixer is most often the clogging of a special device installed at the end of the gander, called an aerator. It becomes dirty due to the high hardness of the raw water, the salt deposits of which clog the aerator screen and the holes of the shower head. Debris and scale in the water pipes can clog the faucets themselves, which will also affect the power of the jet at the outlet of the tap. All these malfunctions do not require a complete replacement of taps and can be easily eliminated at home..
Breakdowns in the form of cracks and fistulas in the valve bodies, breakdowns of fasteners made in conjunction with the valve bodies require replacement with serviceable devices. Non-contact taps, although they have a long service life, are subject to the same malfunctions as all the others: they clog up from dirty water, the internal shutter mechanisms wear out, and the aerator nets get clogged. But in addition to this, sensors and photocells responsible for turning on the water when hands approach the faucet nose may fail.. Such a malfunction can only be mastered by a specialist who understands electronics..
When replacing mixing water taps, a small set of tools is required, which a person who knows how to solve economic problems on their own will always have.
Here is a list of tools that may be needed when dismantling and installing various types of cranes (without repair):
- an adjustable or gas wrench of medium size (it is ideal to have a clamping wrench for this);
- open-end wrenches for 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 22 and 24 mm (rarely – a wrench for 27);
- 10 mm socket wrench;
- flat thin screwdriver;
- Phillips screwdriver;
- bucket (basin) for draining water.
In addition to the tool, you will need consumables:
- tape for sealing connecting parts (thread seal);
- liquid sealant;
- insulating tape.
The connecting water hoses will definitely need to be replaced with new ones. New valves are supplied to the trade network complete with hoses, but their length does not always correspond to the actual length at the installation site. Therefore, it is recommended to measure the length of the old hoses and purchase the same. The standard length of the hoses supplied with the valves is 30 cm.
How to remove and disassemble?
Before installing a new tap, it is necessary to dismantle the old plumbing fixture. The easiest way to clean the bathtub faucet is that it can be removed entirely by unscrewing the two union nuts that connect it to the hot and cold water supply lines. The only difficulty can arise in the case of polymer pipelines. It will take a lot of effort to unscrew the nuts, so you need to hold on to the underwater pipes to avoid twisting and breaking. You can hold the pipes with a gas or clamping wrench by the metal fastening lugs soldered into them..
Sink mixers cannot be removed so quickly, the work is often associated with the difficulty of access to the dismantling points, and sometimes requires the removal of the bowl.
Most modern sink taps will be removed correctly in the following order..
- The water pipelines are turned off by the primary shut-off valves on the inlet manifold of an apartment or house.
- The taps are opened both at the place of work and in other places to relieve pressure from the disconnected sections. If necessary, a bucket can be placed under the open dismantled tap to collect the remaining liquid on the supply of hot and cold water lines..
- After making sure that all the water from the pipes at the level of the taps has gone, you can begin to work on removing the sink mixer. To do this, you have to get under the bowl, spreading something so as not to get dirty. It is better to disconnect the sewer pipes and the siphon – it will be more convenient to deal with the tap. It is good to use a bucket or basin to collect possible liquid residues in detachable sewer devices..
- Flexible wires are unscrewed from hot and cold water pipes. There is still water in the hoses and pipes at the lower level, it will not hurt to substitute the dishes to collect it. At this stage, you need an adjustable or open-end wrench 22×24.
- Immediately use a suitable tool (knife, screwdriver) to clean the supply pipe fittings from the remnants of the old sealant, if any..
- The next operation is the most difficult, especially if the crane has been installed for a long time. The bottom fastener of the crane has two long steel pins with nuts screwed on them. From moisture, the nuts become tightly stuck to the pins, and sometimes it is impossible to unscrew them. To facilitate the task, it is recommended to lubricate the entire thread of the pins and the places of their contact with the nuts with kerosene or a special solution sold in hardware stores, and give some time to soak the areas of scale connections. After that, unscrew the nuts completely with a pipe wrench by 10 (a spanner wrench is also suitable).
- Now it’s time to get up off the floor from under the sink. Pulling the valve outward as far as possible, unscrew the flexible connections from the inlet openings at the bottom of the valve body. This can be done with pliers..
- Pull the entire tap up. Before unscrewing the hoses, this cannot be done – the lower fastening plate interferes, through the holes of which the nuts of the flexible connections connecting the connections to the pipelines do not pass.
- Clean the place of installation of the mixer on the sink from dirt not only from above, but also from below, under the sink.
It is recommended not to throw away the removed cranes, but to disassemble them for parts. No one knows when gaskets, fasteners, valves and a crane box may be required. Even if they are old. Sometimes you may need an ordinary lamb, but you will not have it at hand.
The handle (lever) of the crane or the handwheel is removed after unscrewing the screw with screwdrivers. The screws are located under the decorative caps, which you just need to pry off with a knife or flat screwdriver. Having removed the handwheel or lever, unscrew the top cover of the valve mixer body or remove the cartridge with cassettes and discs in ball valves. The rest of the spare parts are easily removed from the valve body: valves, gaskets, crown (valve box). All this can be very useful in the future..
How to change the tap?
The new valve is installed in place in the reverse order to dismantling. Mixers are usually supplied assembled. Only in the shower-spout system installed above the bathtub, the shower column hose is packed in a separate package. It is connected after the installation of the crane to the supply pipes – it is more convenient to work this way. But it is imperative to check the devices for valve travel and the tightness of all connecting parts..
Installation of faucets for the kitchen and washbasin in the bathroom is done by hand, without the involvement of professionals. You just need to strictly follow the following step-by-step instructions..
- Screw the flexible pipes to the body. They must first be passed sequentially through special holes in the rubber seal and the mounting plate with the narrow connecting end of the liner (without nuts) forward, and then push them from below into the mounting hole of the sink shelf. To do this, you have to get under the sink..
- Screw the flexible cables into the mixer body securely.
- Place the gasket and the fixing plate on the pins at the bottom of the hole (work under the sink) and tighten them with nuts.
- Connect the free ends of the flexible hoses to the hot and cold water pipelines, for reliability, wind a sealing tape on the threads of the adapters. Make sure gaskets are inserted in the flexible hose nuts. If they are not there, then they should be included. With synthetic pipes, it is not necessary to use excessive force for tightening the nuts.
- Correctly place the tap in the sink mounting hole, distribute the upper seal evenly around the circumference, and tighten the fixing nuts under the sink.
- Pressurize the system by supplying water to the mixer, having previously closed the control taps that were opened before starting work.
- In the case of removing the bowl to gain access to the fixture of the mixer, it must be installed in place after tightening the fixing elements of the valve before connecting the flexible hoses to the pipelines. That is, point 3 of the step-by-step instructions is replaced by point 5, after which you need to hang the bowl on its mounting bolts.
When installing the device above the bathtub, it is imperative to strengthen the reliability of its connection with the supply pipes with liquid sealant or thread winding with fum tape. When installing the neck and shower hose, you must install the gaskets in the joints, which should be included in the delivery set. Also included are eccentrics for adjusting the tolerance of supply pipes and valve fasteners.
When installing a new device, it is better to replace the old eccentrics with new ones from the kit..
Novice masters can be given several tips and practical recommendations that useful when replacing mixing taps of any design.
- To extend the terms of the flawless operation of water taps, you need to install filters at the water inlets (after the primary valves). Conventional water filters are cheap but effective. Filters will keep the plumbing fittings from debris and sand, causing heavy damage to ball and cartridge elements of modern types of mixers.
- During installation work, find ways to install check valves on the water line after filters and meters. These devices will not allow hot and cold water to flow through the mixers due to the pressure difference in their lines and its excess.
- Periodically carry out preventive maintenance of apartment plumbing devices. Prevention of malfunctions means the following work: replacing once a year the gaskets of the valves and their connecting and sealing elements, as well as simultaneously cleaning them from scale and clogging, replacing flexible hoses at least once every two years. And at least once a month, thoroughly inspect the water supply system for leaks, especially in the places of any connections.
- When installing and dismantling any fittings on the water supply system, to preserve the nickel-plated surfaces, wrap the points of contact (loosening, clamping) of the tools with insulating tape. Plumbing work should be done deliberately, without haste, having calculated all the operations, the necessary materials and tools.
For information on how to repair a mixer, see the next video..