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The Dripping Mixer Tap In The Kitchen
Cleaning a washerless Mixer Tap to
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Editor's note: The faucet has the name "Hella" on it. No model number
or name is available.
Contributed by Puddledud.
My credentials are - none - this activity is not
one for which I have any expertise at all!
If you choose to do as I have done it is your decision and be it on
your own head!
Be aware that one possible outcome is a disassembled tap which cannot
be got back together or a tap with a persistent and unfixable leak.
Potentiallly - there may even be worse outcomes to be achieved.
This house is about 20 years old so I guess that the tap is too. The
water supply here has a lot of mineral in it. The tap has reached the
stage where it drips - even when I am careful about turning it off.
The folklore on the subject of mixer taps is that this type of tap is
difficult to fix - one suggestion that I found on the net was to buy a
replacement module and that could be a good move. One consideration is
the cost of these replacement modules and another - not to be
underestimated - is to determine which module may be needed and then to
try to find out whether or not the needed module is available.
I saw a mixer tap for sale in a catalogue recently for just [AUD]$29
but there is still the issue of the cost of getting it fitted and I
have no idea what length of service such a tap might give. Initially, I
couldn't tell who had made the tap I wanted to work on.
This is the result of my experiences in dealing with the problem.
I found a tap at a demolisher's secondhand yard. It was not exactly the
same as the one I wanted to fix but I recognised the decorative design
on the top of the handle and thought that at least it was made by the
same manufacturer. The tap was battered - scrap - and didn't cost much
This is a picture of the tap I wanted to work on:
The handle is secured to the tap by a set screw - metric allen key head
- located underneath the handle.
When this is removed a distinctive nylon movement guide for the stick
can be seen.
The trick - as far as I was concerned - is that the domed stainless
piece below the lever assembly is just a push on fit to screen a brass
threaded retaining nut from view.
I gently prised this cover off after first twisting it firmly to loosen
it. This manouvre requires a good strong grip. A pair of multigrips is
then sufficient to remove the brass locking nut but care is necessary
to grip the nut tightly. If large spanner sizes are available then they
would be a wiser choice for removing the nut.
Once this nut is removed then the tap is easily disassembled. I marked
a position on the nut with a texta as a reference point before removing
it so that I had a rough idea of where it should point to when
There is no need to remove the nylon securing ring from the brass
At this point I was able to remove the innards and found - listing is
top down -:
Figure 6 A brass securing nut.
Figure 7 A nylon securing ring (screwed into the top of the brass
Figure 8 A nylon movement guide
Figure 9 A spring washer
Figure 10 A rubber(?) or silicon(?) washer -
the downward facing side has a ceramic? surface
This is the gummed up one that I took out of the tap - the one I
cleaned up was just as bad if not worse.
Figure 11 A "ball on a stick" - with holes to allow the water to move
throught the fitting.
Again this is the gummed up ball on a stick that I took out of the tap.
Figures 12 and 13 show two water entry ports each of which has a
rubber? or silicon? grommet. Below each of these grommets is a spring.
Also removed was a flat rubber seal ( to prevent leaks
presumably) (No picture)
I advise against removing the flat rubber seal as the one on the
salvaged tap was fragile and broke easily.
There is a guide key on the side of the nylon movement guide and a slot
to match it in the casing of the top of the tap body.
The "ball on a stick" slots into a pivot point on the right hand inside
wall of the tap assembly and there is a slot on the side of the ball
which is to be located on the pivot point when the tap is reassembled.
An inspection of the innards revealed a lot of scale on the "ball on a
stick", the large capping washer and also - to some extent - on the
grommets at the base. The scale on the grommets was on the sides of the
gromets and not immediately visible. I am not entirely sure that what I
detected was scale they may have been made that way.
I consulted the web and found that scale can be removed with lemon
After a trip to the lemon tree, perhaps 6 to 8 lemons later I had a
glass jar with about three centimeters of lemon juice in it (Figure 14).
I soaked the seals, the "ball on a stick", the gromets and the springs.
The springs I didn't soak for long as I was wary of eroding the thin
The seals I monitored carefully - they seemed to cope with the lemon
juice well and maybe even softened up a little.
I didn't remove all of the build up from the sides of the base gromets
as I wasn't sure whether what I was removing was actually scale or
whether it was meant to be there.
The upper seal needed quite a lot of soaking to clean up the bluish
ceramic? component which is overlaid on the rubber/silicon? seal.
The "ball on a stick" needed very extensive soaking - all told it was
in the lemon juice for the best part of 24 hours. At intervals I would
remove the soaking items and rub at the disolving scale with a tissue.
Initially the scale looks much like the brass that might show through
if a plated surface has been worn away.
Figures 15 and 16 show what the "ball on a stick" and the
silicon/rubber? seal looked like when they had been cleaned up.
The plan is to disassemble the kitchen tap and - if it is the same -
then use some or all of the cleaned bits and pieces to replace the
scaled up bits currently in the tap.
The top of the mechanism does look the same I might add - for I have
had the handle off when I made an earlier investigation.
I intend to reuse the existing cap and brass retaining nut.
I expect the "ball on a stick" to be held in place by a combination of
the tension of the brass securing nut and the nylon securing ring and I
suspect that getting the pressure on the "ball on a stick" adjusted
correctly using these two controls may be a large part of getting the
tap to work correctly.
This is one reason why I intend to not undo the nylon securing ring but
to simply reuse the brass securing nut which is currently in place.
With a bit of luck this will mean that I only have one control - the
nut - to get right to reset the pressure on the "ball on a stick" to
the correct setting.
There is the issue of hygine to be considered.
On the one hand these taps are sealed - the gunk in them mainly comes
from the water itself.
There is potential for other build up from use and splashes too and
this is one reason to use as much as possible of the original pieces in
the tap reassembly. There is of course no guarantee that the original
pieces are any cleaner than the replacement pieces.
Hours of soaking in lemon juice also probably helps clean the parts
which may be introduced.
And then there is the potential for the finished tap to be adequately
flushed out when the tap is used.
I ended up replacing the "ball on a stick" and its capping washer with
the newly cleaned up pieces. I did not touch the lower gromets or their
When tightening the brass retaining nut it is possible to lock the
"ball on a stick" so it is necessary to carefully adjust the tension on
the nut so that the ball moves smoothly as expected.
It is probably a good idea to move the lever about a bit once the nut
is nearly tightened to help seat the rubber/silicon seal on the top of
the "ball on a stick" and to get a good idea of just what tension is
needed. The nut should tighten to something like the point marked with
the texta but if the "ball on a stick" is then locked it is necessary
to back the tension off until the "ball on a stick" moves evenly.
An alternatve would be to tighten the nut securely and then undo the
nylon securing ring - as long as there is enough play left in the ring
positioning to do that.
I found the tap manufacturer's name on the inside of the under handle
cavity after I had removed it. In the case of this tap the manufacturer
now appears to mainly sell caravan taps and is much better known for
completely different products.
It is really a bit hard to evaluate the outcome of this project. Is
success achieved when the tap never drips - after all taps drip at the
best of times and these mixer taps drip easily if they are not turned
off carefully. Is success achieved if the tap doesn't drip when it is
turned off carefully?
I turned the tap off carefully - put a cup underneath the spout - and
left it overnight. Figure 17 shows the result.
It is now 26th of May 2016, nearly four years on - and the tap continues to work
well so anyone considering such a repair may find the effort worthwhile
in the longer term.
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Article copyright ©2012 by Puddledud, Web page layout copyright
©2011 Richard Cappels All Rights to
layout Reserved. Find updates
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First posted in July,
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Keywords: Reclaimed Dripping Leaking Hella
Washerless Mixing Tap Cleaning
Repair Lemon Juice Solution.
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