The guardian doesn't quite show the internals of a traditional tap, and the plumber I usually call, couldn't come today. The new plumber says that since the drive of the screw on the tap is ruined, I'd require to buy a new tap (pic below).

I didn't believe him, and would like to confirm if the entire tap really needs to be replaced or just some washers or spindle inside? Basically, if I turn the tap in any direction, water keeps flowing. The only way to stop it is to press it hard from above and wrap insulation tape around the tap while keeping it pressed.

ps: Dad says he suspects the tap is a washerless type which might have to be replaced completely.

The tap:

enter image description here

  • that screw holds the handle on the tab, the threaded part that the screw inserts into is part of the valve. this should have little affect on the operation of the tap. If you can remove the screw then all you would need to do is replace the screw. I recommend a set of pliers. – Hightower May 16 '15 at 12:55

The reason why the plumber says this is that the cost to replace just the screw (for him) would be greater than the cost to replace the whole handle and valve assembly. This is because he can replace the whole handle assembly in 10 minutes, but it would probably take him at least 30-45 minutes minimum to find and install a perfect replacement screw.

If you value your time less, feel free to look for a replacement screw. Note that the screw will have to be a certain length and thread pitch and diameter etc.

If the internals of the valve are cleaned up, resurfaced and washers replaced, the valve should operate correctly. The screw is for the handle and is not part of the valve.

Getting that screw out, by the way, will be annoying. The way to do it (not involving high temperature processes) is to use a sleeve bushing around the screw, a drill bushing inside the sleeve, then drill a hole for a screw extractor.


That screw is most likely a standard machine screw. If you can remove it, then bring it to the local hardware store to see if you can find a replacement. Make sure that the replacement is brass. Most other screws will end up corroding and aren't suitable for plumbing.

To remove the screw, you may need to use a screw extractor. Before you try that, see if you can remove it with a pair of locking pliers. Standard pliers definitely won't work, but locking pliers may be able to grip the screw head hard enough to unscrew it.


The only way to stop it is to press it hard from above

Sounds like the inner stem threads are worn out. Given the apparent age of the fixture in the photo it seems likely.

You might be able to remove the inner parts and get new ones. Given the value of single taps it is simply not worth your time and gas to do that kind of repair. Definitely get a plumber to do it - changing a tap is not at all difficult. Removing a tap that has been on the pipe for several decades requires large tools, lubricants, and experience. Replacing the pipe because it's rusted from the inside and is only 1mm thick takes a few more tools, all of which will be in the plumber's van.

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