Faucet Washers

The slop sink in the rental house developed a drip and, unlike our kitchen faucet, required only a new washer. Of course, choosing the right size from that assortment posed a bit of a problem:

Slop sink valve with washers

Slop sink valve with washers

The old washer is in the upper right; you can see the indentation from the valve seat.

There’s a variety of sizes & shapes; these represent just the closest matches. I have no idea what 3/8, 3/8R, and 3/8L might signify, but they’re all slightly different, some with conical cross-sections that may also be slightly different. Worst case, of course, you can sand down the rim of a too-large washer to make the diameter come out right.

[Update: a table of sizes mentioned in the comments.]

The washer just in front of the old one has information molded right into the back: GOLDEN STATE 10ยข 1/2. Now there’s a show of confidence in price stability that you don’t see much any more!

I found one that fit snugly in the recess of the valve stem, turned the screw tight, and it’s all good.

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  1. #1 by madbodger on 3-October-2012 - 10:32

    Information is hard to come by and contradictory. There are several washer sizing systems out there. For small washers, they have sizes like 0, 00, and 000, which are 17/32, 16/32, and 15/32″ OD. A 00 is the same as a 1/4S (S for “small”). Yes, a “1/4S” washer is 16/32 or 1/2″ OD. It gets worse. A size 0 matches a 1/4M (M for “medium”). At that point, the number sizes run out, and the series continues with the fractional sizes. A 1/4, which is the same as a 1/4R (R for “regular”, I’m guessing) is 18/32″ OD. And a 1/4L (L for “large”) is 19/32. However, a different vendor’s 1/4M is 37/64 OD! This continues through 1/2, 3/8, and 5/8 (a 5/8L can be 29/32 or 30/32, depending on vendor), and then a new number size, 1, which is an inch across. To complicate things further, these are available in flat or beveled, and I saw one vendor offering a “3/4 bevel”. Further, vendors are now assigning color codes to sizes. These, of course, are not standardized. A size 1/2 (which is also a 1/2R), is 3/4″ OD, or 24/32, is “yellow” from Brasscraft and “hot pink” from Korky.

    • #2 by Ed on 3-October-2012 - 10:48

      I think I know more now than I did two minutes ago, but I’m not certain of anything except that plumbing sizes make no sense whatsoever.

      Uh, thanks, anyway. [grin]

      This reminds me of the situation with bicycle spoke diameters:

      A particular problem is that French gauge numbers get smaller for thinner wires, while the U.S./British gauge numbers get larger for thinner wires. The crossover point is right in the popular range of sizes used for bicycle spokes:

      I’m sure it all made sense at the time…

      • #3 by Aki on 6-October-2012 - 05:55

        A lack of (coherent ones) standards may explain this…

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant#Construction_delays

        • #4 by Ed on 6-October-2012 - 06:50

          This may be a large part of it:

          builders were not used to working to the exacting standards required on nuclear construction sites, since so few new reactors had been built in recent years

          We know the bad side effects of a monoculture, but making every reactor an R&D project doesn’t work well, either.

  2. #5 by madbodger on 3-October-2012 - 10:34

    Oh, I forgot to mention: a 000L exists, but is SMALLER (29/64) than a 000 (15/32 or 30/64). Wow.

  3. #6 by Red County Pete on 3-October-2012 - 22:29

    Hmm, sounds like a table of the dimensions for washers would be Really Useful if some poor devil did one. OTOH, I just got rid of the last* faucet that needs washers. For some reason, cartridges last enough longer that it doesn’t hurt to replace them. Of course, with Home Desperate an 80 mile round trip, minimizing the trips into town is a Good Thing.

    * except for the random kitchen faucets at church and the parsonage, though the bathrooms have Delta bits and I have spares already.

    • #7 by Ed on 4-October-2012 - 08:51

      a table of the dimensions for washers

      Except that you always buy a big package of assorted washers, then rummage around to find the one that’s closest to the crushed and warped fragments pried from the bowels of the faucet.

      Despite my kvetching about the O-ring seals on the kitchen faucet spout, the water valves have worked perfectly all along. Given the replacement cost, that’s a very good thing!

    • #8 by madbodger on 7-October-2012 - 12:44

      Since I had the data anyway, I lightly formatted it into an HTML table for reference:

      http://www.vitriol.com/washersizes.html

      • #9 by Ed on 7-October-2012 - 13:01

        I’ll put that link up in the post where it belongs… thanks!