How to fix a dripping tap

Dripping Tap: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

Are you annoyed by the constant sound of a dripping tap? Does the sight of water droplets hitting the sink or bathtub keep you up at night? A dripping tap can be more than just an irritation—it can indicate an underlying issue that needs attention. In this article, we’ll delve into the causes of a dripping tap, the consequences of neglecting it, and steps to fix it. So, grab your tools and let’s put an end to that maddening drip!

Understanding a Dripping Tap

Before we explore the causes and solutions, let’s start by understanding what exactly a dripping tap is. A dripping tap refers to a faucet that continuously releases water, even when the tap is fully closed. It’s a common household problem that can occur in both old and new plumbing fixtures.

Common Causes of a Dripping Tap

Several factors can contribute to a dripping tap. By identifying the root cause, you can take appropriate action to fix it. Here are some common culprits:

Worn-out Washers

One of the most frequent causes of a dripping tap is a worn-out washer. Over time, the washer inside the tap handle can deteriorate or become stiff, preventing it from forming a watertight seal. As a result, water seeps through, leading to a persistent drip.

Loose or Damaged Parts

Another possible cause of a dripping tap is loose or damaged parts. When the tap handle, spindle, or other components become loose or worn, water can escape through the gaps, causing leakage.

High Water Pressure

Excessive water pressure can also contribute to a dripping tap. If the water pressure in your plumbing system is too high, it can put strain on the internal mechanisms of the tap, leading to leaks and drips.

Corroded Valve Seat

The valve seat, located inside the tap body, can become corroded over time due to the presence of minerals in the water. When the valve seat corrodes, it can prevent the tap from fully shutting off, resulting in a persistent drip.

Faulty Cartridge or Disc

In some modern tap designs, cartridges or discs are used instead of washers. If the cartridge or disc is defective or damaged, it can cause water to leak through, resulting in a dripping tap.

Now that we understand the causes, let’s explore the consequences of ignoring a dripping tap.

The Consequences of Ignoring a Dripping Tap

At first glance, a dripping tap might seem like a minor annoyance. However, neglecting it can lead to various undesirable consequences. Here’s why you should take that dripping tap seriously:

Water Wastage

A dripping tap can waste a surprising amount of water over time. Those seemingly insignificant droplets can add up to hundreds of gallons of wasted water, affecting both the environment and your utility bills.

Increased Utility Bills

Unsurprisingly, wasted water leads to higher utility bills. Each drip contributes to the overall water consumption in your household, causing unnecessary financial strain. Fixing a dripping tap can help you save on your monthly bills.

Potential Damage to Fixtures and Pipes

Continued dripping can cause damage to your fixtures and even the underlying pipes. The constant moisture can corrode the metal components, degrade sealants, and weaken joints, leading to costly repairs or replacements down the line.

Mold and Mildew Growth

Moisture from a dripping tap provides an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew. These unwanted visitors not only compromise the aesthetics of your bathroom or kitchen but can also pose health risks to you and your family.

Now that we’ve established the consequences of ignoring a dripping tap, let’s move on to the steps you can take to fix it.

Steps to Fix a Dripping Tap

Fixing a dripping tap doesn’t always require professional help. With the right tools and a bit of DIY spirit, you can tackle the issue yourself. Follow these steps to put an end to that pesky drip:

  1. Gather the necessary tools: Before you begin, make sure you have a wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, replacement washers or cartridges, and other tools specific to your tap model.
  2. Turn off the water supply: Locate the shut-off valves near the tap or use the main water shut-off valve to stop the water flow to the tap.
  3. Dismantle the tap: Use a wrench or screwdriver to remove the tap handle, escutcheon, and any other components that obstruct access to the inner workings of the tap.
  4. Replace washers or other faulty parts: Inspect the washers, cartridges, or discs for damage or wear. Replace them with new ones if necessary. Clean the other parts of the tap to remove any debris or sediment.
  5. Reassemble the tap: Put the tap back together, ensuring that all parts are properly aligned and tightened. Refer to manufacturer guidelines or online resources for specific instructions.
  6. Test for leaks: Turn on the water supply and test the tap for any signs of leakage. If there are no leaks, congratulations! You’ve successfully fixed the dripping tap.

However, there are instances when calling a professional plumber is the best course of action.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

While many dripping tap issues can be resolved independently, certain situations may require the expertise of a professional plumber. Consider these factors before deciding to DIY or call for help:

Complex Tap Designs

Some tap designs can be intricate and challenging to dismantle and repair. If you’re unsure about your ability to handle the repair, it’s best to leave it to the professionals to avoid causing further damage.

Lack of Experience or Confidence

If you’re new to DIY repairs or lack confidence in your plumbing skills, it’s safer to seek professional assistance. An experienced plumber can quickly diagnose the issue and provide a long-lasting solution.

Persistent Dripping Despite Repairs

If you’ve attempted to fix the dripping tap multiple times but it still persists, there may be underlying issues that require professional intervention. A plumber can identify and address these hidden problems effectively.

Issues with the Plumbing System

A dripping tap can sometimes be a symptom of larger plumbing system issues. If you notice multiple taps exhibiting the same problem or other plumbing-related irregularities, it’s crucial to consult a professional plumber to assess and rectify the underlying plumbing system.

Now that you have an understanding of fixing a dripping tap and when to call a professional, let’s explore preventive measures to avoid future drips.

Preventing Dripping Taps

Taking proactive steps to prevent dripping taps can save you from the hassle of repairs and potential water wastage. Consider these preventive measures:

Regular Maintenance

Perform routine checks on your taps, inspecting for any signs of leaks or wear. Addressing minor issues early on can prevent them from turning into major problems.

Avoiding Excessive Force While Turning Taps On/Off

Handle your taps gently and avoid applying excessive force when turning them on or off. This helps prevent wear and tear on the internal components, prolonging the lifespan of your tap.

Addressing Water Pressure Issues

If you notice consistently high water pressure in your plumbing system, consider installing a pressure regulator or consulting a professional to adjust the pressure. Maintaining optimal water pressure can prevent unnecessary strain on your taps.

Using Quality Fixtures and Components

Invest in quality taps, washers, cartridges, and other components when replacing or installing new fixtures. High-quality materials are more durable and less likely to develop leaks or drips.

Timely Repairs and Replacements

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to repairs or replacements. Addressing a dripping tap promptly can prevent further damage and save you from more significant repairs in the future.


A dripping tap is more than just an irritating sound—it’s a signal that something requires attention. By understanding the causes, consequences, and solutions, you can tackle the issue head-on. Whether you decide to fix it yourself or call a professional, taking action will save you water, money, and potential headaches down the line. So, don’t let that drip drive you crazy—put on your DIY hat or pick up the phone and bid farewell to the relentless sound of a dripping tap.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much water does a dripping tap waste?

A dripping tap can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day, which adds up to hundreds of gallons per month.

2. Can a dripping tap cause a pipe to burst?

While a dripping tap itself may not cause a pipe to burst, it can contribute to increased pressure in the plumbing system, which can potentially lead to pipe damage.

3. How long does it take to fix a dripping tap?

The time required to fix a dripping tap depends on the complexity of the problem and your level of experience. Simple repairs can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

4. Can I fix a dripping tap myself without any plumbing experience?

Yes, many dripping tap issues can be resolved with basic DIY skills. However, if you’re unsure or lack confidence, it’s best to seek professional assistance.

5. Are there any temporary solutions for a dripping tap?

You can use a temporary fix like placing a cloth or tape around the tap to reduce the sound and contain the water temporarily. However, it’s important to address the underlying issue and fix the tap properly to prevent further problems.

Fixing a dripping tap is a common plumbing issue that can be resolved with a few simple steps. In this guide, I will provide you with a step-by-step process to fix a dripping tap. Please note that these instructions are for a standard compression faucet, and the process may vary slightly for other types of faucets.

fix dripping tap

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools and materials:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement washers and O-rings (available at hardware stores)
  • Towel or cloth
  • Penetrating oil (such as WD-40)
  • Plumbers tape (Teflon tape)

Now, let’s get started:

Step 1: Prepare the workspace To avoid any water damage, it’s important to turn off the water supply to the tap. Locate the isolation valve under the sink or near the water meter and shut it off. Then, place a towel or cloth in the sink to catch any water and protect the surface.

Step 2: Remove the tap handle Examine the tap handle to identify the type of fastener holding it in place. It could be a screw or a decorative cap covering the screw. Use a screwdriver or gently pry off the cap to access the screw. Loosen and remove the screw, then carefully lift off the handle.

Step 3: Inspect the components Once the handle is removed, you’ll find a packing nut or bonnet that holds the valve in place. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove this nut. With the packing nut removed, you can now access the valve stem assembly.

Step 4: Replace the washer At the end of the valve stem, you’ll find a washer held in place by a screw or nut. Remove the screw or nut, take out the old washer, and replace it with a new one of the same size and type. It’s recommended to use a high-quality washer for better durability. Apply a small amount of penetrating oil to lubricate the stem if it’s sticking.

Step 5: Replace the O-rings (if necessary) While you have the tap disassembled, inspect the O-rings on the valve stem assembly. If they appear worn, cracked, or damaged, it’s advisable to replace them. Remove the old O-rings and slide new ones into place. Ensure they fit securely and provide a watertight seal.

Step 6: Reassemble the tap Carefully reassemble the tap in the reverse order of disassembly. Insert the valve stem assembly back into the tap body, ensuring it aligns properly. Tighten the packing nut securely using an adjustable wrench. Place the tap handle over the valve stem and tighten the screw to hold it in place.

Step 7: Test and check for leaks Turn on the water supply to the tap slowly and let the water run for a few moments to flush out any debris. Then, close the tap and check for leaks. If there are no leaks, congratulations! You’ve successfully fixed the dripping tap.

Step 8: Finishing touches If you notice a slight leak from the tap spout, you can apply plumbers tape (Teflon tape) to the threaded area of the spout. This will help create a tighter seal. Wrap the tape clockwise around the threads and ensure a snug fit. Then, turn on the tap and check for any remaining leaks.

In conclusion, fixing a dripping tap involves disassembling the tap, replacing worn washers and O-rings, and reassembling the tap. With the right tools and a systematic approach, you can tackle this plumbing problem on your own. However, if you encounter any difficulties or the problem persists, it’s always recommended to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Tap Repair: Keeping Your Plumbing Flowing Smoothly

Discover the best Bristol tap repair services to keep your plumbing flowing smoothly. Learn about effective solutions, FAQs, and expert insights for tap repair.

When it comes to maintaining a well-functioning home, ensuring your plumbing is in top condition is paramount. One of the common challenges homeowners face is drain blockages and tap repairs. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Bristol tap repair, offering valuable insights, expert tips, and solutions to keep your plumbing system flowing smoothly. Whether you’re facing a stubborn clog or a leaky tap, we’ve got you covered.

Tap Repair: A Brief Overview

Bristol tap repair services play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency of your plumbing system. Over time, worn-out components can result in tap leaks and malfunctions. Timely and effective repair is essential to prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your plumbing.

Repairing Leaky Taps: A Step-by-Step Guide

Leaky taps can lead to water wastage and higher bills. Follow these steps for tap repair:

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Disassemble the tap
  • Replace worn-out components
  • Reassemble and test
How to fix a dripping tap
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