What can cause a tap to drip?

Having a dripping tap in your home can be really annoying. If the tap is continually dripping this is also a waste of water. Although you may think that the amount of water lost is small, it can add up to significant wastage over time if the drip is not fixed.

You should never just ignore a dripping tap; it is not just going to fix itself and the sooner you get the problem sorted the better.

dripping tap

If you do not want to try and stop your tap from dripping yourself you can call a professional. If you do want to have a go at stopping the drip there are certain steps you need to follow.

Which type of taps do you have?

You may be wondering why it matters what type of tap it is that is dripping. The answer to this is that drips are caused by different things in different types of tap. Traditional taps are turned in order to control the flow of water.

If you have this type of tap in your home, and it starts to drip, this is usually because the seal or washer inside the tap has perished. If the drip is present in a Monobloc tap, where a leaver is used to control the flow of water, then it is likely that the cartridge needs replacing.

How to fix the drip?

Once you know which type of tap you have you can start to fix the drip. Before you start work you should remember to switch off the water supply to the tap. You can do this by either turning off the stop cock or by turning off the isolation valve which is normally located in the vicinity of the tap.

Relevant: Materials for water pipes

Fixing a traditional tap

Here are the steps you need to follow in order to fix a traditional tap that is dripping.

  • Unscrew the tap. The screw that is holding it together may often be hidden by the decorative cap on the tap.
  • Put the plug into the sink to prevent any parts from being lost.
  • Take the tap apart until you have the spindle loose.
  • Take the spindle to the store to purchase the correct washers or sort through washers that you already have to find the right fit.
  • There are two washers in each tap; one is an O-ring washer and the other is round with a hole. It’s worth replacing both washers at the same time even if only one is perished.
  • Reassemble the tap and turn the water supply back on.

Fixing a Monobloc tap

Stopping a Monobloc tap from dripping is very similar to stopping a drip from a traditional tap. You still have to unscrew the tap and take it apart to get to the cartridge which needs to be replaced. Often the screw for this type of tap is a grub screw hidden under the cold or hot indicator. The rest of the process follows the same steps as for a traditional tap.

If you follow these steps then you should be able to stop your tap from dripping. If you do not feel confident enough to do the job yourself then you should call a professional plumber to fix the drip as soon as possible.