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Why is My Kitchen Tap Dripping?

Why is My Kitchen Tap Dripping?

If you've been kept up at night by the incessant drip-drip-drip from your kitchen tap, you'll know just how maddening it can be.

Not only is a dripping tap an annoying disturbance, but it's also a drain on your water bill and a wasteful misuse of a vital resource.

If you're a British homeowner at your wits' end, you're likely wondering, "Why on earth is my kitchen tap dripping?" Well, you're not alone in this conundrum.

Understanding the reasons behind a troublesome dripping tap can often be the first step towards a solution.

In this post, we're going to delve into the various reasons that may be behind this household nuisance, from worn-out washers to high water pressure.

So, put the kettle on, get comfy, and let's unravel the mystery behind your dripping kitchen tap.

Why is My Kitchen Tap Dripping?

A dripping kitchen tap can be a small issue with large implications, from increased water bills to potential water damage.

So why does your tap insist on this constant dripping?

The reasons can be numerous, but here are some of the most common causes:

  1. Worn out Washer: The washer within your tap forms a seal to prevent water from leaking out. Over time, these washers can become worn or damaged, leading to leaks. This is especially true for traditional taps that use a compression mechanism.
  2. Faulty Ceramic Discs: If you have a ceramic disc tap, the problem could lie with damaged ceramic discs. Similar to washers in traditional taps, these discs can wear out over time and fail to create a proper seal, causing the tap to drip.
  3. Corroded Valve Seat: The valve seat is where the tap and the spout meet. Over time, water can cause the valve seat to corrode, which can in turn cause leaks.
  4. Poorly Installed Tap: If your tap hasn't been installed properly, it may leak. This could be due to the tap being too loose or the components not being fitted together correctly.
  5. High Water Pressure: Sometimes, if the water pressure in your home is too high, it can cause your taps to leak. This is more common in the night when the wider water demand is lower, which can cause your home's water pressure to increase.
  6. Damaged O-Ring: The O-ring is a small disc attached to the stem screw that holds your tap handle in place. If this becomes loose or damaged, your tap can start to leak near the handle.
  7. Broken Plumbing: Occasionally, a leaky tap can be a symptom of larger plumbing issues. Broken pipes, fittings, or joints may cause an excess of water to escape through your tap.

Remember, while a dripping tap might seem like a small annoyance, if left unchecked it can lead to bigger problems such as water damage or inflated water bills.

If you're unsure about the cause of the leak or how to fix it, it's always best to call in a professional plumber.

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How to Fix a Tap That is Dripping

It's crucial to remember that any sort of plumbing work can be potentially risky if you're not completely confident in what you're doing.

You could cause more damage or potentially flood your home. If you're uncertain at any stage, it's always best to get in touch with a professional plumber.

That said, here are some basic steps you can take to try and fix your dripping tap:

How to Fix a Worn Out Washer

To fix a worn-out washer, you need to:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the tap.
  2. Unscrew and remove the tap handle.
  3. Once the handle is removed, you should be able to see the stem, remove that as well to reveal the washer.
  4. Replace the old washer with a new one that matches the original size.
  5. Reassemble the tap.

How to Fix Faulty Ceramic Discs

If you have a ceramic disc tap, follow these steps:

  1. As with a worn washer, begin by turning off the water supply.
  2. Remove the tap handle and the valve underneath.
  3. You should now be able to see the ceramic discs.
  4. If these are damaged or worn, replace them with new ones of the correct size.
  5. Once replaced, put the tap back together again.

How to Fix a Corroded Valve Seat

To fix a corroded valve seat, you'll typically need a professional as it can be a tricky and involved job.

They will either resurface the seat with a special tool or replace it entirely.

How to Fix a Poorly Installed Tap

If your tap was poorly installed, it might be best to call in a professional.

They can remove and reinstall the tap correctly, ensuring all parts are correctly fitted and tightened.

How to Fix a High Water Pressure

High water pressure can be a bit tricky to solve and may require a plumber.

However, you can try to install a pressure reducer or adjust the pressure from the stop valve.

How to Fix a Damaged O-Ring

To replace a damaged O ring:

  1. As always, start by turning off the water supply.
  2. Unscrew and remove the tap handle to reveal the stem. The O ring should be located around the stem.
  3. Remove the damaged O ring and replace it with a new one, making sure it is the correct size.
  4. Reassemble the tap.

How to Fix Broken Plumbing

If you suspect the problem may be due to broken pipes or wider plumbing issues, it's essential to call in a professional plumber.

They can assess and repair any potential problems, preventing further damage to your home.

Remember, the steps listed above are general guidelines.

The process might differ depending on the type of tap you have.

Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the most accurate information.

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Some Notes From an Expert Kitchen Fitter

In my years of experience working in the kitchen trade, I have found all sorts of reasons for dripping kitchen taps.

While some can be fixed by a competent DIY person most faults need a plumber to get to the bottom of the problem safely and effectively.

So, if you are not really confident in what you are doing, I suggest you speak to a qualified and well-reviewed local plumber.

Final Notes On Why Your Kitchen Tap is Dripping

A dripping kitchen tap can be more than just an inconvenience; it can be an indication of various underlying issues ranging from worn-out washers and faulty ceramic discs to a corroded valve seat or even high water pressure.

Although some of these issues, like replacing a worn washer or a damaged O ring, can be fixed with a spot of DIY, others like dealing with high water pressure or fixing broken plumbing are better left to the professionals.

Understanding the root of your dripping tap issue is crucial in effectively tackling it and preventing further problems, such as increased water bills or potential water damage.

However, it's important to remember that while a handy homeowner can fix some issues, there's no substitute for the skills and knowledge of a professional plumber.

So next time the relentless dripping of your kitchen tap disrupts your peaceful night or becomes a vexing soundtrack to your daily chores, remember - you don't have to endure it.

By diagnosing the cause and taking the right corrective measures, you can reclaim the serenity of your home, and importantly, help conserve our precious resource - water.

 Phil Tuddenham

Author - Phil Tuddenham

Philip Tuddenham is the force behind JMT Trade Ltd. Philip stepped into the family business in 1998, and has taken JMT to new heights.

He has decades of expertise and experience in designing, manufacturing and installing kitchens, bathrooms, domestic and commercial furniture.

In 2007, Philip broadened JMT's horizons. Introducing new ranges and diversifying into new territories such as media walls and school furniture.

While embracing this innovation, JMT remained true to its origins, continuing to provide excellent bedrooms and bathrooms.

Under Philip's leadership, the company continues to uphold its long-standing tradition of exceptional customer service and high-quality products.