Fixing my leaking shower

What Could Be Causing Those Constantly Leaking Taps

by Andy Butler

Leaking taps are more than just an annoyance; they can waste literally hundreds of gallons or liters of water every month. This is not just bad for the environment, it can actually mean an increase in your water bill. Trying to force a faucet handle closed is not always going to address those leaking taps, as it may not be the handle that is the problem when they leak. Note a few other common causes of leaking taps so you know what to look for if you've tried closing the handle and there is still that constant, annoying drip.

Cracked pipes

Cracked pipes in your home's plumbing can actually cause leaking taps, as these cracks may lead to water running through the pipes even when the faucet is shut off. This running water makes its ways to your taps and there is a resultant drip.

Improper washer installation

The washer that sits right inside the tap may be worn out; the washer stops the water from actually coming through the faucet by sealing that plumbing connection when the faucet is turned off. However, if the washer has moved out of place or if it's the incorrect size, this can also allow water to drip through. If you've checked the washer and it's in good condition, note if it seems undersized for the faucet and, if so, use a larger size to properly cut off that flow of water.

 Valve seat

If you've never heard of the valve seat, this connects the faucet and what is called the compression mechanism, which stops water pressure when the faucet is turned off. When the valve seat is corroded, there is nothing to stop water pressure from building in the faucet and, in turn, the water pushes its way through and starts to drip. The valve seat can get corroded from minerals in hard water or just due to wear and tear, and it may need replacing.

Too much water pressure

The pressure in your home's plumbing pipes is usually controlled through the hot water heater, and it can often be adjusted manually. You may have inadvertently turned it up after a plumbing repair job or after installing a new hot water heater, and that added pressure is pushing water through the pipes even when the faucets are shut off. In turn, the water starts to drip. If you're not sure of how to check and adjust the water pressure on the home's hot water heater, have a plumber do this for you.