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What Causes A Tap To Leak?

April 15, 2024
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Have you ever noticed a constant dripping sound coming from your tap? Or maybe you’ve found a small pool of water forming around the base of the tap. These are all signs that your tap is leaking. It may seem like a minor issue, but if left unchecked it can lead to higher water bills and potential damage to your home.

There are several causes for a tap to leak, and identifying the root cause is important in preventing further issues. In Australian homes, some of the most common plumbing issues that can cause a tap to leak are:

Worn Out Washer

A worn-out washer is one of the most common reasons for a leaking tap. With continuous use, the washer can wear out or become damaged, leading to a poor seal and causing water to leak out. In most taps, the washer is located inside the tap valve and comes in direct contact with the water flow when the tap is turned on. 

The constant pressure and friction can cause the washer to deteriorate, resulting in a leaky tap. Therefore, regular inspection and replacement of the washer is essential to maintain the functionality and longevity of your taps.

Corroded Valve Seat

The valve seat serves as a connecting point between the tap and the spout. Water sediment can accumulate and cause the valve seat to corrode, leading to leaks around the spout. This build-up can also cause the valve seat to not seal properly when the tap is turned off, allowing water to seep through. 

Regular cleaning can prevent sediment build-up and corrosion, but if the valve seat is already corroded, it may need to be replaced. Always seek professional help when replacing a valve seat to ensure it’s correctly installed, preventing future leaks.

Incorrect Washer Installation

Incorrect washer installation is another cause of tap leaks . If the washer is not the right size or hasn’t been installed correctly, it can cause a tap to leak. This constant dribble can escalate into bigger issues, such as clogging, as the leaking water may carry small particles that build up in your pipes over time. 

To prevent this, ensure that your washers are correctly installed and fit your tap perfectly. If you’re unsure, seek professional help. Regularly checking your washers and replacing them when necessary will save you significant trouble and potential damage in the long run.

Loose Parts

Loose parts in your plumbing system can lead to a multitude of problems, such as leaks and clogs. If you notice changes in the water flow or hear rattling noises, it might be due to loose pipes or valves. These loosened components can permit small particles and debris to enter your pipes, leading to obstructions. 

This can cause significant blockages, interrupting your water flow and potentially damaging your plumbing system. To prevent this, conduct regular inspections of your plumbing system. If you spot any loose parts, tighten them promptly or get in touch with a professional to ensure proper repair. This proactive approach can save you from costly damage in the future.

Broken Plumbing

Broken plumbing is another standout cause of tap leaks. This can occur due to factors like age, physical damage, or subpar initial installation. Damaged pipes can cause water to leak out before reaching the tap. This often results in low water pressure and can lead to significant water wastage if left unchecked. Corrosion inside the pipes can also cause leaks. 

Regular inspection and timely maintenance of your plumbing system can mitigate these issues. If you suspect damage, contact a plumbing professional to carry out necessary repairs or replacements, ensuring the efficient functioning of your taps and minimising water wastage.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure might seem like a good problem to have, but it can actually be quite damaging to your taps. Excessive pressure can strain your pipes and fixtures, leading to leaks, bursts, and even damage to appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. It’s recommended to keep your water pressure between 40-60 psi. 

If your pressure exceeds this range, consider installing a pressure regulator to protect your plumbing system. Regular monitoring and maintenance can help you avoid the costly repairs associated with high water pressure.

Damaged O-Ring

A damaged O-ring is a common plumbing issue that often results in leaky taps. The O-Ring, a small rubber ring, is part of the stem screw that holds the tap handle in place. Due to constant usage or wear and tear, this O-Ring can become loose or damaged, causing the tap to drip near the handle. 

If a steadily dripping tap is left unattended, it can result in significant water waste and higher utility bills. It’s advisable to replace a damaged O-Ring promptly to maintain the functionality of your tap and avoid unnecessary water wastage.

Faulty Tap Cartridge

A faulty tap cartridge can also lead to a dripping tap. The cartridge resides inside the tap, controlling the flow and temperature of the water. Due to frequent use or wear and tear, the cartridge can deteriorate, leading to leakage. If you notice your tap leaking even when turned off, a faulty cartridge might be the culprit. It’s essential to get such issues fixed promptly by a professional plumber to curb water wastage and avoid inflated utility bills.

Final Thoughts

Understanding these common causes of a leaking tap is vital not only for your peace of mind but for the health of your plumbing system and the environment as well. By identifying the root cause of the leak, you can take appropriate measures to rectify the problem and prevent further damage or wastage. 

However, while this knowledge can help you better understand your plumbing system, it’s crucial to seek professional help when necessary. 

A certified plumber has the necessary tools and expertise to accurately diagnose and efficiently repair your leaking tap, ultimately saving you time, resources, and unnecessary stress. Not only will this ensure that the job is done correctly, but it also significantly reduces water wastage, contributing to the conservation of this precious resource.

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