What Causes a Tap to Leak?

What Causes a Tap to Leak?

A dripping tap can wear away at both your wallet and your patience. Not only can the sound be annoying, but a simple drip can also lead to large amounts of water waste. A tap that drips ten times a minute can use up to 5 litres of water daily! Your home plumbing system is a vital piece of infrastructure and is often taken for granted. The network of water pipes and drains within your home is responsible for bringing in the water used for cleaning and nourishment, while the drains are responsible for removing waste. Ensuring the system is kept in working order is vital for your and your family’s health.

Pipe Issues

While rare, issues with your pipes may be causing your leaking tap. Usually, problems with your pipes will manifest into other more noticeable problems before causing your tap to leak, but it isn’t unheard of. These other symptoms can include external leaks, smells and coloured water. Problems with the pipes will cause pressure fluctuations which may lead to your tap dripping.

Leaking Bathroom Tap Fitting

Water Pressure

When pressure builds up, you can have a serious situation on your hands. You achieve a laminar water flow when you have the correct pressure in your water pipes. This is where water flows through your pipes at the correct rate under the correct pressure and appears to flow smoothly and consistently. The main symptom of excessive pressure causing non-laminar flow is rattling in your pipes. The movement of the pipes can cause wear on the pipe joins, leading to cracks and leaking water. Pressure-limiting valves (PLV) can be installed to regulate water pressure and protect your pipes from fluctuating water pressure.

Another cause of high water pressure can be air bubbles trapped in the pipes. The air bubbles will not dislodge, forming a bottleneck for the water to flow past. This creates changes in pressure that put a strain on the pipes. There is a simple method for clearing your pipes of air pockets that you can do yourself to troubleshoot.

The Washer and O-Ring

Repairing Kitchen Sink Tap

Something as simple as a broken seal can lead to much more significant issues. The two seals within your tap work together to ensure water does not escape the fitting. You can tell which is damaged by determining where the leak is occurring. If water leaks from the spindle, you most likely need to replace the washer inside the tap. If the tap is dripping even with the spindle turned off, you most likely need to change the O-ring. The O-ring is most prone to fail when your water pressure is too high.

Loose Parts

Your plumbing might just need a tune-up. With all the moving parts inside taps, old age can take its toll and wear down parts. The valve seat is the most prone to failure as minerals within the water can wear down the seal over time. Other parts may wiggle loose over time and need to be tightened. For sink mixers, you may need a new cartridge that can return your tap to as good as new with a simple fix.

Dripping Kitchen Sink Tap

Bring Your Plumbing Back From Disrepair, Call Botanical Plumbing Today!

If not treated early, water leaks are bad news for the environment and can lead to expensive water bills and costly damage to your home. At Botanical Plumbing, we provide pressure testing to ensure your plumbing is functioning correctly and a slew of leak repairs, including no-dig repairs. Contact us to discuss your needs, and remember, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for emergency repairs.

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