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What Causes My Tap To Leak?


Is your tap leaking water? Check out our guide to find out the common causes of leaky taps and how to fix them.

Have you ever woken up to a pool of tap water on your kitchen floor?

If yes, you may have a leaking faucet. Taps leaking is an issue that many Australian residents face throughout the year. Though tempting, ignoring these tap leaks can result in more significant plumbing problems and higher water bills.

Tap Leak

But before we think about possible solutions, let us look at the most common causes of leaky taps. Knowing what caused the leak can help you better understand the situation and find a solution.

8 Most Common Causes Of Leaky Taps

1. Unsecured Parts

Plumber Replacing Tap Fittings

Since sinks and taps are used daily, certain parts can become loose or worn over time. The major reason for this could be the wear and tear of several part connections or just improper installation of the fixture. Loose parts are the main culprits of a leaky tap, especially in cartridge faucets.

You can try tightening the loose connections to fix the leaking tap, but it might be pointless as they will become loose or worn again. Moreover, these taps do not have specific screws or bolts that can be tightened. In this case, the ideal option would be to replace the existing tap.

You can contact a professional plumber to install the new tap and ensure no further plumbing problems. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about high water bills.

2. Washer Issues

Tap Dripping Cold Water

A sink washer is a rubber or metal component that seals any gap in your sink pipes and eliminates the possibility of a leaky tap. When the washer is damaged or worn out, it can lead to dripping taps. The main reason metal or rubber washers get damaged so quickly is the friction caused by constant movements. Apart from daily movement, friction against various parts of the leaking tap can also cause the washer to deteriorate over time.

If the washer is brand new or has no damage, yet the gap still leaks, it could be due to improper installation. Washers are a key factor in avoiding a leaky tap; when installed incorrectly or in the wrong size, they do the opposite. This mainly occurs in compression faucets.

You can check your washer to see if you need to replace it or install it in the right way again.

3. Damaged O-ring

Lady Phone Struggling Bathroom Sink

An O-ring is a rubber or metal ring/ gasket attached to the tap’s stem screw used to keep the pipes air-tight and sealed, especially in cartridge faucets. A cartridge is a valve that controls the flow of water into the faucet spout.

With constant use, these O-ring gaskets can develop wear and tear, which in turn causes a leaking tap. The most common areas of water leaks from worn-out O-ring damage are the base of the tap, nozzle or tap handle.

The damaged O-ring cannot be repaired and has to be replaced immediately. If left unattended, these leaks can promote mould growth, which is unpleasant to the eye and harmful to your health.

4. Damaged Valve Seat

Spanner Tap Fitting

A valve seat connects the water pipe to the actual faucet and provides a water supply. The water that flows through the valve seat contains several different minerals that end up being accumulated within the valve seat. When there is excess mineral build-up, it can lead to a corroded valve seat. This ultimately leads to a dripping tap, especially around the sprout.

Since water passes through these valves daily, the chances of mineral deposits are pretty high. Besides being corroded, the valve seat can also develop natural wear and tear, making them less susceptible to leaks.

5. Lime Or Calcium Build-up

Turning Hot Water Valve

Usually, there tends to be a mineral build-up. The lime build-up is usually the scaly, hard deposits that settle on the tap, making it difficult to operate. Since this results in the tap not being opened or closed properly, it can lead to leaky faucets. The lime deposit on the tap does not allow you to overcome the friction and close the tap.

There are several ways you can get rid of limescale or even prevent it from happening. The most common way is to use a vinegar and lemon juice mixture and scrub the surface of the leaking taps. White vinegar is known to be effective at dissolving limescale, and lemon juice has properties that prevent limescale from building up.

6. Poor Sealing

Sealing Sink Poorly

Many modern tap designs on the market come with inlet seals within their structure. The seals make it easier for water to flow through the pipes and the faucet when it is turned on and stops the flow when it is turned off.

With time, these seals may wear and tear, like other parts of the faucet, due to excessive water pressure from the flowing water. When these seals develop scales and sediment, it damages them completely. The damaged seals do not function optimally, and instead of allowing water to flow freely or stopping when needed, it results in leaky faucets.

7. Damaged Plumbing System

Damaged Plumbing System Leaking

When there is some sort of damage to the plumbing system, it can lead to a dripping faucet. For instance, when the drain pipes break or crack open, it leaves space for the water to flow through, thus causing a leak. The most major plumbing system issue is a broken pipe, which is also the key culprit in uninvited leaks.

Similarly, some cracks in the drain pipes can result in a drop in your home’s water pressure. When the flow of water is slower than it is intended, it leaks through the faucet.

If you notice that your drain pipes are broken or have cracks, the ideal solution is to repair them or replace the existing ones if needed. If both the solutions don’t work, resort to calling a licensed plumber who can inspect for further damages.

8. Washer Not Installed Properly

Identifying Tap Washers

Another reason for a leaky faucet is the improper installation of the tap washer. Installing washers of incorrect size or worn-out washers can also lead to a leaky faucet. To avoid these problems, it is recommended that you rely on a licensed plumber with the right tools and expertise in the field to install the washers correctly.

Causes of A Leaking Tap

A leaky tap is a common plumbing issue, but you should not leave it unattended. Many severe plumbing issues begin with a minor leak or leaky faucets, so resolving them immediately is best.

If you need help with a leaky faucet, contact the folks here at Big Blue Plumbing. We offer upfront rates and ensure no home in Southeast Queensland has unattended plumbing or pipe issues. Hence, our expert technicians provide emergency services 24 hours a week.

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(07) 5404 9354
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