Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
Stay Updated with Expert Tips!
Love our DIY guides and solutions for common household problems? Get expert advice, tips, and exclusive offers in our newsletter. From garden hacks to home maintenance and special deals, we've got it all. Join our growing community now!
A tap that starts dripping when you open another can be frustrating. Here’s how to fix the problem.
It is never normal when you turn on a tap and elsewhere in the house, another faucet starts to drip. If the problem is specific to a leaking kitchen tap when you run a bath, the cause could be abnormal water suction in the plumbing, high water pressure or a faulty tap washer.
A leaking tap can waste water and spike your utility bill. Here’s how you can fix this rather unusual problem.
Read Next: This is why your kitchen tap whistles.
When this happens, you could be looking at multiple reasons. Some issues are simple and can be fixed at home (if you are an experienced DIY enthusiast). Other bloopers might require the services of a reputable plumbing company.
The most common causes are water suction or pressure and/or a faulty washer in your kitchen tap. The latter is nearly always present in this particular situation. Why? Inherently, even if there is something wonky with the water, a washer in good condition should prevent a tap from dripping in the first place.
Read Next: How to fix a leaking garden hose.
Yes and no. In a healthy plumbing system, some suction is required to get water moving - especially to an upstairs bathroom. So if your bathroom is upstairs and the leaky tap is located in the downstairs kitchen, then even a normal phenomenon like water suction could be a part of the problem.
When you open the tap to run your bath, that weakens the suction and allows water to place pressure on downstairs taps. Faucets in good condition can counteract this effect so that no leaking occurs. However, if your kitchen tap has a faulty valve, the extra water pressure can cause it to drip for as long as the upstairs bathroom faucet is running.
Find out why your mini-fridge is leaking .
The good news is that you don’t need to do anything fancy. Water suction is pretty normal. However, it only becomes a problem when the kitchen tap fails to seal itself properly. The answer is to fix or replace the valve inside the kitchen tap. If you want to try your hand at this, jump to our section about faulty tap valves to see how it is done!
If your bathroom and kitchen are on the same floor level or you live in a home that is entirely on the ground level, then water pressure could be the cause. When the pressure is too high, it forces water against valves. This could cause them to leak and drip. Another clue that you are dealing with high water pressure is when your pipes rattle and bang more than they should. They are basically being jostled by the pressurized water.
Step 1: Get a water pressure reading. A water test gauge can be cheaply purchased for this purpose. Follow the instructions to test but they are usually simple enough - just attach the device to the valve in your kitchen tap. Open the tap and get a reading (it should be instant).
Water pressure is measured in PSI - pounds per square inch. There seems to be no solid rule about the exact “perfect” PSI for residential plumbing. However, most experts agree that PSI for a home should fall between 30 and 80. Anything above 80 is too high. To make sure of the right pressure in your region, you can always contact your local municipality or a friendly plumbing business.
Step 2: Check to see if your plumbing system has a water pressure regulator. If not, you need to buy and install one. If the valve is present, make sure that it is not damaged or adjusted (for some odd reason) to allow high water pressure.
Step 3: When you are ready to start, turn off the main water supply. Here’s how you can find your home’s main shut-off valve.
Step 4: Find the locking device on the water pressure regulator. This is usually a nut. Loosen the guy a little so that you can adjust the pressure dial.
Step 5: Dial the regulator’s pressure adjustment screw to the left to decrease the water pressure. Never make big changes. A quarter turn is sufficient. Test for PSI and if the water pressure is still too high, use the dial to decrease it some more. Keep testing and decreasing until you hit the sweet spot with the PSI.
Step 6: Fasten the locking nut and turn on the main water supply.
When you experience this type of problem - where your bath taps cause the kitchen tap to spill - then it is always prudent to check the health of your kitchen tap’s washers. Even if you discover that the water pressure is too high or there is another reason. The point is that a tap should not leak, no matter what. If any dripping occurs, the washers are definitely a part of the problem. Another sign of a faulty washer is when your tap whistles or squeals.
A tap’s washer can malfunction under these conditions:
If you have never done this before, no worries. Fixing a faulty washer can be done at home.
Step 1: The most important thing to do first is to shut off the water supply. You can do that by locating and shutting off your home’s main water point. If you notice a shut-off valve under the kitchen sink, then rather use that.
Step 2: Carefully remove the nozzle of the tap. If this seems impossible, the best recourse might be to call a professional plumber. However, most kitchen taps can be screwed off with a little effort.
Step 3: Once the nozzle is removed, assess the quality and appearance of the washer.
If you live in an area with hard water, it can constantly pack up your taps with mineral deposits. Find the best water softeners to get rid of scale in your kettle and faucets.
A plumber is a better route if you want to fix this problem as quickly as possible, do not want to do it yourself, or fixing a bathroom-to-kitchen leak feels a bit out of your league. Whatever the reason, a great plumber will ensure that your plumbing is tuned and working properly again in no time.
One More Thing Before You Go!
Craving more DIY insights? Don't miss our expert guides and exclusive deals. Subscribe now and get the best of home and garden tips straight to your inbox. Join our community and stay in the know!
Get Cashback Faster & Earn Free Fraffle Tickets
Shop at your favourite stores and enjoy cashback in days, not months. Plus, sign up today to get 5x Free Fraffle tickets!