The best way to fix a dripping tap is to remove the valve and replace whichever worn-out gasket or washer is allowing water to seep by. Knowing this fact doesn’t help at night, however, when the dripping is preventing you from sleeping. Depending on the type of faucet that is dripping, there are ways to make it stop without pulling the valve, but you’ll only be delaying that repair procedure.
1. Turn off the shut-off valves. Every sink should have a pair of such valves located just under it. Turning them off stops the faucet from dripping, but you have to remember to turn them on again when you use it.
2. Tighten the handles if the valves are the type that screw open and closed. The faucet is leaking because one or both of the washers are worn. You have to replace the worn washers, but tightening the handles may compress the valve stems against the seats enough to reduce or stop the dripping — at least temporarily.
3. Turn the handle of a single-handled faucet all the way to the hot side. If the faucet is leaking because the gasket on the cold water inlet is worn, this should stop the leak. If it doesn’t, try turning the handle all the way to the cold side.
4. Unscrew the handle with a screwdriver and remove it if it’s a lever that is hitting against the wall. The valve probably is a cartridge with worn seals, and the wall is preventing you from turning the handle far enough to close it. Rotate the handle one or two notches counterclockwise, reset it on the valve stem and replace the screw.
5. Lift the diverter knob on the top of a tub faucet if the faucet is dripping. That directs water away from the spout, and there may not be enough pressure to get the water up to the showerhead. If that is the case, the leak will stop.
Things You Will Need
Unless your faucet is very old and corroded, permanently stopping the dripping shouldn’t take any more than an hour of your time.
If the dripping is coming from the faucet body itself — not the spout — the internal pipes may have suffered damage. The only way to stop this type of leak is to turn off the shut-off valves.
Even a small faucet leak wastes hundreds of gallons of water every month and should be repaired as soon as possible.