It seems like a nightmare scenario. You go to turn on your tap to brush your teeth, cleanse your face or pour yourself a glass of water and the tap jars and won’t turn off. This problem can occur with all manner of tap types throughout the house. You look at all of the wasted water just running away from you, and don’t know what to do. After all, where do you start when the tap just isn’t responding?
What is the first Plan of Action?
The best way to attempt tackling this issue is to turn off your mains water supply. This will immediately cut off the flow of water to prevent any further wastage (of both the water and your cash trickling away!) If it’s the hot water tap that won’t turn off, you can turn off your hot water unit. If the cold water tap is proving to be the problem, you will need to turn off your water meter. If it’s both, well that’s pretty unlucky – you’ll need to turn off both.
Now that you know you’re not in any immediate danger of more running water, contact a plumber unless you fancy a little DIY job. You see, the cause of a tap that won’t turn on or off is usually the result of weary washers or tap spindles that need to be replaced. Sometimes washers grow old and split which is common if they've not been changed for a while or if your taps are very old - or if you've moved into a new house and don’t really know what the previous owners have been up to!
What if my Taps Wont Turn On?
Of course, the problem works the other way too; sometimes taps simply won’t turn on. In this case you won’t have to worry about turning off the water supply as you won’t be wasting any precious water. In this case it is often the spindle – the inner valve of the tap handle – which gets jammed and needs replacing.
For a plumber, this job is easy and can be rectified in next to no time. In fact most of us will probably have incurred the wrath of unchanged washers and spindles at some point or another. It’s simply not something that people think to do regularly, which is why these problems occur. You can however replace the washers yourself. Head to your local hardware store and make sure you know the size of your washers. If you don’t, simply take your washers with you and ask a member of staff to give you appropriately sized replacements.
If you aren’t sure how to go about the process or don’t feel comfortable taking your taps apart, calling a plumber is always your best bet. Don’t worry because as problems go, a stuck faucet is pretty common and easy to sort out. If you think a running tap sounds like something from hell, especially when you can’t shut it off, trust in a plumber to rectify the issue.