How to Fix an Annoying Dripping Tap

Everyone in my family is insane.

I don’t use that word casually.  We’re nuts.  All of us.  All for different reasons of course, but we’re definitely an unbalanced bunch.  You think your family has the crazy market cornered?  I think not.

My mother’s mother didn’t leave the house once.  For 20 years.  Top that.

For fun, my own loving mother used to chase me around the house with big, long eyes from potatoes screaming that they were bugs.

My oldest sister watches old movies.  Only old movies. She does not watch sitcoms or the news or anything that’s in colour.  Ever. She watches old movies.

My middle sister is such a control freak she recently tackled one of her best friends at a gift show because she thought her friend was putting her lipstick into her purse the wrong way.  My sister wanted it to go vertically, the friend was laying it horizontally.  Everything is this kind of a struggle with my sister the control freak.

When you think about it, I am the epitome of overcoming the odds when every strand of family DNA is stacked against you.  You see, I, happen to be perfectly normal.  (when compared to my own family, David Hasselhoff,  Octomom, and that super-cheap family featured on Oprah who only buy reduced produce and expired meat)

Also, I’m very normal if you don’t take into account the fact that I’m crazy.

However, recently I was able to tone done that crazy by fixing one of the most universal annoying sounds in the world.  A thing so annoying the Chinese created an entire form of torture around it.  Water.  Dripping water.

Our bathtub is old, as are the fixtures.  They aren’t antique old, but they’re old enough to be a pain in the ass.  They need to be replaced and have gotten to the point where they just can’t be fixed anymore.  They need new guts.  A quick fix is to replace the washers in them, but  we’re at the point where we’re replacing the washers every 3 months or so.   One day the tap is fine, the next day it’s dripping like a 3 year olds nose in winter.

When the tap started dripping again a couple of weeks ago I didn’t have much time on my hands to go scrambling around turning off water, and finding washers and such.  But … I couldn’t let the sound of the dripping tap push me closer and closer to the edge of crazy, either.

So I relented and I fixed the annoying dripping tap.


Kay, technically the tap’s still dripping, but it isn’t annoying anymore.

Have an annoying dripping tap?  Just tie a string to the faucet, make sure some of the string is shoved in the hole where the water comes out of the tap and enjoy.

No more torturous sounds coming from the bathroom.  Not until the next bladder infection comes along, anyway.

Oh!  And that grandmother of mine who didn’t leave the house?  Clearly she never had a dripping tap in there with her.


  1. Becky says:

    Hi Karen, I have reading your blog for a couple of weeks now, not only is it informative but enternianing as well. I LOVE IT. But I do have a question I think will really stump you. It is an “age old” question. How do you get your husband to do ANY chores? I mean anything at all. He will sit in his chair watching t.v or on the computer while I’m outside cutting/trimming the grass,pulling weeds,scooping dog poo,raking leaves ect.Or I’m running around inside doing everyones laundry,vacuuming or shampooing carpets,cleaning litter boxes,bathing dogs and last but not least taking care of my Moms needs.

    He will go to the store,occasionally cut the grass or prepare a meal,put the trash out but I have to tell him constantly. I would go on but I think you get the picture. Now I’m at the end of my rope(my shrink thinks so too!!!) So what kind of tricks do you have up your sleeve that you can share with me. I was thinking about a shock collar or whip but he’s a Veteran and it probably wouldn’t faze him (HAHA).
    Any advice you can offer would be great.

    B. in MD

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becky! If he’s like any other man he might actually *like* the shock collar and whip. Here’s one thing I did. When the fella moved in I stopped doing laundry. Stopped. Entirely. I didn’t make a fuss. Didn’t say a word. I just didn’t do a single piece of laundry. He was too smart/stupid to ask me to do it once it was piled up to the ceiling and he had no more underwear. So … he did it. He ruined a few things of mine in the learning process but I didn’t say a word and let him keep doing the laundry. He does it to this day. I told him a few years ago about my tactic and he was a bit shocked. The other way I seem to be able to get him to do stuff is to keep a list of things that have to be done. I know. He should just know. He shouldn’t need a list. But they’re men. They need to be told what to do because they’re a little bit stupid. Your husband is not going to change. He is not going to suddenly realize OH! He needs to do stuff. However, if he does things when you ask him, chances are he’ll respond to “THE LIST”. A list of things that need to be done either on a weekly, daily or once in a while basis. I create a list of things that need to be done and the day they have to be done by. (Call to book chimney cleaning by September 15th, Fix wobbly fence post TODAY or the whole fence will fall down, Power wash the rug by next Saturday so it’s ready for company on the weekend … etc.) Even if we’re not having company, and the fence won’t fall down I still word it that way. Another problem women have is it’s usually easier to do things ourselves than explain to someone else how to do it. Try to get past that even if it’s exasperating. That’s all I can think of at the moment. I … you see … am busy building custom shelves for the entire basement … while the fella is asleep. ~ karen

  2. Gayla T says:

    Actually, my late husband’s grandmother puts yours to shame of you are using the nutty chart. She left the home plenty and got run over by a car about every time. Run over is a bit too strong for what happened to her. She got hit by a car and thrown to the ground. That’s how she made her living. She would walk out in front of s slow moving vehicle, fall on to the hood or fender, fall off and roll around in pain that required an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Obviously she would be treated and released from the ER and then her attorney would start legal proceedings that were almost always settled out of court. Back in the days before internet cooperation between insurance companies it was a pretty lucrative living as she lived very well and lived a long life that didn’t end with an accident. Now days she would end up in prison for fraud but evidently no one out side the family knew what this sweet little white haired lady was up to. Beleive me, if her four daughters could have kept her in the house they would have been thrilled. LOL The plumbing in my 120 y/old house is all new but now that I know how to fix a drip that is not a relative, I’m ready.

  3. Liz says:

    Brilliant! Those kinds of noises are so annoying.

    I have a running, not really dripping, toilet. And while I know it is fixable, that has not happened yet. So I actually turn on and off the water with each use. Which is also annoying.

    • Karen says:

      Liz – Have you checked to see if the chain running from the arm in the tank to the stopper at the bottom is long enough? If it isn’t it can cause the toilet to sound like it’s constantly running/filling. ~ karen

      • Liz says:

        Yes, I even double checked again just to be sure. Unfortunately the problem seems to be that the flapper seal is all bubbly and I (we – my man has done most of the looking, to be fair) can’t seem to just be able to buy that part. I think I need to replace the whole internal stack? I’m mostly making up my terminology here, so I could be kinda lying about what I need. But the chain is plenty long.

  4. kelliblue says:

    one word: earplugs. Ahhh…peace and quiet.

    Akorse, you have to really like the sound of your own breathing/heartbeat/blood rushing in your ears, but other than that, it’s perfect. And so is your solution!

  5. Julie shinnick says:

    oh boy it’s almost a criminal offence here to have a dripping tap… We live in the ‘driest state on the driest continent on earth’. Or have they changed that to Western Australia now?? anyways, it’s dry……. our shower is heading that way……I have lost patience with it but hubby keeps on fixing it bless him!!

  6. Allison D says:

    Hi Karen! I’m a big fan of your blog, thanks for your humor and great tips :) Is that a clawfoot tub with a shower attachment? If so, what do you do with your toiletries? I’ve been trying to find some sort of shower caddy (I can’t find a decent over-the-showerhead one that’s stable, and I’d love to find something that anchors to the shower pipe itself.) What do you do for your shower storage? Any thoughts on how to DIY something? Thanks!!

  7. Nicole2 says:

    Karen, brilliant minds…many years ago, in my first apartment, which was in fact a dive, I also had a dripping tap and a landlord in no hurry to fix it. As it was the kitchen tap and I was in a studio apartment, I could hear it while sleeping. I came up with that exact solution!!

  8. Susan says:

    This also works for noisy downspouts, except you put it on the inside of the downspout, and it should probably be something like chain, and you should try not to fall off the roof while doing it, because no matter HOW irritating a noisy downspout is, it’s not half as irritating as a broken arm or leg. Or both.

  9. Barbie says:

    Excuse me….I have to go do this to my tub RIGHT NOW! bye! oh and THANKS! :)

  10. Nancy says:

    Although this is quite brilliant..I am a teensy bit disappointed that you didn’t color coordinate the string and the shower curtain..This is so unlike you Karen..OK..Just kidding..whatever stops that sound is good with

  11. Kristin says:

    K, how about the dripping sound coming from my toilet?? It’s not dripping onto the floor, but it sounds like the water is dripping into the tank. Only annoying to ME so the dh is never, ever going to fix it.

    • Karen says:

      Kristin – Yup. There’s a fix for that. One thing it could be is the chain between your stopper at the bottom of the tank and the arm to lift the stopper is a teensy bit too short. Therefore the plug isn’t properly sealing and creating a water sound. If wiggling the flush handle alters the sound, that’s the problem. ~ karen

  12. Lisa says:

    Put the string in a small bowl, so you can see exactly how much water is dripping out. Then you can water a plant with it or something. At least then you can tell if the drip is getting worse.

  13. That is something I CANNOT stand dripping water…. by the way I like your tub I think it is very cute…

  14. Liz S. says:

    This is a good idea. My parents have spring water (water coming directly out of the side of the mountain, into a holding taking, then to the house). So the water is REALLY cold. In the winter time they have to leave the faucets dripping a little at night to keep the water in the pipes moving and not freezing. My mom is practically deaf, so she never noticed the dripping sounds that haunted the house…. but it drove me and my dad nuts!

  15. Olivia says:

    Oh, you so make me laugh!

  16. Dru says:

    that is awesome

  17. Another Karen says:

    Very clever! I’ll have to remember that one.

  18. Holly says:

    Brilliant! A plumber would have charged you $250 for that solution!

  19. Robyn says:

    Drip, drip, drip – just in case it’s too quiet!

  20. Alyson says:

    I always like hearing that there are other really, actually crazy families out there. It makes me feel normal.

  21. Connor says:

    The epitome of elegance, right here. <3

  22. Lynn says:

    Haha! Cute. I actually do have a dripping tap that needs to be taken care of. Perfect timing :)

    • Ginny says:

      Same here. Except then my cats will be pissed. They like to drink their water very fresh. As in, if I fill their bowl and set it down it’s no longer fresh enough. They are spoiled brats but I love them anyway!

      • devin says:

        My cats also like to drink from the faucet! Whenever we leave a bowl or glass of water for them (or not for them) they find a way to knock it over and spill it everywhere.

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