Taps spurt water periodically when closed...


21 Mar 2009
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Hi folks..

I tried searching for 'dripping taps' but results were relating to perished washers etc etc.....

Over the past few years the missus and i have noticed that any water mains outlet (kitchen/bathroom taps/shower/outdoor taps) will suddenly spurt out water for a few seconds for no apparent reason.... normally within 10 mins of a tap being used... can happen 3-4 times within say 45 mins...

We also noticed that after a shower the shower head sometimes drips for up to a minute after switching off - I've installed a new thermostatic valve in the shower (btw we have a combi boiler) but that didn't stop the shower dripping...

In the mornings when we come to use the shower when we switch the shower on it can take 2-3 seconds for water to appear (not your normal instant water).... and then it's as if it's got air in it.....chokes/spurts..

Obviously i'm no pro .... but i was initially thinking along the lines of a leak somewhere but..... would a 'leak' create an airlock? I mean.. if water is leaking from the mains surely it would - for want of a better phrase -'backfill' the pipework thus not creating an airlock? .... & i can't find evidence of a 'leak' anywhere (apart from the tap spurt)

I'm stumped... and would drop to my knees in prayer if someone could give me a pointer in the right direction....

many thanks..
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A combination of surface tension and atmospheric pressure.

Surface tension stops air running back up up the spout of a tap or your shower head, leaving a partial vacuum holding the last bit of water there after you turn it off. The water hangs in the spout, supported by atmospheric pressure.

Eventually an air bubble breaks through the surface tension, breaking the vacuum and letting the water dribble out.

Then when you turn the tap back on, the water forces the air back out of the spout, causing a few hiccups before settling down to a steady flow.
Many thanks for taking the time to reply with such an informed response! :D

I can see where you're coming from with regards to the shower head.... with the shower head being a distance from the valve.... but unsure how this would explain for example an outside tap ...?

I guess the next question is... 'Can i do anything about it'?

Thanks again !
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Poltergeist would have been a better answer :LOL:

LMAO.... it really is like that.... the wife just had a shower and i'm sat downstairs in kitchen and twice it's as if someone has quickly opened and closed the kitchen taps... spooky !!

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