Drip. Drip. Drip. A dripping faucet disrupts life with an annoying, repetitive plink. Over. And. Over. The sound is so uniquely maddening that science has revealed its source: the movement of tiny air bubbles within the droplet causes its surface to vibrate, sending sound waves to sensitive ears. The study grew from an overnight visit that Cambridge’s Anurag Agarwal paid to a friend with a leaky roof. Dr. Agarwal, an engineer, pondered the enigma as he lay sleeplessly listening to drops hitting a strategically placed bucket.
Dripping faucets cause household troubles beyond insomnia. They waste water: one drip per second from a single home faucet squanders more than 3,000 gallons a year. Expect higher utility costs, too: faucets in your home account for 15-18 percent of your total water bill.
The irksome drips usually stem from:
Finally, a dripping faucet may be telling you it’s approaching retirement. Faucets aren’t extremely complicated to engineer but their parts must align precisely, fit tightly and function the same way over years of use and thousands of turns. These parts simply wear out. Faucet longevity varies tremendously: if you grabbed an inexpensive faucet off the discount rack, expect its plastic working parts to quit sooner than a more expensive model with brass internal fittings.
Fixing drips is a specialty of Service America’s plumbing visits, so be sure to call for repairs as soon as you notice them. Looking for a short-term fix – and some sleep - until Service America arrives? Dr. Agarwal solved his problem by adding a bit of liquid soap to the accumulating water to change the surface tension and muffle the noise.