Faucet Turns On By Itself? Here Are 5 Reasons Why

faucet turns on by itself

Faucets are naturally exposed to a series of problems. After all, water can be quite damaging in the long run. This is why you need to replace it every few years or so.

However, a quality faucet can last way longer than that, but it may still be exposed to a series of issues. Now, what happens when the faucet turns on by itself? Is that even possible? This is a scenario that most people have never thought about – imagine the damage if you were not around to turn it off.

faucet turns on by itself

Here Are The 5 Reasons Why Your Faucet Turns On By Itself

Worn out packing nuts

If you have two handles – one for hot water one another one for cold water, you also have a bunch of packing nuts that hold the stems in place.

Their main role is to prevent the water from running when the faucet is turned on. With time, packing nuts can go loose – this problem is more common in very old faucets. When they go loose, the water pressure is strong enough to turn them on automatically.


Once the water pressure goes through, your faucet will end up running. It may look like a ghost, but you just need a quick fix. Faucets can be turned on automatically based on the pressure. Sometimes, the pressure is simply higher than normal, hence the unexpected problems. Try to fix the issue as quickly as possible or you risk facing lots of damage.


Worn out rubber washer

Faucet Turns On By Itself

This problem is just as common in old faucets. You might experience a faucet turned off, but the water still running. Practically, you are done washing your hands or some dishes, turn the water off and you still see it running. The pressure will not be that high, but it will most likely look like a more intensive leak – continuous though.


At this point, the rubber washer could be the issue. It needs replacement. You have a few stems responsible for sealing the faucets when they are turned off. There is a rubber washer on their end. Make sure you double-check it. If it looks worn, the seal may no longer work, hence the water running when the faucet is turned off.


Dirty sensors

Some modern faucets come with sensors. Practically, they feature a touchless application. They are quite appealing due to their sensors and operation, but they are also practical when your hands are dirty and you do not want to touch them. However, you can also turn them on or off manually – most people prefer the sensor-based operation.


If you sit nicely in your living room and you hear the water running – no pets around, make sure you check the sensor. It is not a ghost. Those sensors require a bit of maintenance. Simply put, you need to clean them every now and then. It is all about wiping them with a clean cloth and perhaps a bit of water. When clean, they should no longer cause this issue.


Worn hose

If your water seems to keep running even after you turn it off, you might have a problem with a hose. The hose making a connection between the faucet and the water supply takes lots of stress and may fail at times. Right where the valve is, this hose has an extra valve on the inside. Its main role is to shut the water off if the hose fails – this way, it can prevent floods.


If the hose or that valve fails, you might notice the faucet turned off, but water still running. It is the last thing most plumbers think about. You will scratch your head for a while and try out everything else first. If nothing seems to work, double-check this hose. You might need to replace it – fixing it is just not worth the time and money.


Tight packing

The packing is practically a seal. It goes around the shaft that takes the handle in. Telling whether or not the packing is tight is fairly simple.

How easy is it to turn the water off? Do you have to make any effort? Can you feel any resistance? More importantly, is turning the water on easier than turning it off? If the answer is yes, your packing is too tight, so your faucet turns on by itself when least expected.


At this point, it will naturally push in the other direction. It will inevitably push the handle in the open position. The issue will not be so obvious in a new handle, but it will kick in with time. Not only does the handle feel harder and harder to turn off, but it may also turn back on a few minutes after you are gone.

The packing can be loosened up a bit – simply unmount the fixture and check it out.


Do it yourself or hire a plumber?

There are a few options to sort the problem out when the faucet turns on by itself. The answer is never clear. It could be any of the above-mentioned situations.

In other words, you have to try one idea after another to find the culprit. A bit of basic plumbing experience will help you sort this problem out. It makes a good DIY project for your bathroom or kitchen.


However, if you have no idea what you are doing, you will barely understand what a worn rubber washer looks like. In other words, you might open the faucet apart, only to realize that you have no clue what could be wrong. If you find yourself in this situation, a plumber could be the better option – they have probably dealt with similar situations before.


Here is a short video on how to stop a faucet from running on :



As a short final conclusion, there are a few reasons wherefore the faucet turns on by itself. As weird as it might seem, there are no ghosts inside your house. Each of these problems makes an easy fix, but you need a bit of experience. Some parts can be fixed, while others require replacement.


We also did an article about why are kitchen faucet so expensive. Do check them out.