I have this vintage sterling faucet.

It stays like this for hours and hours and hours after turning it off sterling2

If i touch the end of the spout little drips fall for hours and hours and hours.


If i close the valve it stops the water immediately. A little drip forms on the end of the spout. If i leave that drip on there it hangs there without growing and dropping for hours. If i touch that little drop a teaspoon comes out and then it seems little drops form and drop off for hours.

Is this water from the inside of the spout slowly drawing the remnants in the tube UP by capillary action or is the valve not totally totally zero psi zero flow closed?


Your statement that "...little drops form and drop off for hours" indicates that the valve is leaking-by and probably needs a new washer. The other weird effect you describe seems like a surface-tension anomoly.

  • So you think the surface tension is enough to stop the seep from the valve? Dec 18 '20 at 15:27
  • Replace the washers as suggested by @Jimmy Fix-it and that should solve the problem. No leakng - no dripping. If you're concerned about the manner in which the last few drops drip out you might want to try a different style faucet.
    – HoneyDo
    Dec 18 '20 at 17:56
  • @HoneyDo thats not really the question facing jimmy fix it. Do you perhaps join, jimmy fix it, in concluding that the surface tension of the drop at the end of the round tube is what is resisting what must be a fraction of a psi pressure at the valve stem bibb seat washer. ---- what style of faucet do you recommend? Dec 18 '20 at 18:29
  • NO, I do not contend that the weight of a few drops of water is preventing the leak because that is absurd. I contend that perhaps some water seeps and pools in the spout due to surface tension or whatever, then when you touch it (evidently breaking surface tension) a "teaspoon" comes out. I also contend that it does likely drip when you are not watching or touching it. Also, a leak on that type of faucet can come and go, depending on a number of factors including how tightly the valve is closed. Even if the same person closes it each time, the force applied will vary. Dec 18 '20 at 22:27
  • Just change the washers, and maybe the seats while you are at it, and you won't have to stress about this inconsequential "ghost drip". Dec 18 '20 at 22:30

Most likely, since the water remains in the spout, it is residual water that didn't flow out when the faucet was shut. Basically, the waters surface tension holds to the spout opening and when you break the surface tension (by touching it) it flows out.

  • The 'residual water that didnt flow out' keeps dripping one drop at a time for several hours. Why is that? Dec 19 '20 at 1:45
  • I was responding to your statement that "If i leave that drip on there it hangs there without growing and dropping for hours." If water ultimately continues leaking out, no matter how slow, there's a leak. Most likely the washers need replacing.
    – ojait
    Dec 19 '20 at 1:52
  • It does not grow big enough to drop off for hours and hours and hours. It isnt leaking. Dec 19 '20 at 2:00
  • @Andyz Smith If your sure it's not leaking than the only other answer is there is water remaining in the spout trapped between the closed stem and the mouth of the faucet. I'm guessing that either a vacuum was created which holds the water in place or some sort of surface tension.
    – ojait
    Dec 19 '20 at 15:56
  • Try this: push a pencil, wire, or screwdriver into the faucet where the water is trapped. The water will drain down the probe. Remove it (probe) when no water remains. Monitor the faucet making sure not to use it during test. If no water is noted for an appropriate amount of time you can safely say there is no water being lost.
    – ojait
    Dec 19 '20 at 16:04

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