Checking taps are off with OCD and learning to overcome it

Taps are one of my biggest enemies in OCD. I cannot just check the tap is off and walk away. I have to go back.

And I have to stare at it to make sure there are no drips. Ten seconds is usually enough for me to know I’m good.

It is mentally exhausting.


Topics covered:

  • The fear of flooding or wasting water
  • Constantly checking any room with taps in them
  • Long staring compulsions and never feeling a check is good enough
  • Having bad anxiety when going to work
  • My struggle to leave the house for long periods i.e vacation

OCD Tap Checking image with running tap in background

The fear of coming home to a flooded house…not worth thinking about. It’s easier to over-think and over-check than to over-pay for the water damage.

If you find yourself constantly checking taps in OCD, you certainly aren’t alone.

I can see from my analytics that this is a form of OCD a lot of people struggle with. I can just give support where possible and walk alongside you.

When Tap/Flooding OCD started

I cannot remember a moment in which this was triggered, instead it probably emerged day by day via anxiety in general.

My mind does a great job of finding things to worry about, and providing pretty detailed thoughts about what it will be like when it happens.

A person swimming underwater

What makes tap checking OCD so stressful is the number of taps (and rooms) to check.

The kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the bath and shower. The ritual is probably more of a cycle around the house and by the time you get to that final tap, it is hard to remember where you even started.

Sundays would be an OCD nightmare…

I work in a luxury residential building full time. My company looks after the public areas, we organize move ins/outs and provide security.

40 floors, 300+ apartments, God knows how many taps.

Sundays we are also required to check all the vacant apartments waiting to be sold, making sure everything is in perfect working order.

Windows and doors. Lights, locks and taps.

For someone like me, this is an OCD nightmare.

Highrises in Canary Wharf, similar to the one I work in

Turning every tap on, only to turn them of, room by room… brought on absolute mental exhaustion.

What made the checks more anxiety-inducing was knowing I was potentially the only one to enter that apartment until the next Sunday checks. I had to be certain everything was off, and my doubts increase tenfold.

Tap checking isn’t so bad in public areas

If I know someone will be using those taps within 30 minutes or so, I am at ease.

Bathrooms at work, or in a restaurant. In fact my checks aren’t really bad at home if I have visitors… not just to hide my OCD but also because I know the rooms will be used frequently.

The worst case scenario is I leave a tap on, and someone will notice in a few short minutes.

I will still check, but it is more of a ‘normal’ check if that is a thing.

Turning off my mind

I know the tap is off. I know it would be damn hard for it to cause a problem even if it was running.

That little hole in the sink? That has my back. It always has done.

Picture of sink and drainage hole

When I was brushing my teeth and the TV caught my eye. When I passed out drunk as a college student right before taking a shower.

The days before tap checking OCD took over, there was never a flood. And there probably won’t be.

But me saying that and my OCD listening, that is a different story.


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