I'm a little teapot...drip drip drip.

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection

I’m a little teapot… drip drip drip.

 How do you keep the spout of a teapot from dripping on the table linen or furniture? Some teapot spouts always drip. Some drip sometimes. Some never do drip.

You can't tell at the store. You can't tell till you use it. So what do you do if you have a dripping, dribbling spout?

English butlers had a little trick.

Before serving the tea they wiped a small, nearly invisible dab of butter onto the lower lip edge of the spout. When the first cup of tea is poured the hot water removes any excess butter (a miniscule amount) leaving a perfectly formed (and nearly invisible) lip extension.

In addition to the shape, the molecular surface tension where the spout lip meets the butter, is enough to hold back any water remaining on the spout slope but any water that was on the surface butter has gone (into the cup) when the pot was tipped up at the end of the pour.

Charles Buell’s blog http://activerain.com/blogsview/2066850/think-of-your-house-as-a-sponge- shows a place where, at the end of a condensate drain, water drips around the edge similar to our teapots.

This is where home maintenance could be an art.

All the butler for this home had to do was wipe a bit of grease onto the bottom and edge of this drain. That would cause the water to drip off and not follow the pipe back into the house siding.

White lithium grease would be an excellent choice because of the colour and cleaner appearance. Don’t use butter: it won’t last (insects, varmints, dogs).


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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Robert were you a butler in another life?  Cool idea---there are all kinds of tricks of the trade that are being forgotten every day.  Breaking surface tension of fluids is an interesting thing.  As a painter I used to use "flow releasers" to promote flooding of paint.  I think in terms of home maintenance most people (myself included latetly) would rather have a butler to fix those little things.

Jan 21, 2011 11:57 AM #1
Jason Channell
Diadem Property Inspections - Serving Southeast Michigan - Troy, MI
The House Sleuth

Robert, thanks for the dose of culture! I'll have to apply that one when I fix my tea in the morning.

Jan 21, 2011 01:00 PM #2
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Hi guys,

Charles, Yes, just checkout my family name.

Jason, I don't know if it's culture, but if you've got a dripping spout, it works well.

Jan 22, 2011 06:34 AM #3
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Robert Butler

Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
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