Repairing a dripping outdoor spigot is often at the bottom of a homeowner’s to-do list, since the leak is outside the house. But left unchecked, it doesn’t take long for even a small leak from a hose bibb to waste hundreds of gallons of water.

Another common problem on outside spigots is leaking around the valve stem when the water is turned on. The good news is that both of these problems can often be easily fixed simply by tighten the packing nut behind the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn.

If the faucet still leaks after tightening the packing nut, the washer on the end of the valve stem needs to be replaced. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Turn the water off at the water meter using a cut-off key.
  2. Unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle of the faucet.
  3. Grasp the faucet handle, and pull the valve stem out of the hose bibb.
  4. Remove the screw on the valve stem holding the faucet washer.
  5. Replace the washer with one of the same size and thickness.
  6. Push the valve stem back into the hose bibb housing.
  7. Tighten the packing nut on the hose bibb until snug.
  8. Use the cut-off key to turn the water back on at the meter.
  9. Turn the spigot back on to remove any air from the line.
  10. Check for leaks around the packing nut on the valve stem.
  11. Turn the faucet off and check the spigot for leaks.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Now, here’s a pretty common problem, I see it a lot. It’s a leaky outdoor spigot or water bibb, and if you’ve got one of these, I can tell you three things without even looking at it.

First of all, left unchecked, it’s going to waste hundreds of gallons of water, even with a slow drip like this. Number two, it’s what I consider one of the most doable do-it-yourself projects that you can tackle. And number three, in most cases all it’s going to take is about 30 seconds of your time and a pair of adjustable pliers, cause all you need to do is tighten the packing nut that’s right behind the handle. About a quarter to an eighth turn is all it takes.

Now unfortunately, I’ve already tried that with this one, so I’m going to have to look at a couple of other items. But again, it’s pretty simple, and it starts with turning off the water supply.

Now looking at this one, I can tell that we have a really worn washer, so we’re going to unscrew the washer from the handle. This one’s a little stubborn to get out, so I’m going to have to use a little extra effort with a utility knife to pull this washer out of the way. Once we do, its time to find a replacement, and I always like to keep a pack of washers on hand of all varieties, so I can find what I need.

Once we’ve got the washer back in place, we reassemble the hose bibb, turn the faucet off, go back and turn you water supply back on. Then come back to the hose bibb, open it up release any air, let some water flow, turn it off, and there you go. We’ve fixed our leak.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. In Aurora CO? against the ordinances to turn water off at the meter. You must turn off in the house or call the water dept.

  2. Valve leaks at threaded connection downstream of the valve body, and it squeaks also. Tried unscrewing attachment between hose and valve body, but it seems to get tighter no matter which way it is turned. How to proceed?

  3. The top of the faucet that drains the water when turned off
    Does not close when turned on. I have no access to the
    Inside of the 10 inch part of the faucet. I fear if I try removing the faucet without gripping the pipe inside the house may cause big problems Can I fix this thing without tearing
    My house apart?

  4. The first solution worked for me. Simply tightening the nut behind the handle. It has been dripping for a couple months and was adding an additional $25-30 to my water bill per month. Big thanks

  5. Outside faucet: when I turn my faucet on, water comes out as usual, but I see a leak coming from the bottom of the house siding that drips about a foot out on each side of the faucet, dripping off the bottom edge of the siding. What could be the problem here? When I shut the faucet off the leaking from the bottom edge of the siding stops leaking and there is no leaking out of the faucet at all. Could it be washer problems or crack inside the Bibb that stops when I turn faucet off?

  6. No help at all for older faucets. As others have stated, the valve stem does not slide right out as it does in the video. Looks like a plumber will make some money off this problem.

  7. When I turn on my outdoor faucet to water my garden, water sprays out of the handle in the middle where the screw is. Itspray clear across the sidewalk into the neighbors yard! Please explain the repair in layman terms so I can understand! Would sure appreciate your help! Thanks in advance!

  8. Tightened the nut behind the handle and no more leaking around the stem when water is turned on. Used to bug the heck out of me at all the leaking water that was being wasted when I used any of my outdoor faucets. Thanks for the tips!!

  9. Please do segment that shows how to replace packing around the stem. This is often the problem when tightening the bib doesn’t stop leaking around the stem when the valve is being turned on.

  10. Oh, great! We’re halfway through this easy-to-do project and can’t get the stupid thing off and the spigot handle is crumbling on us. Lovely. Talk about being screwed.

  11. Pretty good video for faucets that only have one nut to turn, which would be the packing nut.

    But some faucets have two nuts —
    1)the packing nut right under the faucet handle, and
    2) the spindle nut next to the body of the faucet.
    For this case, loosen the spindle nut to remove the spindle assembly.

  12. found the content of your “how to” helpful, but noticed a comments section that is absolutely worthless if you don’t provide feedback, answers. At a minimum, you need to allow other readers to respond to questions being left by readers of your “how to”.

  13. Thank you very much.

    My water shut-off valve was leaking and after doing the first thing I tightened the packing nut. No more leaking valve.

  14. Tightned the packing nut about a whole turn or more ; still leaks but not as badly. Still have space between packing nut and next piece of spigot. Should I keep tighten it until it is snug? Thanks

  15. When I attach a hose to the faucet, even though I have a new rubber washer in the hose cup, waster still blows out between the faucet and the hose fastener. All 4 of my outdoor faucets have this problem. I have tried putting teflon tape on the threads of the faucet. How can I fix this water wasting problem?

  16. 90% of older faucets can not/should not be repaired. If the faucet is threaded on, just follow directions for shutting off water main feed to the house and remove and replace the whole faucet. Total cost 3 to 15 dollars. Take the old one with you.

  17. My faucet handle spins without turning the water on. If I push really hard and turn it will kind of work. What do I do?

  18. Outside hose faucet wouldn’t shut off. Thought I needed a plumber. Found your video. Took it apart and over to HD. The screw head holding the washer had disintegrated . He found the proper washer and said to use super glue to hold it in place. Just let it set. Everything works great. I wouldn’t have attempted it without your video! Thanks

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with the TodaysHomeowner.com community, Joe!
      We’re happy to hear that outside faucet is working as it should again.
      Take care. 🙂

  19. Hi,
    I have so many different types of pipes where faucet is and some do not botch, I am afraid to brake of pipes. one is made out of PVC. what now.

  20. I truly enjoy your show was wonder if I could use some of my homer repair needs in Lancaster SC to get on the show, need help hanging some gutters and repairing some facial boards and a land scape in my front flower bed.

    • Hi, Bill!
      Today’s Homeowner usually tapes within 100 miles of Mobile, Alabama.
      However, throughout the year, we have contests that allow homeowners across the country the chance to receive a visit from Danny and Chelsea.
      Follow us on Facebook (at Today’s Homeowner Media, https://www.facebook.com/todayshomeownermedia/), where we post announcements and qualifications for those contests.
      You never know where we’ll end up — just depends on who wins our next contest! 🙂

  21. By far one of the most useful and simplest fixes and this video couldn’t have been more helpful. I have one outside that just won’t tighten enough and the leak didnt stop. The tightening did the trick after watching this video. Thanks, saved me money on repair and water bill. I thought I had to replace the whole thing but turns out not to be the case.

  22. Thanks! Worked like a charm. Interesting note: Still have one hose bib that is original to house (which is nearly 80 years old), and still haven’t had any problems with it.

  23. Hi, My hose bibb has a knob on top of the faucet. There is a green round cap on it. This is where the leak is coming from. How do I handle that? Thanks for listening.

  24. THANK YOU! I had a drip at the valve and was certain I was going to have to replace it all, then watched your video and figured ‘hey, it’s free to try’… went outside and tightened the packing nut and turned it on… now the only thing that leaks is the hose where I had to give it emergency ducttape until I buy a new one. 🙂 Thanks again!!

  25. WOW, that’s the easiest home owner fix I’ve ever seen. Turning the packing nut 1/8 turn worked like a charm on my 55 year old bibb.

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