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:
- Turn the water off at the water meter using a cut-off key.
- Unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle of the faucet.
- Grasp the faucet handle, and pull the valve stem out of the hose bibb.
- Remove the screw on the valve stem holding the faucet washer.
- Replace the washer with one of the same size and thickness.
- Push the valve stem back into the hose bibb housing.
- Tighten the packing nut on the hose bibb until snug.
- Use the cut-off key to turn the water back on at the meter.
- Turn the spigot back on to remove any air from the line.
- Check for leaks around the packing nut on the valve stem.
- Turn the faucet off and check the spigot for leaks.
Watch this video to find out more.
- Repairing a Leaky Faucet (video)
- How to Repair a Leaking Cut-Off Valve (article)
- How to Find a Plumbing Leak (article)
- How to Check a Water Meter for Plumbing Leaks (article)
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.