Homeowner’s How-to: Leaky Outdoor Faucet Repair in 6 Helpful Steps

By Mengning Heil

January 7, 2022

Faucet Repair and Installation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A slow drip coming from your hose spigot, aka hose bib, is something you may not notice right away, but when you do you’ll want to quickly learn how to perform an outdoor faucet repair as this kind of leak can still hike up your water bill significantly.

Outdoor Faucet Repair Basics: Where Is the Leak Coming From?

When it comes to a leaky outdoor faucet there are basically two places where you may notice water dripping. It will either be coming from the handle or the spout. Read on to find out how to fix a leak in either location.

Note: These instructions are for the most common type of outdoor faucet valve.

How to Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet Handle

If you see water dripping from the handle, first try tightening the packing nut (located just behind the handle) with a wrench. Sometimes this is all it takes. If that doesn’t make a difference or if your leak is coming from the spout then you’ll have to take the faucet apart. This repair is more complicated so before we move on it might be helpful to check out this diagram on the basic anatomy of an outdoor faucet.

outdoor faucet repair

How to Fix a Leak Coming From Your Outdoor Faucet Spout

1 – Your first step, as with almost any plumbing-related repair, is to find the water shut-off valve for this particular faucet and turn it off. This is not the same as your home’s emergency water shut off. You will find it inside your home on the wall closest to where the hose bib is located. Proceed to drain out any remaining water sitting in the faucet.

2 – Next, remove the handle by loosening the screw holding it in place. Then, using a wrench to loosen the packing nut, slide out the valve assembly, also known as a valve stem. Your leak is likely due to a worn out washer on one end or the other of the valve stem, either the one behind the packing nut or the one at the base of the assembly.

3 – If the washer behind the packing nut is worn use a wrench to loosen the nut and remove the old washer, but don’t throw it away just yet! Make your life easy and take it with you to the hardware store so you can make sure you are buying the correct replacement. The same goes for a worn washer at the base. Unscrew the screw and remove the old washer then purchase the proper sized washer for your valve.

4 – Once you have the correct washer, put it in place and retighten the respective screw or nut being careful not to over-tighten.

5 – Slide the valve stem back into the faucet and hand tighten. Finish tightening with an adjustable wrench, again being careful not to over tighten and then replace the handle as well.

6 – Lastly, turn the water supply back on and test the faucet to see if you’ve been successful in your outdoor faucet repair job! (Note: if your attempt to tackle this outdoor faucet repair has not fixed the leak, you will want to call in a professional to help.)

Final Tips

  1. Remember that properly winterizing your plumbing is another step you can take to maintain your outdoor faucet and avoid costly repairs. Check out our article on how to winterize your plumbing.
  2. If you need to get your hosebib replaced, we recommend a frostproof hosebib.

Looking for help with leak detection in Baltimore County or the surrounding areas? If you’re in need of a reliable plumber in Jessup, MD, be sure to contact Heil Plumbing today.

Heil Plumbing is a family-run company owned by a third-generation master plumber. We can help you with a full range of plumbing services, including toilet installation and repair, leak detection and pipe repair, faucet repair and installation, drain cleaning, and water heater repair in Baltimore County and the surrounding areas.