How to Fix a Leaky Hose Bib

Dealing With an Outdoor Faucet Leak

An outdoor faucet, also referred to as a hose bib, or a spigot, can be a real annoyance when it’s leaking. We’ve all been there. You go to turn on the hose and get sprayed by an errant spurt of water that is leaking out around the connection instead of going down the hose. These situations are not only frustrating to deal with but can cause problems over time if left unaddressed. Leaking hose bibs can increase your water bill from wasted water and can even result in damage to the foundation or soil around the house where the leak is occurring. With the changing desert weather in Phoenix, we want to make sure you are staying cool in the hot summer months and not worrying about a leaky hose bib. Here are some causes and tips on fixing a leaky hose bib.

What Causes an Outdoor Faucet to Leak?

One of the most common reasons for a leaky hose bib is age. Over time, the hose bib can wear down resulting in a poor connection. Outdoor faucets can also be affected by extreme weather changes. It could also just be a matter of needing to tighten something to get the leak to stop. Whatever the reason might be, the issue shouldn’t be ignored. It’s usually a simple fix that you can do yourself. Though if you aren’t comfortable handling the repairs, you can also call a plumbing contractor to help.

Fixing a Leaky Hose Bib

Before you buy any new pieces of hardware, you should check that the packing nut doesn’t just need a bit of tightening first. The packing nut is located just behind the handle and can easily be tightened with a wrench or a pair of pliers. Just be sure not to tighten the nut too much or it could damage the fixture. If tightening the packing nut doesn’t stop the leaking then you likely need to replace the packing washer. To replace the packing washer:

1. Shut Off the Water

Before you start taking apart the hose bib, you will need to shut off the water supply. Some homes have a separate shut off valve for the outside faucet. However, if you do not have one or can’t find it, you can temporarily shut off the water supply to the entire home. After the water is shut off, turn the faucet on to let any leftover water drain out before you start taking the handle apart.

2. Remove the Handle Assembly and Valve Stem

Using a screwdriver, remove the packing screw that keeps the handle of the faucet attached to the valve stem. It may take a bit of wiggling until the handle pops off. Set the handle and screw aside. Next, using pliers or a wrench, unscrew the packing nut that keeps the valve stem secured to the faucet body. To fully remove the valve stem, you will need to unscrew it from the threaded faucet body.

3. Remove and Replace the Packing Washer

The packing washer can be removed in two different ways. You may be able to simply pry the washer out of the stem valve using a screwdriver. However, if this does not work, there might be another screw that is holding the washer in place. After unscrewing it, the washer should come out much easier. Once you have the washer in hand, take it to a hardware store to buy a replacement of the same size. If you get the incorrect washer, your hose bib might still leak. Reinsert the new washer into the valve stem just as the old one was and don’t forget the additional screw to hold it in place if there was one.

4. Reassemble the Hose Bib and Handle

Screw the valve stem back onto the body of the faucet. Then, using your pliers or wrench again, thread the packing nut back into place, remembering not to tighten it so much that it damages the fixture. Next, put the handle back onto the stem of the faucet and use the packing screw to secure it in place. If you can’t easily turn the handle, you may have tightened the packing nut too much.

5. Restore the Water Supply and Test the Faucet

Turn the water back on and test the faucet for leaks. If there is any leakage, first try tightening the packing nut again before assuming something is still wrong. If after tightening the nut there is still leaking, you may need to double-check that everything was reassembled accurately. Otherwise, it may be a matter of needing to replace the entire hose bib.

What If the Faucet Is Still Leaking?

If your attempts to fix the problem do not work, it may be time to call a professional plumbing contractor. Trying to fix the problem yourself when you are frustrated and unsure what to do could result in damage to the hose bib and more money being spent. Calling a professional will give you peace of mind that the issue is taken care of and done right the first time, avoiding extra costs.

How Day and Night Air Can Help

Day and Night are the leaders in Phoenix’s AC, heating, and plumbing services. Our experienced technicians can handle a variety of issues and understand the need to get the job done as quickly as possible when emergencies arise. At Day and Night Air we always put our customers first, providing the highest quality services in a timely manner. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs!