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How to Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet

Updated on August 29, 2012

Repair a Leaky Outdoor Faucet

Repairing a Leaking Outside Faucet
Repairing a Leaking Outside Faucet

Outdoor water supply faucets typically develop leaking that needs repaired over time. Improper winter protection, sunlight, and age deterioration all contribute to causing leaky outside faucets. Generally, there are two places the faucet leaks. These repair tips show both areas the faucets leak and how to make the repairs.

Outdoor Faucet Leaking Around the Handle

Most outdoor water faucets built in the last 30-40 years are sealed inside the connection joint. If the faucet is leaking around the handle, follow these steps to stop the leak.

Step 1: Shut off the Main Water Supply

Shut off the water supply to the building or house before working on the outside faucet.

Step 2: Remove the Faucet Mechanism

Using a pipe wrench, adjustable wrench or open-end wrench, completely untighten the faucet mechanism. Most single handle faucets are threaded so loosening is done by turning the nut counter-clockwise. Once the nut is fully loosened, pull the faucet handle so the whole mechanism is removed from the side of the building.

Clean out inside the faucet threading
Clean out inside the faucet threading

Step 3: Clean out the Threading

Clean out the inside and the outside of the threading. Any loose material or dirt will result in a leak around the faucet handle. Remove all of the old seal with with flat-head screwdriver and a towel.

Seal with graphite valve packing
Seal with graphite valve packing

Step 4: Apply New Valve Sealing

Using a graphite valve packing material, place a ring of sealing material inside the connection nut of the faucet mechanism. Any brand or color graphite valve material will work. A single ring is all that is needed. If too much material is placed, it may not stay in place, causing a leak.

Place the graphite valve packing in the threading
Place the graphite valve packing in the threading

Step 5: Reconnect the Faucet

Reconnect the faucet mechanism and tighten the nut. Do not overtighten, making the faucet handle too difficult to turn or so it will not fully open the valve. Turn on the water to test for any leaks

Anti-siphon faucet
Anti-siphon faucet

Leaking Faucet Around the Anti-Siphon Valve

Most outdoor faucets that were built in the last 10 years have anti siphon feature. Among other benefits, the anti-siphon feature helps the faucet mechanism from being destroyed if water is allowed to freeze at the outlet. This typically occurs if a hose full of water is still connected when water in the hose freezes. The plastic anti-siphon valve is typically damaged if this occurs, requiring replacement.

Step 1: Unscrew the anti-siphon cap, located on top of the faucet.

Step 2: Remove and replace the anti-siphon insert. The plastic insert is typically not repairable, but replacements are cheap.

Step 3: Place the anti-siphon cap back on the faucet and tighten.


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