Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet

Watch this step-by-step video to learn how to fix a leaky outdoor faucet.

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Leaks in outdoor faucets usually occur in two places – the handle and the spout.

What if I have a frost-free valve stem?

This leak can be more difficult to fix, especially if the leak is occurring inside your wall or if your valve stem is soldered onto your supply line rather than screwed into it. If you have this type of valve stem, consult a plumbing supply store for advice.

Removing the valve stem assembly

  1. Turn off the water supply. Your shut-off valve is usually located in your home’s basement or crawlspace.
  2. Turn on the faucet to drain the water from the faucet.
  3. Remove the handle by unscrewing the screw that holds it in place.
  4. Behind the handle, you’ll find a packing nut. Turning counter-clockwise, use a wrench to undo the packing nut and slide out the valve assembly.

Replacing a worn washer behind packing nut

  1. Use a wrench to loosen the nut and take out the washer.
  2. Take the old washer to a plumbing supply store to make sure you’re replacing it with the right one.
  3. Put the new washer back inside the packing nut, and tighten it with a wrench.

Replacing a worn washer at base of valve stem

  1. Unscrew the screw that holds the washer in place and remove the worn washer.
  2. Replace it with a new, matching one, making sure you are using the correct replacement washer, and screw the washer back into place and tighten.

Reinserting the valve stem assembly

  1. Slide the valve stem assembly back into the faucet and screw it clockwise into place.
  2. Hold the faucet with one hand to stop it from turning and tighten the valve stem assembly with an adjustable wrench, without over-tightening it.
  3. Screw the handle back on and turn the water supply on again. Now turn your faucet on - your leak should be fixed.

Disclaimer: The Saving Water Partnership and Seattle Public Utilities provide these videos as general information only and the advice contained therein shall not be construed as any type of certification, warranty or other approval with respect to the Owner's compliance with any applicable Federal, State and/or local law, code, regulation or requirement, nor is the Saving Water Partnership or Seattle Public Utilities responsible for any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information contained in these videos.