Promptly repairing a leaking outdoor faucet your self can save money and can prevent serious water damage to the home’s exterior, or leakage into basement windows. Faucet repair may seem complicated. But it is usually a simple task.
Most faucet leaks are caused by one of two reasons: 1) the washer at the valve seat no longer seals or 2) the washer around the stem is leaking. Faucet drips indicates a worn washer, valve seat or both. Leaking around the faucet handle indicates a worn packing washer.
1. Shut off the water supply to the faucet
Find the outdoor water supply valve usually at the curb, or in front of the house, or in the basement. Turn off the water supply to the outside faucet.
Bring all the tools and supplies on a small tray. Bring a container for nuts, screws and washers so they don’t disappear into the lawn or into the dirt.
2. To Begin a faucet repair first remove the handle
Turn on the faucet to drain the water from the faucet. Use the correct size and shape of screwdriver to take off the faucet handle. Set the handle and screw on the tray.
3. Remove the valve stem assembly
Remove the handle by unscrewing the machine screw that holds it in place.
Below the handle, there is a packing nut. Use a crescent wrench to turn the nut counter-clockwise, remove the packing nut and slide out the valve assembly.
4. Inspect the washers
Carefully inspect both washers and the valve seat inside the body of the faucet. If the washers are worn, cracked or the valve seat is scored these may be the cause of your leak.
Washers come in many different sizes. It is important to replace both the valve washer and stem washer with ones that are identical in depth and diameter to the originals. Usually this means a trip to the plumbing store or hardware store for new washers. Take the original parts to the store for an exact match.
If the valve seat shows signs of damage a valve seat-grinding tool can be used to freshly grind and resurface the valve seat. This tool is inexpensive and can be used easily by the novice.
5. Replace any worn washer at base of valve stem
Remove the screw that holds the valve stem washer in place and remove the worn washer. Replace it with a new, matching washer; make sure to use the correct size replacement washer. Screw the washer back into place and tighten.
6. Reinsert the valve stem assembly
Slide the valve stem assembly back into the faucet body and screw it clockwise into place. Hold the faucet and tighten the valve stem nut with an adjustable crescent wrench. Do not over-tighten the nut. Reattach the faucet handle and close the faucet valve.
7. Attach the faucet
Attach the faucet to the water pipe supply line using Teflon tape or pipe dope. If the water supply elbow or pipe threads are worn it may be necessary to apply several rounds of Teflon tape then coat with pipe dope to prevent leaks. To use Teflon tape, wind the tape around the pipe threads in a counter clockwise motion. Then insert the faucet into the water pipe and tighten.
Turn on the water supply valve.
Turn the faucet on. The leak should be fixed.