An outside faucet that leaks is one of the most overlooked plumbing problems in the household. If left unrepaired, it can result to high water bills and worse, water can seep through the basement and create quite a mess. Good thing this problem is also one that can be easily fixed.
There are two possible sources of a leak to your outside faucet. One can be the handle and the other one, the spout. If the problem is a loose nut, tightening it with an adjustable wrench will fix it. However, if this does not solve the problem or if the spout is where the leak is coming from, you need to replace the valve stem assembly.
Step 1: Turn off the shut valve connected to the outside faucet. This can be located under the kitchen sink or the basement, if you have one. Open the faucet handle to drain the remaining water.
Step 2: Remove the faucet handle by using the correct size and type of screw driver that will fit the screw that holds it in place.
Step 3: If the faucet has an o-ring washer, check it for damage or corrosion. If there are, you need to replace the washer by removing it with the use of a flat head screw driver and getting a replacement. Insert the new washer and replace the faucet handle.
Step 4: Turn on the water shut valve and the faucet. If the leak is fixed, then your task is done If not, proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Remove the handle as you did in step two. When the packing nut is exposed, remove it by turning it counter-clockwise using a wrench. Once it is loose, pull the valve stem and check the washer. In older types, there are usually two washers on each end. If the washer behind the packing nut is worn out, loosen the nut and remove the washer. It can also be that the washer at the other end is worn. Get replacement washers for both and screw the washer at the end back into place and tighten.
Step 6: Check the valve stem for damage such as corrosion and rust. If the condition is not good, you need to purchase a valve stem replacement kit from the nearby local hardware or plumbing supplies store. Take the old valve system with you to get the accurate replacement kit.
Step 7: Get the new valve stem kit. Insert the washers that come with the assembly. Install the new faucet valve stem and ensure that it is properly seated into the hole.
Step 8: Reattach the packing nut and turn it clockwise to tighten it and secure the faucet valve stem. Remember to hold the faucet in one hand as you tighten the valve stem assembly. Be careful not to over tighten it to prevent damaging the thread. Also, don’t forget to lubricate the nut and the washer.
Step 9: Replace the handle and screw it securely.
Step 10: Turn on the water shut valve and the outside faucet to check if the leaking has stopped. If the leak is gone, you can now use the faucet as you would normally do and not worry about costly water bills again.