Typically, an outside water spigot would go for years without service, but eventually, it would see water starting to continually drip from its handle or its spout, giving you no choice but to repair it. While you might think that this task requires the service of a professional, it is actually easier than you think, given that the faucet is not too corroded to disassemble. Basically, a water spigot has a compression valve that tightens the washer onto its valve seat when the handle is turned, and leaks would occur when this washer or the packing around the handle is worn out. To replace these components, you need to remove its packing nut.
But before you perform some repairs, you can first do some simple troubleshooting of the leak, which usually occurs in the handle or the spout. For the former, you can try tightening its packing nut with a wrench. For the latter, you will have to remove the valve stem assembly to fix the problem. Now, if you are experiencing a leaking outside water spigot that cannot be solved with simple troubleshooting methods, you can follow these general guidelines:
1. Secure the things that you will need that would include a wrench, adjustable pliers, spray lubricant, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, a new seat washer and a packing washer or string.
2. Turn off the water supply to the spigot, which you can do by either turning off an inline valve controlling the water line or turning off the main water supply to your house.
3. Using a wrench, unscrew the packing nut under the spigot’s handle, and if it would not turn, spray it with lubricant to try again in a few minutes. If it is nut frozen by corrosion, hold the spigot steady with adjustable pliers to bear down on the problem.
4. After removing the packing nut, pull the valve out of the spigot’s housing, and then turn the valve over and unscrew the washer found on the end using a Phillips screwdriver. Using a flat-head screwdriver, pry it out and then replace it with a new one.
5. Use your Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the handle from the valve and then pull the packing nut off if the spigot is leaking from the handle. Depending on the type you have, replace the packing washer or packing string, which you will have to string around the packing threads.
6. Push the valve back into the housing and screw on the packing nut, tightening it with a wrench. Replace the handle, tighten the screw and then turn the water back on.
More Tips and Warnings
If your outside spigot has an anti-siphon valve screwed on to its spout, and water is leaking from the valve, then you have to unscrew it with the adjustable pliers and replace it. If the problem is only a small amount of water dripping from the handle, you might be able to fix it by tightening the packing nut. Make sure the water is turned off before unscrewing the packing nut, or you will have an unintended shower.