How-To Videos

How to Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet Hose Bibb

By: Allen Lyle

Repairing a dripping outdoor spigot is often at the bottom of a homeowner’s to-do list, since the leak is outside the house. But left unchecked, it doesn’t take long for even a small leak from a hose bibb to waste hundreds of gallons of water.

Another common problem on outside spigots is leaking around the valve stem when the water is turned on. The good news is that both of these problems can often be easily fixed simply by tighten the packing nut behind the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn.

If the faucet still leaks after tightening the packing nut, the washer on the end of the valve stem needs to be replaced. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Turn the water off at the water meter using a cut-off key.
  2. Unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle of the faucet.
  3. Grasp the faucet handle, and pull the valve stem out of the hose bibb.
  4. Remove the screw on the valve stem holding the faucet washer.
  5. Replace the washer with one of the same size and thickness.
  6. Push the valve stem back into the hose bibb housing.
  7. Tighten the packing nut on the hose bibb until snug.
  8. Use the cut-off key to turn the water back on at the meter.
  9. Turn the spigot back on to remove any air from the line.
  10. Check for leaks around the packing nut on the valve stem.
  11. Turn the faucet off and check the spigot for leaks.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Now, here’s a pretty common problem, I see it a lot. It’s a leaky outdoor spigot or water bibb, and if you’ve got one of these, I can tell you three things without even looking at it.

First of all, left unchecked, it’s going to waste hundreds of gallons of water, even with a slow drip like this. Number two, it’s what I consider one of the most doable do-it-yourself projects that you can tackle. And number three, in most cases all it’s going to take is about 30 seconds of your time and a pair of adjustable pliers, cause all you need to do is tighten the packing nut that’s right behind the handle. About a quarter to an eighth turn is all it takes.

Now unfortunately, I’ve already tried that with this one, so I’m going to have to look at a couple of other items. But again, it’s pretty simple, and it starts with turning off the water supply.

Now looking at this one, I can tell that we have a really worn washer, so we’re going to unscrew the washer from the handle. This one’s a little stubborn to get out, so I’m going to have to use a little extra effort with a utility knife to pull this washer out of the way. Once we do, its time to find a replacement, and I always like to keep a pack of washers on hand of all varieties, so I can find what I need.

Once we’ve got the washer back in place, we reassemble the hose bibb, turn the faucet off, go back and turn you water supply back on. Then come back to the hose bibb, open it up release any air, let some water flow, turn it off, and there you go. We’ve fixed our leak.


Comments

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16 Comments on “How to Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet Hose Bibb”

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  • John P Says:
    November 12th, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Leaking outside faucet:
    Unscrewed packing nut but can’t remove stem; any advice?



  • Anne-Marie Says:
    September 22nd, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Oh, great! We’re halfway through this easy-to-do project and can’t get the stupid thing off and the spigot handle is crumbling on us. Lovely. Talk about being screwed.



  • Jim Says:
    August 1st, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Please do segment that shows how to replace packing around the stem. This is often the problem when tightening the bib doesn’t stop leaking around the stem when the valve is being turned on.



  • Maurice Jeffries Says:
    July 21st, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Tightened the nut behind the handle and no more leaking around the stem when water is turned on. Used to bug the heck out of me at all the leaking water that was being wasted when I used any of my outdoor faucets. Thanks for the tips!!



  • Elizabeth Says:
    July 5th, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    When I turn on my outdoor faucet to water my garden, water sprays out of the handle in the middle where the screw is. Itspray clear across the sidewalk into the neighbors yard! Please explain the repair in layman terms so I can understand! Would sure appreciate your help! Thanks in advance!



  • Brett Says:
    July 4th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    No help at all for older faucets. As others have stated, the valve stem does not slide right out as it does in the video. Looks like a plumber will make some money off this problem.



  • Ann Says:
    June 11th, 2017 at 7:27 am

    There is no leaking but when you turn handle it doesn’t stop so we can’t turn off our on. Any suggestions?



  • Paul Says:
    June 2nd, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Outside faucet: when I turn my faucet on, water comes out as usual, but I see a leak coming from the bottom of the house siding that drips about a foot out on each side of the faucet, dripping off the bottom edge of the siding. What could be the problem here? When I shut the faucet off the leaking from the bottom edge of the siding stops leaking and there is no leaking out of the faucet at all. Could it be washer problems or crack inside the Bibb that stops when I turn faucet off?



  • Nix Says:
    May 30th, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    The first solution worked for me. Simply tightening the nut behind the handle. It has been dripping for a couple months and was adding an additional $25-30 to my water bill per month. Big thanks



  • Chuck Says:
    May 27th, 2017 at 6:44 am

    The top of the faucet that drains the water when turned off
    Does not close when turned on. I have no access to the
    Inside of the 10 inch part of the faucet. I fear if I try removing the faucet without gripping the pipe inside the house may cause big problems Can I fix this thing without tearing
    My house apart?



  • Bill Malloy Says:
    May 21st, 2017 at 10:43 am

    replaced washer, still drips. now what ?



  • Will Jones Says:
    July 3rd, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Valve leaks at threaded connection downstream of the valve body, and it squeaks also. Tried unscrewing attachment between hose and valve body, but it seems to get tighter no matter which way it is turned. How to proceed?



  • Doug King Says:
    June 29th, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    In Aurora CO? against the ordinances to turn water off at the meter. You must turn off in the house or call the water dept.



  • John M Says:
    May 8th, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Hank(above) have the same problem-the stem does not unscrew or slip out…what’s next?



  • Hank G. Says:
    August 30th, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I removed the packing nut, but the stem will not come out. What next?



  • David Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Good presentation…. clear and to the point.


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How to Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet Hose Bibb