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How to Fix a Dripping Outdoor Faucet

Patinaed brass outdoor faucet, dripping

As much as it would be nice, outdoor faucets are made a little tougher than their indoor counterparts. However, even that tough construction does not make them perfect. There will be times when those outdoor faucets will need maintenance.

Fixing them is not that difficult as long as you have some general handyman skills. Usually, all it takes are the right tools, parts, and time. Once that work is done you can use your outdoor faucet like normal again.

Take a few minutes to read the following information. It will help you fix your outdoor faucet quickly.

Reasons Why Your Outdoor Faucet Needs Fixing

Some of these issues will be the source for a dripping faucet, not all of them will but it is good to know about them so you can find the problem quickly.

1.Worn-Out Washer

Black O-ring washer on a white background

This is usually the main cause of a dripping faucet no matter if it is indoors or outside.

2. Loose Handle

Red spigot handle on an out door faucet with wood siding in the background.

The Handle Is Loose or the spigot if you prefer the technical terms. This can be a good source for a dripping faucet.

3. Loose or Cracked Joint

Outdoor faucet leaking at one of the joints

Sometimes the couplings work themselves loose due to any number of reasons. Or they just got old and do not hold together very well.

How to Fix an Outdoor Faucet

The repair work that needs to be done is dictated by the source of the problem. You will use some of the same tools and supplies in different fixes but not always.

Step 1 – Identify the Problem

Hand held out and under a dripping outdoor faucet

This will tell you what tools and supplies are needed. Sometimes all you will need will be a washer and a pair of pliers to fix a dripping faucet. If the faucet is dripping out of the spigot, you may only need a screwdriver to tighten the screw.

Or you may need to replace the spigot in which case you would need a spare part.

Step 2 – Gather Your Supplies

Variety of plumbing supplies spread out on a white background

You usually need the replacement part for the one that is broken or has gotten too old to work anymore. Then you may need a screwdriver, vise grip, or adjustable wrench. Sometimes you need a hammer and if threads are involved, you will need Teflon tape.

Step 3 – Dripping Faucet

An outdoor faucet with a red shut off valve dripping

There are different scenarios for a dripping faucet. One is the washer has worn out. In this situation, all you need to do is take a pair of pliers and take off the lower portion of the faucet, remove the old washer and replace it with a new one.

Another scenario is when the faucet has rusted and does not hold together too well. In this case, you would need to shut off the water supply at the street valve to work on the repair.

Once the water is off, spray a little penetrating fluid over the connection and wait a few minutes. Let the fluid do its work and then take your adjustable wrench or a monkey wrench and loosen the faucet. Take it the rest of the way by hand.

Then replace the old faucet, put Teflon tape over the threads, and screw it in by hand till it is hand tight. Then use the adjustable wrench to tighten it the rest of the way.

A third situation will be when the handle of the faucet gets loose or worn out. In the former case, you just need a screwdriver to tighten the handle down and you are done. In the latter case, you would need to shut the water supply off again and then remove the handle.

Replace the hold handle with a new one, making sure it is tight when you are done.

Step 4 – Old or Rusted Fittings

Old, rusted, outdoor faucet

This will happen a lot since the outdoors is rough on any metal surface. In this situation, you should spray the fittings with penetrating fluid and wait a few minutes. Do both sides of the fitting.

Then remove the fitting in order. Start with the outside connection first so the fitting remains in place and you won’t have to take it to a vise to hold the pipe in place while you loosen the other side.

Once the fitting is off, simply reverse your work and put the new fitting back on. Do not forget the Teflon tape on the threads. And you are done.

Some Final Words

When you work with pipes and faucets, the repairs are straight forward and only take minimal skills to fix. Anyone can do it if they are strong enough to break the seal on the fittings.

The key is to make sure you have the right tools and parts for the job. Also, if you are re-using old fittings or faucets, you can remove them and clean off any rust you see with a wire brush. That will delay the repairs to other parts for a bit.

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