A leaky outdoor faucet is easy to overlook. Though, even a slow drip can waste hundreds of gallons of a precious natural resource, and it may substantially increase your water bill if ignored. Fortunately, all you need to repair your leaky outdoor faucet is a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, a washer or two and five minutes.


Water leaks at your outdoor faucet (also called a spigot, sillcock or water bib) occur at the handle or the spout. Before you disassemble the faucet, turn off the water shutoff valve. Check to see if you have an inline water valve, which won’t affect water supply to your home’s plumbing and appliances. If you don’t have an inline valve, turn off the water main valve. It’s typically located in your basement or your home’s crawl space.


After you have turned off the water supply to the outdoor faucet, open the handle to discharge water and air in the line to relieve pressure. Next:

  • Use a slotted or Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw that holds the faucet handle in place.
  • Once you remove the handle, you’ll see a packing nut. Using your adjustable wrench, turn the packing nut counterclockwise until all of the threads are clear of the tube casing.
  • Slide out the valve assembly. It may require a firm tug if there is sediment buildup or if it’s a frost-free faucet with a long rod assembly.
  • The valve assembly will probably have two washers — one behind the packing nut and one at the base of the valve assembly.
  • Even though only one of the washers may be the cause of your leaky outdoor faucet, it’s better and more sensible to replace both with new washers.
  • Remove the screws that hold the washers in place. If you don’t have the correct size washers on hand, take the washers to your local hardware or plumbing store to find an exact match.
  • Once you have new washers tightened down, reinsert the valve stem assembly into the tube casing.
  • Tighten down the packing nut by turning it clockwise with your adjustable wrench.
  • Put the handle into place and tighten the screw.
  • Turn on the water inline valve or water main valve.
  • Turn on your outdoor faucet and turn it off again to make sure the leak is repaired.


One of the reasons outdoor faucets develop water leaks is due to damage caused by winter weather. So, next fall season, be sure to turn off your inline water valve and open the faucet handle to release water and air pressure. This helps prevent water in the line from freezing and damaging your outdoor faucet and pipes.

If you have any questions about repairing your outdoor faucet, saving water or questions about plumbing and appliance concerns in general, contact the professionals at MN Plumbing & Home Services today for the answers!