If you see your outside faucet leaking, you may wonder how much it’s been costing you.

The thing about outside faucets is that most people don’t use them every day. By the time you notice water dripping from yours, it may have been leaking for several weeks – maybe even a month or more!

Needless to say, a leak that’s gone on that long is all but guaranteed to show up in your monthly water bill. When you see your outside water faucet leaking, it’s time to spring into action. Let’s take a look at why they leak and what you can do about it.

You might have a worn out washer

This is a common reason for a leaky outdoor spigot. Over time, the washers and O-rings inside the faucet wear out. When they wear out enough, they don’t block water the way they’re supposed to.

One of these washers lives next to the valve inside your faucet. Given enough time and use, it will deteriorate and stop performing as intended.

Another potential failure point is the O-ring between the spigot handle and the rest of the faucet. When it wears out, your faucet will leak.

These are common sources of leaks with outside faucets and are easily addressed by replacing the affected washer or O-ring. If you’re not comfortable turning off your water supply and disassembling the faucet to identify and replace these components, an experienced plumber can help.

Is your outside faucet leaking from the handle? Tighten the packing nut

Sometimes, all you have to do is get a wrench or set of pliers and tighten something that’s loose.

That’s usually the remedy when you’ve got a leaking faucet outside and the packing nut is loose. The packing nut is located just behind the spigot handle. You might be able to wiggle it to assess whether it’s loose, but sometimes these components will be too loose to perform properly while still not being loose to the touch.

In any case, grab some pliers and tighten the nut. Did the leak stop? If so, congratulations! You solved your problem without having to disassemble the faucet to replace washers or other components.

When simple repairs don’t fix the leaking outside faucet…

In some cases, a deeper mechanical failure might be the reason you notice your outside water faucet leaking. If you tighten the packing nut and replace the washers only to find that there’s still water leaking from the faucet, you may have to replace the faucet.

While outside faucets are built to withstand years of damage from the elements, they don’t last forever. Over time, rust or other types of corrosion take their toll. Irreplaceable interior components will fail, causing leaks that can’t be repaired.

Outside faucets are also super vulnerable. They’re subject to damage from landscapers, contractors, or just your kids horsing around in the yard. Sometimes, a faucet just gets damaged beyond repair and you’ve got to get a new one.

Check your water pressure

High water pressure can damage plumbing fixtures, including your outside faucets or spigots. A water pressure gauge can tell you whether your water pressure is too high.

If you check with a gauge, note that 45 to 80 PSI is the normal range for residential water pressure. Anything over 80 PSI could damage the spigot, not to mention components throughout your plumbing system.

The solution is to have a plumber install a pressure regulating valve, or PRV. Homes built in the last 20 years should have these already, but older homes may not.

Is your outside faucet leaking and you can’t figure out how to fix it?

We get it. Fixing plumbing problems is frustrating and difficult. If you live in the Atlanta area and need some help with your leaky outdoor faucet, PV can help!

Our experienced plumbers have fixed this problem dozens, if not hundreds, of times. We can identify the specific cause of the leaky faucet, determine the best solution, and deliver the best possible long-term fix.

If you live in Metro Atlanta and need help with your leaky faucet, just give us a call at (404) 994-2229 or fill out the form below!

Meet the Author
Jason Peavey
Jason Peavey


Jason Peavey is a co-founder and co-owner of PV Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing in Atlanta, Georgia.
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