Your outdoor faucet might be dripping because it’s not installed correctly. Or there could be a leaky connection. But the most likely culprit is a faulty washer. Without them, the faucet is bound to leak.
A washer is a tiny o-ring that seals the hole and prevents water from escaping. Depending on its size, a washer can either seal the hole and keep water inside the fittings or prevent water from leaking out of the connection.
It is also possible that cold weather has broken your faucet.
Whatever the case is, you need to check your outdoor faucet as it can leak inside the wall, leading to mold or other damage. Here’s how:
Check Your Faucet
There are generally 2 types of outside faucets:
-Faucets that are mounted on the wall. These are often easy to remove as you just need a screwdriver and a prying tool.
-Faucets with a connected pipe that is directly mounted on another pipe. These might be harder to remove as you have to turn the faucet and pipe to get it out. These are harder to install as you don’t see the connection. For this reason, some plumbers don’t install them as they find it hard to see if it was installed properly. You can test this by closing all the faucets and stopping using water in the home. Then you check the water meter. You write down the number and wait 15 minutes. If the water meter didn’t change, you probably don’t have a leak. The problem is that the leak might appear later on. You always have to be careful with leaks and doing the test that we discussed every quarter is a great idea. You can also add water leak sensors to make sure that nothing is dripping. The problem is that it can be difficult to detect a leak and it can cause a lot of damage when you don’t see it on time.
Know the Basics of Outdoor Faucet Repair
If your outdoor faucet still seems to be leaking, there are a few things you can try first.
- Check if the faucet is completely closed. It is possible that some dirt accumulates inside the faucet. You can try to clean this. You can also add some WD40 to make it turn again. Plumbers will generally just replace a faucet if there is a problem but you can take it off and open it up to check if it can be fixed. Some faucets have cartridges that can be replaced.
- If that didn’t work, we have to go to the next step. Remove the faucet using two wrenches and check if the fittings (connections between the pipes) is OK. Sometimes there is a washer or other rubber ring that is leaking. You have to remove a screw to get access to this. Washers are cheap and you just add them and add the screw again. Then you install the faucet stem again. Don’t overtighten it as this can break the faucet.
- Try a different faucet: If none of these work, you can buy a new faucet. Make sure that it works on the diameter of the pipe that you have. It should also fit within the hole that you already have. If this is not the case, you might have to drill into your wall. Make sure to use tape when you install the fitting. This ensures that there is a tight connection. You can also add some spray foam to close the hole between the faucet and the wall. This makes sure that rodents don’t enter the wall this way. Furthermore, it keeps moisture outside. A lot of people don’t do this step and it can lead to problems.
Most people might opt to install a new faucet. Once you have to replace part of it, there can be other damage as well. This can lead to more work as you have to remove the faucet again when the other issues appear. This is why most plumbers prefer to just install a new faucet and be done with it.
You can also just screw on a small-cap and be done with it. It is a temporary solution but an easy fix.
Winterize the outdoor faucet:
Most damage to outdoor faucets happens after the winter. The cold temperatures make the water in the pipes and faucet expand and this can lead to problems. You can drain the pipe before the winter to avoid these issues. This is done by closing the valve near the pipe (if there is one) and opening the faucet. This removes all the water from the water pipe to the outdoor faucet.
Remove the faucet hose before the winter. This will make sure that no water freezes inside it and breaks your pipes. You can get a frost-free faucet or get a special cover to winterize the faucet. If the faucet and pipe freeze, it can lead to a lot of damage as the pipe inside your walls can tear and leak a lot of water.
Fix a Leaky Supply Line
A leaking outdoor faucet could also be a sign of a leaky supply line. This can lead to a lot of damage. You should check the area where the line runs with a moisture meter and infrared camera to see if the leak is inside the wall. To fix this, you need to turn off the water to the house and turn on a tap in the house.
We have further outlined how to repair a water supply pipe HERE.
To conclude, we can state that fixing an outdoor faucet is generally quite easy if you have the right tools. It can take some work to get it done but generally, you can get it done in under 1 hour. Use the proper tools such as tape and spray foam to get a good connection. This makes sure that the outdoor faucet can last a long time. You can also consider winterizing everything so that you don’t have problems if the water in the pipes freezes. This can lead to a lot of damage and it is something that homeowners should take into consideration.