How to Stop a Leaking Garden Faucet?
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: January 24th, 2019
If you’ve got green fingers then you would enjoy looking after your garden and watering plants, shrubs and trees from time to time. Speaking of watering, your garden faucet could develop a leak and you would have no choice but to repair it. If you have the right tools then this fix is easy peasy!
Well this is if the tap isn’t too corroded to disassemble. These faucets have a compression valve that tightens a washer onto the valve seat when you turn the handle. Usually, a leak develops when the washer or the packing around the handle wears out. You can replace these worn out components by removing the packing nut.
You need to ensure that you plug this leak before winter approaches. This is because it could cause pipes to freeze and crack and this would create a huge plumbing headache for you and your family. So you might want to take care of the problem before the first freeze arrives. Also, you need to weatherize your outdoor faucets.
Why Do Pipes Break When They Freeze?
Well usually pipes do not break due to ice forming in a water pipe but where the ice blockage occurs. Though water increases in volume when it freezes, ice does not put pressure on your pipes. This can cause damage. But, the main damage is caused by ice blockage that increases the water pressure, down the line.
This is usually an area between the ice and the closed faucet. The increase in water pressure is normally what leads to a pipe failure and this causes the pipe to burst and this happens at the site of freezing.
To understand this, you should know that ice that forms due to a leaky outdoor faucet can cause a pipe to rupture inside the walls of your home. For any home, this could be devastating as you would be without water for days till the repair is complete and it could cost thousands of dollars in water damage.
Weatherize Outdoor Faucets
You should weatherize all outdoor faucets and protect it from downstream breaks in your water pipes. Follow these measures to ensure that your pipes are weatherproof:
- Inspect and check all outdoor faucets for leaks or drips. These need to be repaired before the cold weather arrives. All check the exterior walls and the foundation for cracks or holes near the hose bibs. Seal them to prevent cold air from reaching your pipes.
- Disconnect and drain all hoses that fixed to your water faucets. If you do not remove hoses and other connections from the hose bib, it can trap water and cause the fixture to freeze.
- Drain the tap and close the outdoor supply valve and drain the pipe leading to the tap. By draining all the water from the taps, you will prevent ice from forming inside. This should be done before freezing sets in, locate and close the valve supplying water to the outside faucet and then open the faucet outside and drain the pipe completely. In case these outside taps do not have a dedicated supply then you will have to turn off the main water supply to drain them out.
- Insulate taps and this will ensure that you protect all outdoor taps from extreme temperatures. This is available at all hardware and home improvement stores. You should know that they are inexpensive, easy to install and have a lifespan of several years. In case you live in an area where the climate turns frigid in winter, you should add insulation on the inside of the tap to add extra warmth.
Frost-Proof Outdoor Faucets
There are some homeowners that install frost-proof outdoor faucets and this is important during the fall and winter months. These frost-proof faucets are important and effective but they need to be repaired and restored after a few years of use. You should notice if it leaks even if the valve is turned off. A standard or frost-proof faucet will wear out in time and the internal washer will also deteriorate. It’s quite simple to replace the internal washer but you should reassemble the faucet in the right sequence. These are minor jobs that most people tend to neglect and put off till a later date. If you do not fix this leaky outdoor faucet in time, it can result in serious damage into the foundation of your home.
Leaking RV Faucets
Don’t you love your RV? It’s the perfect vehicle to go places and feel at home even while on the road. But your recreational vehicle can deteriorate over time and this includes indoor and outdoor faucets. Some outdoor faucets are clogged with debris or develop mineral deposits that make the assembly stop functioning properly. In time, there could be a leak and the entire faucet would require replacement. Your outdoor RV faucet is exposed to the elements and this leads to a greater amount of wear and tear. Since the water flows through the faucet is from the reservoirs, it is important to conserve the quality of water. Leaking RV faucets, both indoors and exterior should be resolved with a plumbing specialist. Also, you should determine if you need to weatherize it and get back on the road.
How to Detect a Water Leak
You should locate a leaky water faucet before it cause significant damage to your home. Here are some steps to help you detect a leak:
- Take a look at your system and observe if the outdoor faucet leaks when it is turned off. Then turn the faucet on and place your hands over the opening. If the water flow slows when covered, then you are certain that you have a leak within the system that must be found and resolved.
- Walk around your property and look for areas that seem to have sunken or wet. This could mean that there is an underground leak in your system.
- Turn off the water flow in your system. This includes both indoors and out. Now locate your water meter to visually check and see if the indicator is moving. If it continues to move, then there is a leak somewhere in the system. You can find your water meter at the boundary of the property.
How to Fix a Leaky Garden Faucet?
The minute you find out that your garden faucet is leaking, you will have to repair it as soon as possible. If you decide to repair it yourself then here are step-by-step instructions to diagnose and fix the problem.
Things You Will Need
- Spray lubricant
- Adjustable pliers
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Seat washer
- Packing washer or packing string
- Check and see if the faucet has an anti-siphon valve screwed to the spout and if water is spraying from the value. If this is the problem, simply unscrew it with adjustable pliers and replace it.
- In case you find that the faucet is leaking a small amount of water from the handle then you should be able to fix this problem by tightening the packing nut with a wrench.
- Be sure the water is off before you unscrew the packing nut, or you may take an unintended shower.
Here are steps that you should follow to fix a leaky faucet:
Step 1 – Preparation
Find the outdoor water supply value that is found under the kitchen sink or in the basement. After locating the pipe that runs to your outside faucet, you must turn off the water supply by using the shut off valve. While doing this, you should bring all your supplies in a tray, a jar for nuts, bolts and washers so that you don’t lose them on the lawn.
Step 2 – Disconnect the Faucet Turn Handle
With the help of a screwdriver, you can take off the faucet turn handle. Put the handle and screw on your tray so that you do not lose any important parts.
Step 3 – Disconnect the Faucet
Remove the faucet by holding it firmly and turning it with a wrench. Check the washer that is inside the faucet. If it is damaged or seated incorrectly then there is a chance that it will leak.
Step 4 – Replace the Washer and Test
Remove the old washer with a flat-bladed screwdriver and add a new washer in place. Attach the valve and handle and restore the water supply from insider the house. Check and see if the outdoor faucet works by turning on the water. If the faucet does not leak then you solved the problem. If it still leaks then you need a new washer. After you turn off the water supply and it still leaks then you should investigate the problem.
Step 5 – Check the Faucet Valve Stem
Open the handle and faucet. Use a wrench to reach and turn the packing nut to release it. Lift out the packing nut and pull out the faucet valve from the stem.
Step 6 – Replace the Washer on the Faucet Valve Stem
Look for the washer on the bottom of the valve stem and remove it. Replace the old value with a new one. Check the valve stem for rust or any form of corrosion. Also, hard water build-up could interfere with its effectiveness. In case the faucet valve stem is damaged then you will need to replace it.
Step 7 – Reinstall the Faucet Valve Stem
Use the old or new faucet valve stem and fix it back onto the faucet hole and attach the packing nut by using a wrench. Apply a thick layer of lubricating grease around the packing nut and the washer.
Step 8 – Reinstall the Faucet and Faucet Handle
Reattach the faucet and turn it carefully to avoid bending it. Screw the handle back onto the faucet and restore the water supply to the outdoor faucet and check for leaks. See if the water drips from the faucet while the water is flowing and when it shut off. Usually, if you replace the faucet and the valve stem then the problem is solved.
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