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Each winter, the freezing and expanding of water can cause damage to your faucet. Whether or not you notice, they may start to leak in the subsequent summer. Leaking outdoor faucets can cause your pipes to freeze and crack, creating plumbing issues inside your home as well. 
If you discover that one of your hose bibs is leaking, you may be able to repair it yourself. Here are step-by-step instructions for diagnosing and correcting the source of your leak.  
Start by tightening the packing nut. Use pliers or a wrench, and tighten the packing nut next to the faucet's handle. Take care not to tighten the packing nut so much that the handle is hard to turn or you damage the fixture. Turn the water on and off, and if the dripping stops, nothing else needs to be done.
If the hose spigot continues leaking even after you've tightened the packing nut, you may need to replace the packing washer.
  • Turn off the water supply. Before replacing the packing washer, turn off the water supply. Next, drain the faucet. Be sure to do this before taking the handle assembly apart.
  • Remove the handle assembly. Use pliers or a wrench to turn the packing nut counterclockwise until you can remove the handle assembly.
  • Remove the packing screw inside the handle assembly. With the packing screw removed, use a standard (or slotted) screwdriver to pry the packing washer out. It’s a good idea to take the old washer to the hardware or plumbing supply store to make sure you purchase a replacement washer of the proper size.
  • Replace the packing washer and screw. Insert the new washer and screw it in place.
  • Reassemble the faucet handle and tighten the packing nut. Again, take care not to overtighten and possibly damage the packing nut. 
  • Restore the water supply. Turn on the water supply and turn the faucet on and off a couple of times to test your repair.
If you suspect water and faucet problems in and around your home, have us inspect and suggest ways to fix and deal with your water problems.


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Keith Langlois


Registered Home Inspector
Licensed Electrician