Repairing a Leaky Hose Bib

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One of the many tasks you may have to tackle from time to time is a leak. Leaks can occur in many places both on the inside and outside of your home. An example of a pesky outdoor leak is a dripping hose bib, which is not only a source of wasted water but can also contribute to erosion around your home.

In addition to being an annoyance, leaks can slowly run up your water bill which is yet another reason to go about the business of fixing them quickly. Even if the drip seems infrequent, it can still become costly as well as making your yard into a muddy mess which is not only unsightly but also slippery, not to mention expensive to repair depending on the severity. Leaks that are ignored will only worsen over time, making bigger problems where there were once small ones.


In order to fix a leaking outdoor faucet, the first thing you should check is the packing nut behind the handle. This nut could be loose and a simple tightening may fix it. To find out, you will need to take a wrench of a pair of pliers and give it a quarter turn before reassessing the situation. Once you've made this adjustment, turn the water on for a few seconds then turn it back off again and watch for a drip. If there is no drip, the leak was due to a packing nut issue. Should the leak persist, however, then you, too, must persist.


The next step in the leak repair process is to turn off your water at the source. This will require locating the main valve at the street on which you live and turning it to the off position. Once the water is off, you can return to the leaking hose bib and begin addressing it. Begin this process by turning the packing nut you just tightened, this time loosening it instead with a set of pliers then pulling it free. A glance inside may reveal a worn washer, which could easily be part of the leak problem. Since you've come this far, it is a good idea to go ahead and replace the washer even if it doesn't look to be in bad shape. Simply unscrew it and replace it with a new washer of the same size and width. Making sure the packing nut is again tightened when you reassemble your components.


With your new washer in place, return to the main water valve and turn the water on again. You can then test the faucet by turning it on and off again and watching for a drip once the air clears from the line. Chances are good that you will no longer have a problem and your hose bib can be counted on to leak no more. While this is a fairly easy and straightforward repair, the reasons for the leak to occur are something you should always keep in mind should it happen again in that area or at another outdoor faucet location. The better maintained and leak-free your outdoor hose bibs are, the more money you will save in the long run and the better condition in which your yard will be with no muddy mess marring its otherwise beautiful appearance.

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