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How do I Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet?

Q: How do I Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet?

A: First, try tightening the handle. If the faucet leaks from the handle, tighten the packing nut just beneath it with a wrench. If the leak is coming from the spout, then turn off the water supply at the shutoff valve, which is normally located in the crawlspace in the basement. Any faucets upstream of the home’s shutoff valve will require you to close off the main water supply to the property, which is usually located in the ground near the street. This often requires a T-shaped water-meter key, which you can buy at your local hardware store. After closing the water supply, open the faucet handle and drain the water from the faucet. Remove the handle by removing the screw that holds it in place. Behind the handle, use a wrench to undo the packing nut. Slide off the valve-stem assembly and look for the rubber washer. Leaks are often caused by a worn-out washer at the base of the valve stem. Note: Older valve-stem assemblies may have two washers; one behind the packing nut and one at the base of the assembly. Remove the retaining screw that holds the washer in place, then take the washer to your local home-improvement or hardware store to ensure that you purchase the correct replacement. Put the new washer back inside the packing nut and screw it in place. Slide the valve stem assembly back into the faucet, and screw it clockwise with a wrench, but don’t overtighten or you might damage the new washer. Tighten the packing nut and handle, then test to make sure the leak is fixed.

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