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Help! My Outdoor Tap is Leaking When Turned Off

Learn how to fix an outdoor faucet or spigot that drips and leaks when shut off. Discover common causes like worn washers and valves and learn how to service outdoor taps easily and prevent costly water waste and damage.

Faucet Leaking

It’s frustrating when you shut off your outdoor faucet completely, but it still leaks and drips. A leaky outdoor spigot that won’t shut off all the way is annoying and can lead to wasted water, damage from freezing, and higher utility bills. The good news is that fixing a leaking outdoor tap is usually an easy and inexpensive DIY project.

This guide will cover the common causes of outdoor faucets leaking when turned off. You’ll learn how to service and maintain outdoor taps by replacing worn washers, valves, and O-rings.

We’ll provide step-by-step instructions for repairing compression and ball valve faucets and tightening loose spigot handles. Bring your leaky outdoor spigot under control with these practical troubleshooting tips.

Save yourself the cost of professional repair fees, easily stop drips, and restore full water shut-off to your exterior faucets.

Signs Your Outdoor Faucet is Leaking

The most obvious sign your outdoor spigot is leaking is water dripping from the faucet even when the handle is completely closed. You may notice the area around the tap stays constantly wet.

Leaks are often worse when the faucet is under pressure, so you may see more dripping when the hose is attached, or the water main is turned on. Pools of water where none should be, visible moisture on pipes, increased utility bills, and soggy soil around the foundation can also indicate an outdoor faucet leak.

Repair Leaky Outdoor Faucet

If the faucet drips inside when closed, the internal seals and valves likely need to be replaced and repaired. Catch these warning signs early to prevent unnecessary water loss and damage.

Common Causes of Leaky Outdoor Taps

Several issues can cause outdoor faucets to leak from the spout when closed off. Common causes include:

Worn Washers

The rubber washers inside the faucet deteriorate over time, allowing water to seep through. Old cracked washers need replacement.

Damaged Valve Seats

Valve seats within the faucet body can become corroded, cracked or warped, preventing a watertight seal. This allows water to bypass the valve when shut off.

Tap Washer Replacement

Broken O-Rings

O-rings provide seals between faucet components. Stretched, dried out, or cracked O-rings should be replaced to prevent drips.

Loose Handles

If the faucet handle becomes loose, it may not fully compress the washer or valve when turned off, resulting in drips. Tightening the handle packing nut can help.

How to Fix a Leaking Compression Faucet

Compression faucets are common outdoor tap styles that can often be repaired using basic tools. Fixing a leaky compression faucet involves:

Shut Off the Water Supply

Locate the shut-off valve for the faucet and turn it clockwise to stop the water flow. This allows safe removal and repair of the faucet.

Disassemble the Faucet

Use a faucet wrench to loosen and remove the handle, packing nut, stem and washers. Inspect all parts for wear, corrosion and damage.

Outdoor Faucet Leak

Replace Washers and O-rings

Insert new rubber washers in the proper sequence and order. Grease and replace any worn-out O-rings too. Use replacement kits designed for compression faucets.

Reassemble and Test

Reattach all faucet components in reverse order. Turn the water back on and check for leaks. Tighten any drips before reinstalling the handle.

Repairing a Leaky Ball Valve Outdoor Faucet

Ball valve outdoor faucets can often be fixed by replacing internal seals and springs. Start by turning off the water supply and opening the faucet to drain any remaining water.

Use a faucet wrench to detach the handle and remove the dome cap covering the ball valve. Carefully extract the ball and inspect it for cracks or pitting. Replace the two rubber valve seat seals, coil springs, and any damaged O-rings.

Copper Tap Leak

Lubricate the new seals with the plumber’s grease before reinserting the ball and spring. Put the faucet components back together in reverse order.

Slowly turn the water back on and test for leaks. Tighten the handle and cap if any water continues dripping out. Replacing worn seals restores a watertight seal to the ball valve unit, stopping water from leaking through.

Preventing Future Leaks

To help prevent your outdoor taps from leaking again in the future, there are a few maintenance steps you can take. Insulate exposed pipes and backflow preventers to protect from freezing temperatures that can damage faucet components.

Replace washers and O-rings periodically before they wear out completely. Use plumber’s tape on valve threads during repairs to improve seals. Check for drips and loose handles regularly and make repairs as soon as leaks start.

Tap Leaking

Drain and shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets before extended vacations or trips. Proper insulation, disconnecting hoses, routine maintenance, and prompt leak repairs will help maximise the lifespan of your outdoor spigots and plumbing.

When to Call a Plumber for Outdoor Faucet Repairs

While many leaky outdoor faucet issues can be addressed with DIY repairs, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional plumber. If you have galvanised steel pipes that are heavily corroded, replacement of the entire faucet and pipes may be necessary, requiring soldering skills.

Replace Outdoor Water Faucet

A licensed plumber will have the expertise to repair problems caused by very old, outdated or complex faucet designs. If the main shut-off valve doesn’t fully stop the water flow, you’ll want to replace it before attempting faucet repairs.

Leaks originating from pipes in the wall also require plumber access. Additionally, suppose you are uncomfortable working with plumbing, especially hooking up to main water lines. In that case, having an experienced plumber complete the outdoor faucet fixes safely may ease your mind.

Stop Annoying Drips

Repairing a leaky outdoor faucet is usually a straightforward DIY job. However, if your dripping outdoor tap has you stumped, feel free to call in a professional.

The licensed plumbers at Fixed Today have the skills to accurately diagnose any outdoor faucet leak and make all necessary repairs. We’ll determine if the issue is due to worn washers, damaged valves, frozen pipes, or more serious problems.

Our team can expertly fix or replace old, complex, or corroded outdoor taps that are beyond typical DIY abilities. Don’t tolerate the annoyance and wasted water from a leaky outdoor spigot. Contact Fixed Today to schedule affordable faucet repairs and finally stop those bothersome drips for good!

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