Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On? Here Is How You Fix It!

Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On

Technically known as hose bibb, an outdoor faucet or water spigot present outside your house is connected for watering the lawn or garden. A common issue that you or the gardener is likely to face is a leaky spigot. If the outdoor faucet leaks when turned on, it can be quite annoying although it can be a trivial issue.


You simply watch drops of water, forming gradually or quickly, on the ground. This results in loss of money with water wastage as well as moisture accumulation next to your house. So, if left unresolved, even a gently-leaking faucet outside can critically damage your garden apart from the foundation of your house.


This leakage can result in damage to your home’s exterior as well as the basement. Regardless of whether the leak is slow or the spouting stream seems to be like a mini fountain, it is essential to resolve it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.


Luckily, it is easy to fix a leaking outdoor faucet, as you only need some simple tools as well as patience. You only need an adjustable wrench and a Phillips-head screwdriver. If you are a DIY person who loves to overcome challenges in or out of your house, this post will guide you to fix a leaking faucet out of your home.

Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On

So, What Causes Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On?

If there is a standard spigot, a valve regulates the supply of water. It can be a gate, globe, or ball valve, which you can close or open via a screw-down mechanism.

Turning the handle kindles the mechanism to close or open the valve. The valve and the outdoor faucet both are vulnerable to wear and tear in the internal mechanism or part to which they can leak over time.


Wear and tear of the part surrounding the handle and of plastic or rubber washer are the common reasons. Although an outdoor faucet is designed to last for years with trivial or no maintenance, it has no control over the wear and tear of the handle and washer. You can either fix or replace them.


There are more reasons why outdoor faucet leaks when turned on. They are related to pipes. Another reason can be frozen or damaged pipes. If the water in a pipe converts into ice, especially in winter, it can cause the pipe to crack by expansion. Leakage can also be due to a damaged pipe whose signs could be an odd odor or no water from the faucet.


Even a jammed pipe can result in leakage. Mineral residues and debris can block the pipe, resulting in water accumulation, and consequently, in an abrupt water flow. The stuck water starts to leak even if the spigot is turned off.


Knowing or finding the cause is the first step to avoid wasting water and money on expensive damage repairs induced by leaks.

Identifying the Issue of outdoor faucet leaks only when turned on

Has your water bill increased suddenly or unexpectedly? If yes, it can indicate an outdoor leaking problem. Next, on the water meter, look for the leak indicator whose active movement indicates leakage occurring somewhere. Just do not wait for some more time to find the source of the leak, or else, you will end up with a swimming pool on your lawn.

Can You Fix the Leaking Outdoor Faucet?

You are now sure that your outdoor spigot is leaking. That said; your action plan would be to call a plumber. However, before doing so, there is a DIY task for you to perform.

You can find out whether it needs a simple repair such as replacing a part. If not, you may have to change the fixture. For this, you need to look for noticeable signs of damage to the pipe, stem, or handle. Here are the simple actions that you can take to see if you can fix the problem without calling a plumber:

  • Handle Leakage: If water is dripping from the handle, consider tightening the nut and washer. You can even replace the washer(s), which is an easy task.
  • Pipe Leakage: If the dripping is from the joint to the pipe that supplies the water, consider disassembling the faucet, checking threads for damage, and cleaning them, and covering them using Teflon tape.
  • Spout Leakage: If water is dripping from the spout, the cause could be damage to the internal mechanism. In this case, you can easily as well as affordably replace the faucet. With a plumber, you are likely to end up paying more money for replacing an outdoor faucet. So, consider doing this by yourself.

Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On

Fixing the Issue of Outdoor Faucet Leaks When Turned On

If an outdoor faucet is leaking from around the handle or valve stem once you turn on the water supply, a loose packing nut is likely to be the cause. You can easily resolve this by:

  1. Finding the packing nut that is behind or below the faucet’s handle,
  2. Holding an adjustable wrench or pliers in your hand, which can fit around the packing nut, and
  3. Tightening the nut slightly of about an eighth to a quarter of a complete spin in a clockwise direction. This ensures proper sealing to prevent leakage.


If this does not fix the issue, you should consider replacing the washer existing at the end of the stem. Following are the steps for the same:

  1. Shut off the water supply from the water meter with its cut-off key by slowly moving the valve clockwise to about 180 degrees.
  2. Open the faucet by moving its handle anti-clockwise.
  3. Unscrew the nut present behind the handle using an adjustable wrench.
  4. Remove the stem while holding the handle.
  5. Remove the valve’s screw while holding the washer.
  6. Place the new washer of the identical size although it will be thicker than the old one.
  7. Screw it well.
  8. Reinsert the stem into the assembly.
  9. Add the nut back and tighten it well using an adjustable wrench.
  10. Move the faucet handle in the clockwise direction to turn it off.
  11. Turn on the water using the cut-off key at the meter.
  12. Turn on the faucet to release air from the pipe and let it be in this mode for some seconds.
  13. Look for leaks near the nut on the stem.
  14. Turn it off and see if there is any leakage. You may see some drips for a couple of seconds once you turn off the water supply. This is fine, as the remaining water in the faucet is coming out.


Fixing the Issue of Outside Faucet Leaking When Hose Attached

If the spigot is leaking when attached to a hose, the cause is likely to be the pressurized water flowing via the washer. In this case, hook up the hose, turn on the faucet, and tighten the nut until the leakage is stopped.


Once the nut is tightened, it is squeezed against all the surfaces, giving a tight seal. If the issue persists, consider replacing the rubber washer.


Fixing the Issue of Outside Faucet Leaking by Replacing the Faucet

If none of the aforementioned solutions work, it is time to replace the spigot to avoid further damage and frustration. For this, you will need the following supplies and tools:

  • Two pipe wrenches
  • Brush with firm bristles for removing the debris
  • Oil as a lubricant for loosening the threads
  • Teflon or plumber’s tape for sealing the threads
  • New faucet
  • Cloth to wipe your pipe after cleaning


It is wise to remove the old faucet and show it to the hardware shopkeeper to get the most compatible new spigot. You should look for the threads that are inside in the case of a female version and on the outside in the case of a male version. Do also check the thread size, which is typically 1/2- or 3/4-inch. The new spigot should have the same size.

Following are the steps to replace a leaking outdoor water spigot:

  1. Find the main water shut-off valve, which is close to the water meter that can be inside your home if living in a cold region. There may be one or two valves. A ball valve is regulated by a lever, while a globe or gate one is controlled by a wheel handle.
  2. Turn off the water supply by moving this main valve clockwise. Those with levers typically move only 90 degrees. The wheel handles turn to be seated.
  3. Remove the remaining water by opening the spigot, as some water will be left in the pipe.
  4. Close the spigot once all water is drained.
  5. Detach the spigot by twisting it counterclockwise while tightly holding the pipe and the spigot. If it does not turn, lubricate in and around the joint and try after some minutes.
  6. Clean the corrosion by applying the brush over the threads.
  7. Seal them with the Teflon tape.
  8. Fix the new spigot using the screw and tightening with the wrench.
  9. Check for leaks at the spout, stem, or joint.


If the issue persists, it is not time to call a plumber.

A Short Video:


If the outdoor faucet leaks when turned on, you should take an instant action to fix the issue. You can choose to fix it on your own or call a plumber.

If you enjoy reading this article, be sure to read on why is there a burst of black water coming out from faucet.