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How to Fix a Leaky Hose Bib

Apr 6 2023
A closeup of a hose bib

If you find that your outdoor hose bib or spigot is leaking, it’s usually attributed to a loose or worn-out packing washer, worn-out seals, or corroded components. In some cases, an improperly installed house bib may also lead to leaks.

A damaged hose bib can do more than just get in the way of household chores. In fact, it can lead to more serious plumbing issues if not addressed immediately, such as water damage to walls and floors, mould growth, or even structural damage to your home.

Don’t let a broken hose bib interrupt your routine—repair it with these quick DIY tips!

What Is a Hose Bib?

Do you know that small faucet that is attached to the exterior of your home? That’s the hose bib.

A hose bib is essentially an outdoor tap system that allows you to run water outdoors. This tap is typically used for various outdoor purposes, such as watering gardens and lawns, cleaning vehicles, filling up kiddie pools, hosing down a dirty pet, and so much more.

Given that this exterior faucet enables us to do a ton of essential lifestyle tasks, it’s important that we maintain it and protect it from damage.

A hose bib in a backyard

Signs of a Leaky Hose Bib

  • A visible crack in the bib
  • Difficulty attaching the garden hose to the bib
  • Recurring puddles or wet soil around the ground by the hose bib
  • Mould and mildew growth surrounding the hose bib area

8 Steps to Fix a Leaky Hose Bib

Make sure that you are fully equipped to repair that leaky hose bib with these tools:

Step 1: Let’s start by shutting off the water supply of the hose bib. You can usually find the shut-off valve inside your house. In case your hose bib doesn’t come with its own shut-off valve, you can simply turn off the entire property’s water supply for the time being.

Step 2: Next, remove the handle. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw holding the handle of the hose bib to the valve stem. Some slight wiggling may be required to pull the handle off. Once that’s done, set the handle and screw aside.

Step 3: Now we can use an adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers to unscrew the bonnet nut that secures the valve stem to the faucet body.

Step 4: Remove the valve stem from the faucet body. All you have to do is unscrew the stem from the threaded body of the faucet. Depending on the type of screw, you may have to turn it in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Step 5: This next step will prompt you to replace the stem washer. If the rubber or neoprene washer at the end of the valve stem is cracked, deformed, or hardened, this is the cause of the leak. To fix this, unscrew the screw holding the washer in place. This screw is likely made from brass, so be extra careful when removing it.

Install the replacement for the old washer to the end of the valve stem with a screw.

Step 6: We’re almost done! Now, let’s unwrap the old graphite or Teflon packing string from around the valve stem underneath the bonnet nut. Wrap multiple loops of string around it or use a fibre packing washer.

Step 7: You’re one step away from having successfully fixed your leaky hose bib. Let’s proceed with reassembling the faucet. Thread the valve stem back onto the faucet body. Next, thread the packing nut onto the head of the faucet.

Take your wrench and lightly tighten the packing nut and place the faucet handle back onto the stem.

Step 8: Now, it’s finally time to test the faucet! Switch the water supply back on to test the faucet’s functionality. If you notice any leaks around the handle, you may need to tighten the packing nut a little more.

A blue garden hose hanging on a hose bib installed on a brick wall

When All Else Fails, Call the Experts

Whether it’s for a leaky hose bib or any other plumbing matter, you can keep your household safe and your bills low by enlisting the services of the highly-qualified plumbers at 1st Rooter!

We’re open 24/7/365 to serve the Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville areas—because plumbing emergencies don’t wait.

For quotes and more information, give us a call today.

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