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At one time or other, we’ve all been assaulted by an errant spray of water from a leaky hose. You go to turn on the faucet and it seems like half the water goes shooting out from around the connection instead of down the hose as it should.
When your garden hose bib starts to leak, it can be annoying and inconvenient. Here's what you need to know about this important part of outdoor home maintenance.
What causes the problem?
There are a few reasons this can happen. One of the most common is simply age. If the hose has been there long enough, the hose bib can wear out. If you live somewhere where winter brings a serious deep freeze, the hose bib can freeze up and then burst. In some cases, you might experience a leak simply because something needs to be tightened.
The problem with a leaky hose bib is the amount of water running around at the base of your home. Over time, this can cause significant damage to your foundation, and that leads to expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Fixing the Leak
You may be able to fix the hose bib yourself, depending on exactly what’s wrong. If you don’t have much experience in plumbing issues, or if you already have plumbers coming to do another job, it’s probably worth it to get a professional in for hose bib repairs. To do the job yourself, follow these steps:
- Tighten the packing. Always start with the simplest fix first. You can try this without having to turn off the water. Simply use a wrench or a pair of pliers to twist the nut that comes right after the handle. If this nut comes loose, it could be causing your problem and a simple tightening could fix it.
- Turn off the water. Whether you do the job yourself or call in a professional, you’ll need to turn off the water. If you don’t know where your home’s main water connection is, now is the time to find it.
- Try replacing the packing nut. If the problem with your hose bib is the packing nut, you may be able to fix it simply by replacing this. Make sure you have a new packing nut or bonnet washer that will fit your faucet. Remove your faucet handle and change out the packing nut. Put the handle back on and make sure everything is tight.
Replace the hose bib.
If the previous fixes do not work, you will probably have to replace the entire hose bib. To do that, you will need:
- Plumber’s tape
- Replacement faucet
Remove the handle and then disconnect the faucet from your home’s water supply using the pliers and wrench. Remove the entire faucet. Apply the plumber’s tape around the threads of the new faucet, wrapping it clockwise around the connection.
Reconnect the new faucet to your water supply pipe. Make sure you turn it until the connection is very tight. Then use pliers to further tighten the faucet connection, making sure the faucet faces down once you are done.
Check for leaks. Once you have done any kind of repair or replacement, you should carefully check for leaks. You can do this by opening the water valve, but do so slowly. That way you won’t have a huge spray of water in your face unexpectedly.
Finishing up: Use the screws that come with your new faucet to secure it to your outside wall. Once the faucet is leak-free and securely fastened, use caulk to seal all around the faucet so there is no space between the faucet and the house.
If these fixes don’t work, or if you are unsure about whether you can do it, be sure to call for professional help. Botching a home project could cause your home more harm and create an even more expensive problem that you'll have to open your wallet for. Don’t let a leaking hose bib destroy your foundation or your peace of mind.