Repair A Leaking Outdoor Tap

Outdoor PLumbing

Outside water spigots are one of the most common sources of water leak around the home. Do you need advice about how to repair a leaking outdoor tap? Sometimes they only leak when the water is turned on. In more extreme cases they leak all the time, sometimes a small drip, other times a serious flow. But all these problems are easy and inexpensive to repair.

If the spigot only leaks when the valve is turned counter clockwise, it may well be just a worn rubber grommet at the base of the valve stem. Like most rubber washers they eventually get compressed or develop small holes.

That’s easy to fix with a cheap, temporary repair job. Remove the nut that fits onto the spigot in which the stem sits. Grab a foot long length of Teflon plumber’s tape and wrap it around the base of the stem behind the nut. Get the tape in as far as you can and wind it over and over itself. Then tighten the nut to compress the tape back against the washer. That will stop many small leaks.

Be sure to check the other side of the pipe to which the spigot attaches, though. It’s possible to plug up one leak, only to cause the water to find another way out. If there is more than one hole, water will now drip inside the house. Not a good situation.

For more extensive leaks, replacing the sillcock (as it’s called) is generally fairly easy. It may require two people, though – one on the outside of the house and another in the crawlspace where the pipe enters the house.

Shut off the main valve to ensure no water will flow when you remove the old spigot and sillcock of the leaking outdoor tap.

The sillcock that supports the spigot is usually a 10-12 inch piece of threaded pipe that winds onto a water supply pipe inside the house. It takes only moderate force to unwind it in some cases. For those that have been on a long time, small amounts of oxidation can cause the sillcock to be stuck on firmly.

For those cases, a good pair of vice grips or a pipe wrench can be used on the inside of the sillcock. The threads are usually grooved in front of a nut that is an integrated part of the pipe leading to the outside spigot. Attach the wrench firmly to the ‘nut’ to ensure there’s no slippage. You don’t want to strip the metal smooth.

Give a good yank while keeping the pipe to which it’s attached still. That can be accomplished by using a good pair of wide-jaw pliers gripped and directed in the opposite direction. It’s important not to twist the pipe the sillcock threads onto, since it can be broken. That would lead to a job requiring welding or replacement of an entire length of pipe.

Sillcocks are usually no more than $10, even the anti-siphon style that prevents trapped frozen water from breaking the pipe. They screw back on easily. Just wind on a length of Teflon plumber’s tape in the right direction first. Make sure the tape is stretched tighter not loosened as you wind on the new sillcock.

We hope you have got some useful information about repairing a leaking outdoor tap from our Home Improvement Experts.

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