Perhaps you’ve noticed it takes more force to turn your outdoor spigot completely off after using your garden hose, and even then, water continues to dribble from the faucet. Or maybe the tap won’t turn off at all and is now spewing water despite the handle being situated in the closed position. Either way, there’s a problem that requires fixing.
If left unchecked, you might create an impromptu slip and slide in your backyard, which isn’t particularly ideal. However, before you call a plumber, read through this guide – the problem might be easier to fix than you think.
How Do I Know What Valve I Have?
Most outdoor faucet valves feature an identifying feature stamped somewhere on the metal body. The location of the stamped identifying mark may vary based on the particular brand, but it’s usually located on the metal body.
In the case of the American Valve M72AS, you can identify it by looking for the stamp on the metal portion of the faucet. This model features an identifying “A” in one of three places:
- Stamped alone on the side of the body
- Stamped alongside the UPC logo
- Stamped alongside ASSE-1019 Logo
These identifiers will tell you what type of valve you have. If you’re unsure what brand the valve is, look up the stamped number or letter online.
Troubleshooting Tips For An Outdoor Faucet That Won’t Turn Off
A leaking outdoor faucet can cause your water bill to spike if left alone, even if it’s just a small stream of water. Since a high water bill probably isn’t the way you want to spend your extra paycheck, it’s best to fix the problem sooner rather than later.
Luckily, many of these problems are pretty straightforward and won’t require the assistance of a licensed plumber. Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with plumbing problems and uncomfortable handling them yourself, you can always have a plumber handle the situation.
However, keep in mind that a plumber might not be able to get to your home immediately to address the issue, so the leak could go on for a few days. As long as the temperatures outside are above freezing, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, if the temperatures dip below freezing at night, you might unintentionally create an ice rink underneath the spigot.
Identify The Leak
First, you need to identify where the leak is coming from. Check for the leak’s origins before turning off the water, as you should have a better indicator of where the water is spewing from. There are a couple of places it could be originating with this particular valve.
One of the most common areas for a leak is underneath the plastic cap, where the vacuum breaker sits. If water is spraying out from underneath the plastic cap, the vacuum breaker isn’t sealing like it should and requires a replacement.
You can confirm your theory by removing the cap cover and checking the water flow underneath. If water flows for a brief instant with a slight delay before stopping, the breaker is operating normally. However, if the float doesn’t seal when the water is on, you’ll need to replace it.
Alternatively, the water could be coming through the vent hole, behind the handle, or through the outlet (even though it’s off). There’s a vent hole behind the handle on the underside of the faucet. Cover the hole with your finger to check for water flow from there.
Water spewing from behind the handle or the outlet is pretty easy to identify, so you won’t have to do any guesswork if the water is coming from either of these places. If water is coming from the vent hole, behind the handle, or through the outlet, the valve’s internal parts are likely failing.
It could be a worn washer that cracked or became brittle, a broken spring, or the entire assembly. Generally, it’s best to replace the complete valve assembly with the M73X-Repair Kit, as it can be tricky to identify the exact faulty part.
Turn Off The Water
After you pinpoint where the leak is coming from, turn off the water supply to the faucet. In some cases, you might be able to turn off the water to that particular faucet. However, it might not have a shut-off valve, so you might need to turn off the water throughout your home.
Before you shut off the water, it doesn’t hurt to warn your roommates or family members of the incoming water shortage. Once you’ve given the warning, go ahead and turn off the water to your home. This will stop the flow of water from the valve outside, making removing and replacing the proper parts easier.
Replace Necessary Parts
With the water off, you can start replacing the correct parts. If you determine the vacuum breaker is the problem, you’ll need to replace this part. This particular part comes in the M73X-Kit, so purchase the appropriate repair kit and replace the vacuum breaker.
To access the vacuum breaker, simply remove the cap cover and unthread the vacuum breaker. Replace it with a new vacuum breaker and reinstall the cap cover. Turn the water on and check for normal function.
If the leak is coming from a different portion of the valve, you’ll probably need to replace the entire valve assembly. To do this, you need to figure out the valve size you need. If the valve is installed, start by ensuring the water is off. Next, remove the handle and body nut from behind the handle. Unscrew the valve stem and gently pull it from the sillcock housing.
After removing the stem, measure the entire length, as this will tell you what size you need to buy for the replacement kit. The table below outlines the new stem size you’ll need based on your measurements:
|Measurement (Entire Valve Stem)||Replacement Stem Size|
|7 ¼ inches||4 inches|
|9 ¼ inches||6 inches|
|11 ¼ inches||8 inches|
|13 ¼ inches||10 inches|
|15 ¼ inches||12 inches|
|17 ¼ inches||14 inches|
If the valve isn’t installed, you’ll measure the assembly differently than the stem alone. Measure from the back wall plate (disc behind the metal body of the faucet) to the hex on the inlet end. The size you measure represents the new stem size you’ll need. So, if you measure a 4-inch valve, you’ll need a 4” replacement stem.
Once you purchase the replacement assembly, follow the instructions in the package for installation.
How Do You Fix An Outside Faucet That Keeps Turning?
Over time, your outdoor faucet handle might become stripped, causing the handle to spin freely. It won’t engage or disengage water flow, so turning the water on or off is nearly impossible. Most of the time, this happens due to wear and tear on the valve stem or broach.
The teeth that hold the handle in place (broach) can wear down and rust after years of use, allowing the handle to spin freely or fall off the valve. You might need to purchase a replacement handle if this is the case. However, if the valve stem is stripped, you’ll need to replace the entire valve stem assembly using the repair kit mentioned above.