How To Fix An Outdoor Faucet That Won’t Shut Off

Outdoor faucets simplify various outdoor chores, from watering your garden to washing your car. Instead of carting buckets of water from inside or trying to hook up a hose to an indoor faucet, simply use the outdoor spigot. 

Quick Answer:

To fix an outdoor faucet that won’t shut off, start by turning off your home’s main water supply. Next, remove the faucet handle using a screwdriver, exposing the stem. The problem is often a worn-out washer or damaged stem. If the washer has deteriorated, replace it. If the stem is damaged, you may need a new faucet. Once repaired or replaced, reassemble the faucet, turn the water supply back on, and test the faucet. It’s advisable to call a plumber if you’re unsure about the process.

However, as handy as they are, outdoor faucets are bound to run into issues at some point. Eventually, they might not even turn off all the way, leaving the tap trickling a steady stream of water.

So, how do you fix it? Stick around to find out!

Why Does My Faucet Keep Running After I Turn It Off?

When your outdoor faucet doesn’t stop running, even after you turn it off, there are a few potential culprits. Most of the time, the issue lies with worn-out parts, and usually, it’s either a worn washer or an anti-siphon valve. 

Either way, you may end up with a faucet that won’t shut off. This is problematic for several reasons. First, your water bill will be through the roof due to excessive water waste. Second, the water has to go somewhere. So, you might end up with a soaked backyard or even water damage on the items around the faucet. 

How Do I Stop My Outdoor Faucet From Running?

Outdoor Faucet

Luckily, fixing an outdoor faucet that won’t stop running isn’t hard. It shouldn’t take too long and only requires a few tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Penetrating oil (as needed)
  • Pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Replacement parts
  • Plumber’s grease (as needed)

Turn Off The Water Supply

Before you start, shut off the water supply to the faucet. So, locate the shut-off valve and turn it clockwise to close it. Continue turning until it doesn’t turn any further, but don’t force it. If you’re unsure where the valve is, check the basement, garage, near the water meter, and on the ceiling of the inside wall closet closest to the faucet in question. 

After the water supply to the faucet is off, drain the water from the tap. Simply open the faucet all the way and allow the excess water to drain. 

Shut Off Valve

Tighten The Faucet-Pipe Connection

The problem is as simple as a loose faucet-pipe connection in some scenarios. So, before you start disassembling the faucet, check the connection. This is probably the issue if the water leaks from behind the faucet, where it connects to the water pipe. 

If the faucet is screwed to the pipe, all you’ll need to do is tighten it. However, if it’s soldered, you will need to remove the faucet and reattach it. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pliers
  • Propane torch
  • Flux
  • Lead-free solder

Start by opening the faucet, then heating the joint with a propane torch while holding the faucet with a pair of pliers. 

Keep continuous outward pressure on the faucet. The solder will melt once the joint gets hot enough, allowing the tap to slide off. Check the pipe for pinholes or damage, then spread flux on the pipe and the inside of the faucet port. 

Connect the two, then heat the joint until the flux spits and smokes. Next, remove the heat and touch the end of a coil of lead-free solder to the joint. Move it around the pipe, allowing it to melt and attach to the joint by capillary action. After it cools, the joint should be watertight and good to go. 

If the leaking comes from the faucet spout itself, continue to the next steps. 

Remove The Packing Nut

After the water supply is off and the lines are drained, your next step is to remove the packing nut. Position an adjustable wrench around the packing nut. Clamp the faucet connection that runs to your home with another adjustable wrench. This helps prevent the faucet from twisting or moving while you work. 

Turn the wrench around the packing nut counterclockwise to loosen the valve assembly. Once the nut is loose enough, finish removing it with your hands. Remove the faucet handle fastener by turning counterclockwise, then wiggle the handle and pull it straight up off the assembly. 

Unscrew the packing nut all the way, then slide it up the stem to remove it altogether. 

If the packing nut or valve assembly is stiff or corroded, use penetrating oil to loosen things up. Apply the penetrating oil to the stubborn areas, then give it a few minutes. After the oil soaks in, try to remove the part with the wrench. 

Take Off The Valve Stem

Examine the packing nut. If everything looks okay, the problem likely lies elsewhere. So, you’ll need to remove the valve stem. Use pliers to hold the pipe in place, then remove the washer from the valve stem using a flathead screwdriver. 

Inspect the O-ring and washer for damage or wear. 

Check The Anti-Siphon Valve

In some cases, the anti-siphon valve may be the problem. This valve prevents water from siphoning out of the faucet. Or in simpler terms, it protects your home’s drinking water by keeping water from going back through the hose and into the water pipes. 

The anti-siphon valve sits in the faucet spout. If everything else in the assembly looks normal, this might be the issue. So, unscrew the valve from the faucet spout and check it for damage or wear. If there is damage, replace the valve with the correct part. 

Replace Damaged Parts

As you move through the steps, take note of the damaged or worn parts. Replace them with the correct replacement parts. You may need to replace the packing nut, washer, O-ring, etc. Before you install a replacement O-ring or washer, make sure to apply a liberal coating of plumber’s grease on the part. 

Reassemble The Faucet

Prier P-164D12 Quarter-Turn Frost Free Anti-Siphon Outdoor Hydrant, 12-Inch

Once you replace any broken, worn, or corroded parts in the faucet, your last step is to reassemble and reattach the faucet. Start by reinserting the valve assembly. Tighten the assembly as much as you can using the adjustable wrench. 

Next, double-check that the faucet is closed. Turn the water back on wherever you turned it off, then open the tap and check your handiwork. Ensure water flows properly and the faucet closes completely without drips or leaks. 

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