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How to Repair a Leaky Spigot

how to repair an outdoor spigot leaky spigot

The summer is a wonderful time to get outside and soak up the sun. It's the time to clean off that backyard grille, water your garden, layout that slip and slide or sprinkler, or give your vehicle a comprehensive hand wash. Your outside faucet, also known as a spigot, is a necessity for many of these outdoor activities, not to mention the most common use for watering your lawn and garden.

In a time where you need a working spigot, it’s important to know how to repair it in case it stops working. Here is a list of some common problems associated with your spigot, and some tips to fix them:

Faucet: A leak is one of the most common problems with an outdoor faucet. A leaky faucet is not only costly but can cause water damage to the areas of your home that surround the faucet.

Although a leaky spigot can be a common issue, the cause for your spigot’s leak can be a little harder to identify. Your spigot could have a damaged or cracked pipe, eroded washers, unfastened fasteners, or mineral or rust build up. The first step in in fixing a leaky spigot will be to take apart the spigot in order to identify the specific problem.

To do this, you will first need to shut off the water supply. The shut off valve should be located in your home’s basement or crawlspace. Next, you will need to drain all of the excess water trapped in your spigot’s pipe by turning the spigot on. Once the spigot is drained of water, you are ready to take apart your faucet and identify the culprit of your leaky pipe. Unscrew the faucets handle to reveal the packing nut. Next, unscrew the packing nut which will pull the main valve out of its faucet housing. You are now ready to assess all of the nuts and bolts of your faucet, literally.

Fastener: One of the main culprits of a leaky pipe is a defective or worn-down fastener. This component of the spigot connects the faucet to the water valve allowing water to flow through the faucet when turned on. The fastener can either be broken or defective, in either case you will need to purchase a new one. However, the fastener could just be loose, and in that case, a simple tightening of the nut should get it to stay. When trying to find the cause of a leak, the fastener should be the component you check first.

Rust: While you already have your spigot disassembled, this is a perfect time to check for rust or any type of build up. Rust can be a major component in damaging the parts of your spigot, so if you spot any be sure to clean it up. To clean up rust, you can go out and buy a rust removing product available at any home improvement store. However, these products can be costly and harmful to the environment. For a home remedy for rust removal simply soak an aluminum brush in vinegar and then scrub the rust right off your spigot.

Vinegar can be quite effective at removing any initial rust stains from your spigot. For any long term prevention of rust buildup, to keep rust from coming back, try this simple home remedy. Rub mineral oil or petroleum jelly over the inside and outside of the metal hose ends to protect the metal from rust, ensuring that you work it into the thread grooves for maximum protection. Apply the oil or petroleum jelly frequently, such as each time you put away your garden hose. The petroleum jelly will act as a barrier to the iron content inherent in the water, allowing the spigot to remain rust free for longer periods of time.

Broken Handle: The cause for a leaky spigot could quite simply be a cracked or broken handle. To safely replace a broken spigot handle, remember to first turn off the spigot's water supply. Most spigot handles are secured by a screw. Remove the old handle and install new handle according to manufacturer instruction. Turn the water back on slowly and give the new handle a test. If your spigot handle is more complicated than that, take a picture and check with your local hardware store, or call a professional handyman or a plumber.

Mounting a Hose Reel: Once you have a working spigot with no leaks, and everything is assembled clean and dry you are ready to start thinking about your hose reel. A hose reel near your spigot can keep your hose organized and easily accessible. If you want to install a wall mount hose reel, the type of siding you have is very important for selecting your new hose reel. Different tools and materials will be needed for Installing the hose reel on brick and concrete, vs.vinyl or wood siding or other type of exterior wall surfaces. A mounting plate may also be necessary for a more secure mount and better reel weight distribution. Some hose reels, such as the spring loaded retractable type, will need tension setting adjustments to work properly.

Still need help? That’s okay! Trust Andy on Call to take care of all your spigot and hose needs this summer so you can dust off that slip and slide and get sliding!

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