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How to fix an outside leaky faucet?

July 19, 2019

Local Chicago Plumbers

Why does my Sillcock Leak?

Most households have a sillcock. These are the outside faucets or spigots where garden horses are connected.  Most times sillcocks leak but if not checked, you can find yourself with huge water bills and in some cases damage to your house where the leak happens.  There are many reasons why your spigot could be leaking; however, you don’t need to panic. It is possible to fix your sillcock and have it working just as new again.

Identify and know how to fix outside leaky faucet

Leaks can be coming from different parts of your sillcock.  Depending on where the leak is coming from, there are various ways to fix the leaks.

Handle stem leaks

Your spigot has a cord wrapped at the bottom of the handle stem. If you notice a leak around the threads around the handle stem near the mounting nut that could be the origin of the leak. To repair it:

  • Turn off the water to the spigot
  • Remove the handle of the sillcock by unscrewing the screw that keeps the handle in place. 
  • Around the faucet, there is a packing nut, unscrew it too
  • Replace the old packing cord with a new one.
  • Once done, reassemble the faucet and attach the handle back.

Anti-syphon fitting leak

Have asked yourself, “why is my water spigot not working?” well, the answer could be because of a leak at the anti-siphon part of a valve. If this component gets spoilt, your spigot may not operate as it should be. To repair it, you may be required to replace the part with a new anti-siphon kit that is specific to your sillcock. You can buy them from a hardware store near you or order them online.

Worn-out Cartridge

One of the most common reasons why your sillcock could be leaking is due to a work-out cartridge or stem washer. To identify if this is the problem with your water hydrant, notice if when you try closing the handle, water refuses to stop flowing completely. Depending on your type of spigot, you may be required to replace the worn-out cartridge. To do this:

  • Always turn off the water before any repair
  • Unscrew the handle screw to remove the handle
  • Next, unscrew the mounting nut for the spigot
  • Examine the washer and the rings found at the end of the sillcock stem and replace.
  • Reassemble the water hydrant and turn on the water to see if the leak is gone.

Valve body leak

This kind of leak is often hidden. To identify this type of leak, notice the pressure of the water. Has the pressure reduced and you can’t determine why? Chances are there is a leak in the valve body. However, before doing anything, check all the other water points in your house if the pressure is normal.

If other water points have normal pressure, then it is safe to assume only the spigot water pressure is affected. This means that it is possible you have a hidden leak in the body of the faucet. There are many reasons to this with the common cause being water that may have frozen in the valve body.

Fixing this leak is very crucial. You may never know exactly where the leak is happening, but chances are it may be inside a wall or under the house. To repair this, you will need to replace the sillcock entirely.

How does a sillcock work?

Extreme weather patterns can affect how your sillcock works. During the summer, your spigot may get a lot of work out, but once temperatures drop, the faucet can cause pipes to freeze which later can lead to damaged valve body that will cause a leak. To avoid your pipes from bursting due to varying temperatures, you should install a frost-free hose bib, also known as spigot or faucet outside your house.

With a frost-free faucet, anytime you turn off the water, it stops behind the valve which set inside the house. This means, there will be no water in the outside pipes that would freeze when temperatures drop to cause a burst.

Final thoughts

Various reasons will cause your sillcock to leak. It is essential to understand how your sillcock works to be able to identify any leaks and repair them on time. Always seek the services of a qualified plumber near you to avoid further damage.


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