How-To Videos

How to Stop an Outdoor Faucet from Dripping

By: Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford tightening the packing nut on an outdoor faucet to stop leak.

Danny Lipford tightening the packing nut on an outdoor faucet to stop leak.

Outdoor faucets, also known as hose bibbs, often begin to drip or leak around the handle over time. To stop an outdoor faucet or hose bibb from dripping, use pliers or an adjustable wrench to slightly tighten the packing nut below the handle of the faucet in a clockwise direction.

If that doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to replace the rubber washer.

To replace an outdoor faucet washer:

  1. Turn the water off to the faucet.
  2. Unscrew the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise.
  3. Pull the handle and stem out of the faucet housing.
  4. Remove the screw on the end of the stem that holds the rubber washer.
  5. Replace the rubber washer on the stem with one of the same size.
  6. Tighten the screw holding the washer back up.
  7. Insert the stem into the faucet housing.
  8. Tighten the packing nut on the faucet housing.
  9. Turn the water back on, and test the faucet for drips or leaks.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Janet asks, “How can I stop my outside water faucet from leaking?”

If you have an outside faucet that just won’t stop dripping, well, it’s great drip irrigation for any trees or plants you may have around your house; but you’ll end up spending a lot of money on your water bill. Lot of times it’s very easy to fix by simply taking a pair of pliers and tightening that packing nut directly behind the handle.

Many times, that’s all you need. But, if not, you’ll need to cut the water off at the street to turn all water off to the house. Then back that same nut off and remove the handle and the stem.

You’ll find a washer right on the end of that that’s probably compressed or damaged in some way. You simply remove the screw, take the washer off, and replace it.

And when you buy that washer maybe pick up a couple extra ones. They’re very inexpensive and you’ll have a few spares if this kind of thing happens again. Then 99% of the time, you’ll be good.


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14 Comments on “How to Stop an Outdoor Faucet from Dripping”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 24th, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Hi, Itell!
    We recommend submitting questions involving unique situations like yours to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
    Please use this form to contact Danny Lipford, America’s Home Expert, directly:

    In the meantime, we’re opening this question to the community.
    Any ideas, y’all?

    Take care!

  • Itell Ulater Says:
    June 22nd, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I have an ABS, brand hosebibb with a 4″ stem. The stem is all one piece. I have removed/replaced the HB washwer at the end but it is damaged each time I install the new one due to having to tighten so hard to slow the drip. It appears there is another shut off area inside the wall & housing that may be damaged due to the damage caused by the new washer each time. I think I need to tear out the wall & just replace the entire assembly but that requires a lot of additional repairs. Any thoughts or shortcuts to solve this situation?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 28th, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks for watching! And regarding the screw: sometimes, you have to improvise. 🙂

  • Tom Scott Says:
    May 10th, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Ahh if life were so easy. Nice instructions, but most older faucets have a double nut design (with a very stubborn lower nut), and this video does not apply. Also, if you’re going to film a ‘how to’ video, you should probably use a phillips driver to remove/install a phillips head screw. Just a suggestion 🙂

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    February 9th, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Hi, Damsel in Distress,

    We are so happy to hear that you enjoy “Today’s Homeowner!”
    If you haven’t already, please…

    *Follow us on Facebook:
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    And we always appreciate when our fans tell their friends about the practical home improvement advice they receive from “Today’s Homeowner.”

    Thanks so much for watching — take care!

  • Damsel in Distress Says:
    February 8th, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    I want to thank you VERY MUCH for putting this video out there . It has really saved my sanity, wallet and house . It is -8 out and I was able to fix the outside spicket . You are a “house” saver!!! Thank you again!!!

  • joy Says:
    November 15th, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    I turned off the shut-off valve inside house that goes to oneoutside hose bib but Water still keeps trickling out from hose bib unless I shut faucet off. Should I still let it trickle out. Help Thanks.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 27th, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Hi, John,

    Each home is different, so without knowing the details about yours, we recommend visiting your local The Home Depot, explaining your home’s specifications and unique needs, and asking for tailored advice.

    Good luck with your project!

  • John J. George Says:
    June 8th, 2018 at 11:10 am

    What is the best outside faucet that I can buy?

  • Allison Hettle Says:
    August 22nd, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for the info on stopping the leaking water from the outside faucet. It was wasting too much water and we are supposed to conserve on water here in California. I really appreciated the video Danny provided because it clarified the written instructions. I realize now I can do it for the landlady instead of having her hire someone to come out and fix it at a high cost.

  • David Trevino Says:
    July 11th, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I did as instructed and magic! Fixes the front and rear faucet leaks. The front had been leaking for months and the rest faucet had been leaking primarily from the spigot which has now been remedied by either the new washer/gasket or the tightening of the nut. Either way, can’t complain. I spent $4 at Home Depot instead of calling a plumber to have both faucets looked at. Excellent work!

  • Subs Says:
    June 13th, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    This will not work if you have frost free faucet. Any way to fix without replacing?

  • robert Says:
    May 7th, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I have changed out the washer and the leak persists. what is the next step?

  • John Mraz Says:
    December 18th, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I have a leaky outdoor garden faucet. I can best describe it as a 2-part sysem (part 1 is an inside single lever & part 2 is outside and is a straight handle, “not round” and a screw is at the center.

    I have tighened the screw on the outside handle and the screw on the inside lever. (I have repaired faucets but do not see anything that looks like a “stem” that I can remove to replace washers — if there are any.

    Nothing I have searched on line looks like this set up.

    I the leak is a constant slow drip and I know I am wasting money — — APPRECIATE YOUR ADVISE ON WHAT THIS IS AND HOW TO REPAIR IT.

    Thank you very much

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How to Stop an Outdoor Faucet from Dripping