Fixing a Leaking Hose Bibb Faucet

Hose faucet leaks are usually a pretty low priority. After all, a little water dripping outside isn’t going to do any harm. Wrong. That drip can increase your water bill significantly and drips usually only get worse over time. Thankfully, many hose bibb faucet leaks are easy to fix.

What is a hose bibb faucet?

A hose bibb faucet is an older style hose faucet that does not have freeze protection or anti-siphon protection. A sure way to identify if you have a hose bibb faucet is to look at how the handle is orientated. If it is on angle slightly on top of the faucet it’s a bibb faucet. If it is directly in front of the faucet positioned vertically it’s a freeze-proof faucet (which we discuss here).

Two Types of Hose Bibb Faucet Leaks

The first is when water drips out just behind the handle when the water is turned on. And it’s the easiest to fix. Just tighten the packing nut behind the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn. If the packing nut won’t budge, don’t force it. That means it’s probably time to replace the hose bibb.
The second is your basic dripping faucet. In this case the stop washer inside usually can be replaced. Here’s how:

  1. Turn the water off to that hose faucet.
  2. Open hose faucet all the way, remove the handle and unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle.
  3. Grasp the faucet stem with a pliers and pull the stem out of the hose bibb.
  4. Remove the screw on the bottom of the valve stem that holds the faucet washer.
  5. Replace the washer with one of the same size and thickness.
  6. Push the stem back into the hose bibb and rotate closed.
  7. Tighten the packing nut on the hose bibb until snug and re-install the handle.
  8. Turn the water to that faucet back on.
  9. Check the hose bibb for proper operation.

A word of caution. Many times we find older hose bibb faucets aren’t really secured to the house very well. If this is the case it can be dangerous to turn them with a wrench because the pipe in the wall may twist or break. In this case it’s important to either hold back on the faucet body when you’re working on it or call a plumber for assistance. And if those repairs don’t do the trick it may be time to replace the hose bibb.

Don’t let a hose bibb leak ruin your summer fun by costing you money on your water bill. Fixing a leaking hose bibb faucet can be quick and easy.