Leaking outdoor faucets is never a good thing, especially in the winters. The leaking can cause pipes to crack and cause plumbing problems indoors. Outdoor faucets, also known as hose bibs, have a compression-style system that controls water through a stem with a washer at the end.

The hose bib handle is connected to the stem and can be opened and closed by lifting and lowering the stem. So before the leaky pipes cause you problems you should repair them. Learn how you can fix a hose bib in this article.

How to fix a hose bib

Fixing a hose bib usually involves the replacement of the packing string or the compression washer. They usually cause problems, and replacing them will most likely solve the problem.

1) Close the water supply

Before you start, close the water supply. Either turning can do this off the hose bib’s shutoff valve or by turning off the entire water supply of your house.

2) Take out the handle

Then with a screwdriver, you need to remove the screws that attach the handle to the stem. Once the screws are out, take out the handle and keep it aside.

3) Tighten the packing screw

Before you proceed further, try tightening the packing nut. Make sure you do not over-tighten the nut and damage it. Next, turn the water on; if the leaking of water stops, you do not need to replace anything. But if your hose bib continues to cause dripping, then you need to follow the steps below as well.

4) Loosen and take out the packing screw

Next, you need to unscrew the packing screw or known as bonnet nut, with pliers or wrench.

5) Remove valve system

With the help of a wrench or pliers, separate the valve system from the faucet’s body. This can be done by unscrewing screws on the stem to remove it or turning the stem clockwise.

6) Replace washer

Now comes the solution part. Examine the washer placed at the end of the stem. If it shows deformation, cracks, or the rubber has hardened, this washer is the problem with the leaky hose bib. Remove the screws around the washer. Take the old washer to the plumbing store to purchase the correct size of the washer. Then attach the new washer to the stem with screws.

7) Replace packing string

Remove the old packing string from around the stem and replace it with a new and stronger packing string. Wrap and wind many loops of string in a clockwise direction.

8) Resemble

Reassemble the hose bib by first putting back the valve stem in the faucet’s body. Then screw the packing bonnet nut on the faucet. Tighten the nut properly without damaging the nut. If you over-tighten it, then it may be difficult to move the handle. Next, put the handle back on the stem and see whether the handle is turning easily or not.

9) Restore water supply and test hose bib

Finally, turn on the water supply by opening the valves. Examine for any leaks. Turn on the handle to test the faucet.


Leaking hose bibs or other plumbing problems can be easily dealt with if you know the cause. And the best way to keep plumbing issues at bay is to get plumbing maintenance regularly to protect your house and maintain your plumbing.