Reasons Your Outside Spigots May Leak

Valve for an outside spigot is leaking - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

Rising water bills are a cause for concern to any Indianapolis homeowner. With outside spigots leaking, water wastes away all day, which drives up your water bills. Unfortunately, a problem with outside spigots leaking is that they are out of sight and out of mind – the spigot has likely leaked for quite some time before you even notice.

Resolve outside spigots leaking to conserve water, protect these plumbing fixtures, and ultimately save money. Our Indianapolis plumbers are here to assist you. We get to work to fix outside spigots leaking, replace worn components, or replace the entire fixture if necessary.

About Outside Spigots Leaking

There are spigots located on the exterior of your home that allow you to attach a garden hose or other attachment to your home’s water source. Outdoor spigots are also called hose bibbs. Just like the taps inside your home, from time to time you may find outside spigots leaking.

Even outside spigots leaking slowly are a cause for concern. Slow drips are responsible for hundreds of gallons of water waste each year.

  • A home with two outside spigots leaking at a slow rate of 20 drips per minute tally up to 57,600 drips of water wasted per day.
  • 57,600 drips of water per day equals 5 gallons of water wasted every day through outside spigots leaking.
  • Over the course of a single year in this home, outside spigots leaking result in 1,851 gallons of water wasted.

With rising utility costs throughout Indianapolis, including water utility prices, this significant water wastage has the potential to cost you quite a bit of money over the course of a year. In most cases, a call to a plumber to repair outside spigots leaking is the cheaper option.

Damage Caused by Outside Spigots Leaking

Obviously, water waste from outside spigots leaking is a big deal. But unfortunately, this isn’t the only problem outside spigots leaking are able to cause. Unchecked outside spigots leaking lead to serious issues such as:

  • Foundation damage
  • Water backup into your home
  • Mold and mildew growth

Causes of Outside Spigots Leaking

Outside spigots leaking are typically caused by a malfunction, that arises over time or is due to damage of some sort. Causes of outside spigots leaking include:

  • Loose packing nut
  • Worn-out washers in the spigot assemblies
  • Frost damage

Outside spigots leaking may not be caused by problems with the spigots themselves, but with the pipes that supply them. These pipes need to be shut off and drained of water prior to the winter to prevent frozen water within and the damage that results. If water has frozen in the supply pipes of an outdoor spigot, the first time you turn it on in the spring, water may drip from the exterior wall surrounding the spigot. It could also be dripping within your home.

DIY Fix for Outside Spigots Leaking

Before you call our Indianapolis plumbers for outside spigots leaking, there are some do it yourself steps to take that often fix the problem. Often, outside spigots leaking are caused by a packing nut that is loose. Adjust this component yourself to see if the leak is resolved.

  1. Locate the packing nut on your outside spigot – it is located just behind the handle.
  2. Use a pair of pliers that are adjustable and fit them around the packing nut.
  3. Give the packing nut a tightening of about an eighth to a quarter of a full turn to tighten.

If this DIY troubleshooting step does not resolve the leak, repairs are more complicated. Experienced DIYers may feel comfortable performing these fixes but if you don’t, give us a call to repair your outside spigots leaking.

The washer inside of outside spigots leaking is likely worn out, which prevents it from stopping water drips. The washer needs to be replaced.

  1. Turn off water to the home.
  2. Unscrew the packing nut found behind the handle of outside spigots leaking.
  3. Remove the valve stem.
  4. Remove the screw holding the worn-out washer into place.
  5. Replace with a new washer – make sure you have the right thickness and diameter for your spigot.
  6. Replace the screw that holds the washer.
  7. Reinsert the valve stem into the faucet assembly.
  8. Retighten the packing nut until it is snug.
  9. Turn the water main back on and check that outside spigots leaking are no more.

Make sure you reassemble the spigot in the correct order or else new problems beyond outside spigots leaking are bound to arise.

Outside Spigots Leaking with Frost-Proof Faucets

A number of Indianapolis homeowners choose to install frost-proof outdoor faucets. While typical outdoor spigots are prone to freezing and should be shut off and drained during the winter to prevent damage, frost-proof faucets are able to run despite low temperatures.

Frost-proof outdoor spigots have a long stem unlike standard spigots. This keeps water shut off closer to the home’s interior where it is warm. Water drains out of the spigot so it does not freeze in the line where it causes damage. Even so, garden hoses must be disconnected for a frost-proof spigot to be protected.

Frost-proof spigots also have a component called an anti-siphon device. These are required in newer model frost-proof spigots. The anti-siphon device protects your home’s potable water system from possible contamination.

Outdoor Water Leaks Beyond Outside Spigots Leaking

Outside spigots leaking are a common cause of outdoor water leaks, but they are not the only cause you need to be worried about.

Water pipes run through your yard up to your home to transport water in from a municipal source or well. Common locations for outdoor leaks in these lines include at fittings and near the shutoff valve.

Some homes are also outfitted with buried irrigation systems for landscaping, which are susceptible to underground leaks. Irrigation system leaks are typically found in the piping between the irrigation valve box and the backflow prevention device, or a leak may stem from a malfunction in a valve located within the irrigation valve box.

Leaks in these pipes often go undetected for quite some time and also cause serious water wastage. Often, a higher than normal water bill is the first indication a homeowner receives that there is an unseen leak.

Causes of damage to underground outdoor pipes that result in leaks may include:

  • Old piping
  • Defective piping
  • Improper piping installation
  • Damage from temperature extremes, especially cold temperatures

Hunt for the signs of an underground outdoor water leak through the following steps:

Check Your Water Meter

Turn off your home’s water main to shut off water to the entire house. Take a look at the meter – if it is still moving, there is an outdoor leak in the piping that runs between the valve and the meter. You may also take a reading of your water meter immediately, do not use any water and wait one to two hours, then take a second reading – if there are changes between these two meter readings, there is an outdoor leak.

Check Your Yard

Look around your yard for signs that indicate an underground water leak. These include:

  • Areas that are now wet but typically are not. They may feel soggy or even have pools of surface water.
  • Spots in the yard that are unusually soft, green, mossy, or even moldy. If a water leak is below, the suspect area is typically surrounded by drier conditions.
  • Potholes or sink holes in your yard.
  • Irrigated areas of the yard that have suddenly browned and are dying when they were formerly lush.
  • Cracked or sagging patio, sidewalk, or driveway pavement.

Check Your Home

If there is an outdoor water leak, sometimes signs are present within the home, or with the home itself. Look for the following symptoms that point to an outdoor water leak:

  • Rust or dirt in the water that comes from taps inside the home.
  • An unexpected drop in water pressure or flow volume.
  • Uneven flooring grades.
  • A leaning structure.


Underground water leaks may also result in unusual noises coming from your water pipes.

  • Splashing or babbling water sounds occur as water spray hits against the side walls of a soil cavity below ground.
  • You may hear a clinking noise, which is caused by small stones striking against the water pipes.
  • In piping with water pressure at or greater than 30 PSI, a whooshing or hissing sound occurs as orifice pressure reduces, or the noise can occur due to vibrations in the pipes.

Call a Plumber for Help with Outside Spigots Leaking

If you have outside spigots leaking or suspect another underground outdoor water leak, a plumber is your best bet for a quick resolution with as little water waste and damage done as possible. Mr. Plumber of Indianapolis is an expert in outdoor leak detection. We find the source of the issue and make quick repairs to spare you from damage and outrageous water bills.

For plumbing repair in Indianapolis to fix outside spigots leaking or other outdoor leak issues, call Mr. Plumber today.

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