How to change a washer in an outside faucet

Written by claudia henning
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How to change a washer in an outside faucet
(Image courtesy of Photobucket photo pool.)

Outside faucets can leak and go unnoticed until a larger than normal water bill shows up. The solution is usually as quick as replacing the washer. A couple of tools and a few minutes of your time are all it takes for this water saving project.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Replacement washer

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  1. 1

    Turn off the water and open the faucet full blast to eliminate pressure in the water line. Use a screwdriver to remove the faucet handle and set it aside.

  2. 2

    Use an adjustable wrench to remove the faucet nut, which is sitting directly behind the location of the handle. Turn the nut in a counter-clockwise motion to loosen and remove.

  3. 3

    Pull the washer that sits behind the faucet nut and discard. Remove any dirt or grit that is noticeable in the internal area of the faucet. Replace the washer, even if it looks good. Small worn areas can be hard to see.

  4. 4

    Re-attach the nut and tighten in a clockwise motion with the adjustable wrench. Use a screwdriver to replace the handle and turn the water back on. Run water from the outside faucet for two or three minutes to build pressure back up. Shut off the faucet and check for leaks.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep spare washers on hand for these simple repairs.
  • Replace the washer, even if it is just dripping. The washer degrades quickly once it starts leaking.
  • Empty pressure out of the water lines before working on the faucet. Pressure could send a part flying towards your head and possibly damage your eyes.

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