Does Your Outside Faucet, Which is Frost Resistant, Leak?

Do you have a frost resistant outside faucet that leaks with the faucet off? Does it leak out the top when the water is turned on? Maybe it makes odd sounds when you use it! Does it look like the picture to the right? If so, this is the article for you.

When you finish reading this article you will have a better understanding of how to repair these problems. The problems are easily repaired. Let’s break them down into the leaking and then the noise.

If the outside faucet leaks when the water is turned off, the problem is with the main seal. This could be one of two styles.

The older style has a simple multi-turn handle with a flat washer and a square plate behind it. This is to keep the washer from turning on the face and tearing the rubber material.

All that is needed to repair this style is:

  • turn the water off at the street;
  • loosen the packing nut behind the handle; and
  • unscrew the larger nut behind the packing nut.

The valve will completely come out at this point. Replace the washer with a new one and reassemble. The leak should be gone.

The newer style uses a one-quarter turn handle and is a bit more exotic. It uses rubber o-rings to seal the water and a taper rubber seal to prevent back flow. This style uses a ceramic cartridge in a brass housing. It is rebuildable ONLY if you can find parts.

Usually, a new valve will be approximately $20. The labor will be more expensive too. Someone must go under the house to make sure the piping does not get damaged when the assembly is removed.

Faucet Leaks Out the Top or in Other Words, Around the Vacuum Breaker, with Water Turned On

The leak from your outside faucet around the vacuum breaker is easily repaired as there is only one moving part and one rubber o-ring. In the picture to the left, the rubber o-ring has split. The repair for this is simple:

Remove the top cap with a pair of pliers. You should see some plastic parts.

Take two thin screwdrivers and insert in the slots.

Take the third screwdriver and insert it between the other two and turn counterclockwise. The plastic parts will unscrew.

Remove both parts.

The rubber o-ring should be intact. If not, replace it. The inner plastic part will be facing up with the rubber seal on top. This part should move easily and there should be a smooth face on the rubber seal. If anything is damaged, it must be replaced.

NOTE: Sometimes you have to replace the entire valve assembly and other times, you may have to only replace just the plastic parts. Replacement parts are difficult to obtain because suppliers want to sell a new faucet. Rubber o-rings and washers are common parts. Always put plumbers lube on the rubber parts to keep them from binding during reassembly.

Faucet Makes Odd Sounds

The odd sounds are another interesting problem. Sometimes it is just easier to replace the entire assembly. We had one faucet that even after replacing all the parts, it still made odd sounds. A new valve was then installed and it also made odd sounds. Two new valves later, the sounds went away. I never did figure out what the problem was.

At this point, you should have a basic knowledge of how the frost resistant outside faucet works.

Repairing a leaking outside faucet can save you many dollars on your water bill, not to mention the energy wasted. Conserve water! It’s good for all of us.




Dave Altman

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