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posted: 10/19/2013 12:01 AM

A hose-spigot dilemma

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By Dwight Barnett

Q. My hose spigot is inside my attached garage. I attach the hose to water my lawn or flowers, and when I am done I turn the water off and detach the hose. I then have to place a bucket under the spigot because water continues to leak out for days. This spigot is turned off as tightly as I can do so and my water meter never reads that water is leaking, so my bill has not gone up. I will get quite a bit of water going into the bucket in the first few days and then it slowly subsides each day until it stops. What could be causing this?

A. There are different kinds of hose faucets, spigots or hose bibs. Different names, but they all perform the same function, and that is to deliver water to an attachable hose.

First, try to repair the leak by tightening the packing nut that is exposed just under the handle of the faucet. Use a spanner wrench (monkey wrench or crescent wrench) or a pair of channel lock pliers to tighten the nut.

If the faucet continues to leak, then it's time to replace the washer at the end of the valve's stem.

Shut off the water supply to the home, or a separate water shut-off for the spigot, and remove the spigot handle by removing the screw holding the handle in place.

Remove the packing nut and the shaft inside the spigot by turning the shaft counterclockwise. You will find the washer at the base of the shaft. Replace the washer, which can be purchased at any home or hardware store. If the spigot is an anti-freeze type, the shaft will be several inches long because the washer is at the end of a long pipe that is recessed into the warmer areas of the home to prevent freezing.

The same process can be used to repair leaky bathroom faucets, but you may find a cartridge with O-rings in addition to the rubber washer. Replacement parts and cartridges can be found at home and hardware stores.

In my opinion, it's easier to replace the entire cartridge rather than replacing various parts from a supplier's repair kit and a new cartridge will outlast most repair jobs.

• Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at

Scripps Howard News Service

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