Outdoor Water Faucet Won’t Turn Off? How to Fix It

Outdoor Water Faucet Won't Turn Off?

When your outdoor faucet keeps running even after turning the handle to shut it off, then you know there is a problem. A faulty faucet can be frustrating especially when you think about all the implications it has on your water bill and your backyard. What do you do when your outdoor water faucet won’t turn off? You have to fix it.

We are going to take you through a step-by-step process to help you fix an outdoor water faucet that won’t turn off yourself.

You are probably wondering how exactly to do that with no plumbing skills whatsoever. The good news is all you need is basic home tools and follow this guide. It will save you the cost of hiring a plumber.

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Tools you need outside water faucet not turning off

  1. Screwdriver- this you can use to loosen or tighten any screws used in the faucet
  2. Wrench/ pair of pliers- to fasten or undo nuts
  3. Lubricant- to loosen nuts or crews that are hard to handle when using a screwdriver or wrench.
  4. Replacement parts- you need new parts to replace after the removal of the damaged ones.

It is advisable to buy brass parts to avoid the problem of corrosion. Just be sure to buy the same sizes so that they fit accurately. You can carry the old part with you to the store and ask them to help you find the parts in that size

All these tools can be found at your closest home improvement or hardware store.

Fixing an outdoor water faucet has to begin with knowing what is making the faucet not turn off. Here are some common probable reasons as to why the outdoor water faucet won’t turn off.

1. Broken or loose handle

A loose handle is solved by tightening it up. There should be a screw in the middle of the handle that holds the handle in place. Use a screwdriver to fasten the screw and tighten the handle.

A broken handle on the other hand has to be removed. It may be broken because of mechanical damage due to aging, rust, or domestic accidents.

To replace a broken outdoor faucet handle:

  1. Turn off the main water supply valve
  2. Turn the faucet handle anti-clockwise to release water that may be trapped in the pipe
  3. Loosen the faucet handle by loosening whatever is holding the handle in place. It could be a nut or crew. Use a screwdriver and take out the handle
  4. Replace with a new handle and reassemble the faucet in the reverse process of removal.
  5. Worn-out washers.

Rubber faucet washers work by compression at the end of the valve step to stop the flow of water.

Outdoor faucet valve
Image: @photovs via Twenty20

Worn-out washers can cause both leakages and running in exterior water faucets depending on the extent of the damage. With time, faucet washers become worn out and shrink. The washer may fail to cover the entire opening due to a size reduction.

Replace the washer using the following procedure:

  1. Cut off the water supply by turning off the main supply valve
  2. Turn the faucet on to rid it of any water that may be trapped inside
  3. Remove the handle by unscrewing the centre screw
  4. Loosen the packing nut just behind the handle using a wrench or pair of pliers. If the faucet happens to have a retaining nut, you can loosen it in the same way you did the packing nut.
  5. You can now access the washer. Remove it and install a new one.
  6. Reassemble the faucet.
  7. Faulty valve stem

When the valve is spoilt, you will notice the handle keeps turning back on after you turn it clockwise to turn off the water.

The valve works by compressing down on the valve seat. If the mating threads between the valve stem and valve housing are won out, then the valve stem needs to be removed and replaced as no matter how tight you turn the faucet, it won’t turn off. The spoilt stem valve has to be replaced like this:

  1. Turn off the water at the main water valve and drain off all the water left in supply pipes
  2. Use a pair of pliers or wrench to unscrew the packing nut just below the handle. You can use a lubricant to loosen the screw a little if it is hard to turn. This will reveal the valve stem that is located just below the packing nut.
  3. Take out the valve
  4. Find a similar valve at the hardware
  5. Replace the valve in the reverse process.

Sometimes finding a replacement valve may be hard because they are rare. In this case, you can opt to buy a new faucet as the cost will not differ as much. After all, the faucet could need an upgrade.

2. Corrosion and mineral deposits

The exterior faucet is made of metal material that is bound to get corroded after some time. Moreover, minerals in the water could get deposited and stuck in the faucets and prevent them from completely sealing. In this case, the faucet part needs to be cleaned. Follow this guide:

  1. Turn off the water supply and drain trapped water.
  2. Take out the faucet parts one by one.
  3. Loosen the mineral deposits by soaking the parts in vinegar
  4. Use a small bristle brush to clean the parts in detail
  5. Re-assemble the faucet and test to see if you fixed the problem.

Remember to be careful when taking apart the faucet. Use reasonable pressure to prevent damage especially if you have to use the same ones when you assemble the faucet. Also, take note of every step and every part you take out to save you time. If you forget you to be stuck in a back and forth of assembling and taking apart.

We have simplified the repair process and we hope you find it useful.

If replacing worn-out parts of the faucet does not work, it might be time to replace the entire faucet. And if DIY fails, at least you tried, but do call your plumber.