DIY Network

How To Repair a Leaky Spigot

A dripping faucet quickly adds up to substantial costs on your water bill. Here's how to repair an outdoor spigot that has a leak due to a faulty stem.

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a faulty outdoor spigot is repaired

Step 1: Remove the Faucet

First, turn off the main water supply to your home. Inspect the stem on the old spigot closely so that you can purchase a comparable replacement at your home center.

Locate the pipe that feeds the faucet from the backside of the wall. Use a hacksaw to cut the pipe at the bend, just on the other side of the wall from the faucet (pictured), allowing the faucet assembly to be removed.

cut pipe at bend and remove faucet assembly

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 2: Cut off the Corroded Pipe

Use a pipe-cutter to cut off the length of copper supply-pipe that has become corroded (pictured). Use medium-grit sandpaper to rough up the ends of the replacement copper-pipe, and inside the new faucet fitting.

pipe cutter used to cut off corroded part of pipe

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 3: Insert New Pipe Into Fitting

Brush a coating of tinning flux to the outside of the end of the pipe inside the fitting (pictured). Tinning flux improves the adhering capabilities of solder. Insert the end of the new pipe into the new fitting.

tinning flux on end of pipe improves soldering

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 4: Seal the New Joint

Use solder and a propane torch to seal – or "sweat" – the new joint. Use the tip of the flame to heat the joint – not the solder – to achieve the best adhesion (pictured).

when soldering,use the tip of flame to heat joint

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 5: Insert New Pipe Into the Wall

Once the connection has been completely sealed with solder, allow it to cool, and feed the end of the new pipe through the hole in the wall (pictured). Once the pipe has been fed through the hole, and the new fitting is flush against the wall, cut off the excess pipe on the back side of the wall using the pipe cutter.

connection is sealed and cooled and ready for pipe

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 6: Install Fitting Onto Pipe

Using the same soldering technique, install a 90-degree fitting onto the pipe (pictured). Take a measurement from the new fitting to the end of the supply-line pipe to determine the length of new copper pipe that you'll need.

90 degree fitting is installed by soldering joint

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 7: Solder the Pipe in Place

Cut the appropriate length of pipe. Rough up the pipe ends, apply tinning flux, and solder the new length of copper pipe in place at the coupling as well as the new 90-degree fitting to complete the connection (pictured).

solder copper pipe in place at coupling and joint

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 8: Turn the Water Back on

Once the solder-seals have all cooled, and the connections been double-checked, turn the water main back on and check the new faucet for proper operation. You may want to apply a bead of caulk around the outer edge of the new connection to prevent water from leaking through the opening in the wall.

turn water main back on and check the new faucet

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe