How to Fix an Outdoor Faucet that won’t Shut off

Like an indoor faucet, the common causes of outdoor faucet include corrosion or rusting of the faucet parts due to cold climates or the salty breeze from the ocean wear or tear, making it challenging turn off.

In case of such an incident, it is essential to take immediate action. Most people will call a professional plumber in case the outside faucet refuses to turn off.

If you got the right tools, such as an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, or locking pliers, you can save the cost of hiring a plumber and do it yourself.

To carry out the DIY method, ensure you follow the proper guidelines stating how to repair outdoor faucets that won’t turn off to avoid causing more damages such as leakages.

5 Steps to Fix an Outdoor Faucet that Won’t Shut Off:

Step 1: Locate and Disconnect the Valve that Supply Water to the Outside Faucet

Before you begin the fixing procedure, ensure you locate and turn off the valve that supplies water to the outside faucet.

Most large houses have more than one valve situated in the basement, garage, or close to the water meter. The valve is responsible for all the water flowing on the outdoor faucet.

The common type of valves used on the outside faucet includes a ball and a gate valve. A ball valve has a sphere hole that blocks the flow of water if you turn the round knob in a clockwise direction or till it reaches the end of the turning point, and if you turn it anticlockwise, it allows water flow.

Also, it uses a lever-style valve that helps in turning it up to 90 degrees. Similarly, gate valves come in an open and close design. They operate by closing and opening the pipes while lowering the gates.

Also, they function through a wheel handle to the indicated OFF position or in a clockwise direction until it reaches a point that it cannot turn further.

It allows water to flow on the exterior faucet if it turns anticlockwise. In case your valve has no handle or knob, use the pliers to turn the square post in a clockwise direction until the flow of water ends.

Step 2: Drain the Trapped Water

After shutting off the water supply spigot, it is vital to open the exterior valve to get rid of all the water trapped in the pipe, create enough air space, and increase the pipe’s life span.

Most outdoor faucets come with safety valves that reduce excess water or trapped water from the valve, leading to fewer pipe bursting chances.

The valves are made of straight handles or durable metal knobs to makes the turning process easier. Also, when you remove the valve stem, it helps in getting rid of the trapped water.

Step 3: Remove the Packing Nut

You can now use tools such as a large and adjustable wrench, pliers, 4 in 1 screwdriver, or Phillip screwdriver at this step. The packing nut offers a tight water seal on the valve stem and is made from a rubber or fiber material.

You must remove the packing nut to gain access to the valve stem located beneath the packing nut. Take the adjustable wrench and gently turn it in a clockwise direction to loosen and remove the packing nut.

Use another adjustable wrench on the connection that links the valve and the faucet to protect it from spinning when loosening the nut. You will also find different knobs located beneath the packing nut to hold the valve stem handle. Remove them using the Philip screwdriver.

Also, you can apply penetrating oil to help loosen the knobs and remove them with your hands. If the outdoor faucet won’t turn off due to packing nut corrosion.

It is essential to remove and replace it with a new packing nut. However, avoid too much tightening of the packing nut while replacing it may cause severe problems. In case the problem is not fixed, then remove the valve stem.

Step 4: Remove the Valve Stem

In case the packing nut is intact, remove the valve stem for further examination. The valve stem is located underneath the packing nut, and you need to remove it to pave the way for the valve stem.

Using pliers, hold the pipe and loosen the packing nut to reveal the valve stem. The removal of the valve stem helps in draining the remaining water trapped on the valve. Near the end of the valve stem, you will find a washer connected using a washer screw and an O-ring on the other end.

Using the Philip flat head screwdriver, turn it clockwise to remove the washer from the valve stem. Inspect the washer and O-ring if they may have caused the problem. If a corroded or rust washer, washer screw, and O-ring, you can replace them. Also, ensure the washer is not stuck on the valve seat.

After fixing the problem, it is time to assemble all the tools into the faucet valve. The new washer must have the exact measurement as the old washer and fits accurately.

Use a plumber grease coat on the washer and O-ring before replacing them. Do not forget to assemble the O-ring appropriately. Moreover, replace the washer screw using a brass screw to avoid rusting problems.

Step 5: Reassemble the Packing nut, Valve Stem, Washer, and O-Ring

After removing all the body parts of the valve to examine its cause, it is time to replace or return everything to its normal position. If you have a problem keeping track of every step involved, then ensure you reassemble every part on each stage.

For instance, after removing the packing nut and identify the problem, replace it immediately before heading into the next step. If you forget any step, do not hesitate to seek guidance from a plumbing company with a proven record of incredible plumbing services.

When removing the packing nut, valve stem, washer, and O-ring, it is important to note every step involved to make it easier to reassemble them later after identifying and repairing the problem. An outside faucet won’t turn off due to a worn-out or corroded packing nut forcing you to replace it.

Work with a large adjustable wrench to turn the packing nut anticlockwise when replacing it. Also, take Philip’s screwdriver and turn the washer I anticlockwise during replacement.

If the outdoor faucet won’t turn off due to a valve stem problem, gently push the new valve stem back using a flat head Philip screwdriver.

Also, use the adjustable wrench to assemble the O-ring correctly; when you are done reassembling, put on the water supply valve and the exterior valve to see if the problem is solved.

If you can shut off or turn it off without experiencing difficulties, then the DIY process has yielded some value, but consult a professional plumber if it does not work.


An outside faucet won’t turn off because of leakages, loose or worn-out parts. The causes may be rusting or corrosion. A professional plumber will help out if you cannot control the damages by yourself.

When repairing the exterior faucet, the process is not complicated, especially if you know the correct steps to take and the nature of the damages. In instances where you have no idea of the do-it-yourself procedure, you can get guidance from a plumbing company or hire them to do it for you.

However, you cannot tell the cause of the problem through observation. You must di-assemble the body part slowly by slowly finding the problem and coming up with a solution.

After you have finished repairing the faucet, do not tighten any body part to avoid causing more damages or repeating the whole fixing process. By using these 5 killer steps, an outdoor faucet should be turned off.

Also, note if you turn the knob or wheel handler clockwise, the flow of water stops, and if you turn it anticlockwise, the flow continues.

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