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How to Stop a Freeze-Proof Faucet From Leaking

A dripping freeze-proof faucet doesn't have to be replaced. Learn how to take it apart and replace the rubber washer in just a few easy steps.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Stop the drips

In climates where temperatures drop way below freezing, most newer homes have “freeze-proof” faucets. The trouble with these faucets is that water trickles out for a few seconds after the valve is closed. That trickle makes you think the valve is still open, so you turn the faucet handle harder. It doesn't take much of this repeated overtightening to wreck the valve's rubber washer.

Luckily, most of these faucets are almost as easy to fix as they are to damage, and the replacement parts are inexpensive. Your faucet may look a little different from the one we show, but the basic steps will be the same, even if you have an anti-siphon faucet (see photo above). In fact, you can fix most outdoor faucets that aren't freeze-proof the same way.

Photos 1 - 3 show how it's done. Don't forget to shut off the water supply before you get started. Be sure to hold back the faucet when you unscrew the packing nut and later screw it back on (Photo 1). Otherwise, you may unscrew the threaded joint inside the house. If your stem has rubber O-rings on it, replace them as well as the washer. The best way to get the correct O-rings and washer is to take them with you to the hardware store or home center to get an exact match.

Freeze-proof faucet with anti-siphon valve

Freeze-proof faucet with anti-siphon valve

Freeze-Proof Faucet

A freeze-proof faucet stops the water flow far inside the warm house, so it won't freeze in winter.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Slip joint pliers
    • Wrench set

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Replacement washers

Comments from DIY Community Members

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1 - 7 of 7 comments
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May 13, 10:23 AM [GMT -5]

There is a video on youtube from the Woodhouse co. about popping off the top cap and replacing the float and/or vacuum breaker body (I think it's called?). I had a different problem and solution. After I popped the cap off, the clear vacuum breaker body was plenty tight. When I turned the water on, it spurted up from one spot --and I noticed that the little orange washer (i.e. the float) was pushing up through one of the four holes in the clear plastic piece. I turned off the water, used a toothpick to push it in, and the float dropped down. I turned the water on, the float popped up into place, and no more leak. Woot! I guess that the float somehow got misaligned. Perhaps I'll need to replace it at some point, but that fixed the leak for now. Very relieved because I thought it would be an expensive fix!

April 08, 1:19 PM [GMT -5]

Your instructions did not address the leaking anti-siphon valve issue.

July 25, 1:33 PM [GMT -5]

How do you repair a leak from the anti-siphon cap?. Can you pop this cap off?

May 04, 6:03 PM [GMT -5]

How do you repair a leak from the anti-siphon cap?. Can you pop this cap off?

November 10, 3:30 PM [GMT -5]

My freeze proof faucet leaks from the top, Is this top cap what they call a anti-siphon? How do I repair this? I'm assuming it's not just a matter of replacing the seals. Thanks!

July 05, 7:50 PM [GMT -5]

My "freeze-proof" faucet leaks from underneath the siding whenever I turn the water on but stops when I turn the water off. how do I fix this?

April 29, 8:08 AM [GMT -5]

These are great tips

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