Outside Tap Leaking

How to Fix an Outside Tap Leaking Water: A Simple Help Guide

Last updated on October 5th, 2023

An outside tap leaking water can be fixed most of the time but sometimes needs to be replaced.

If it’s not working, you need to verify if it’s the tap or the water supply to the tap.

I have been plumbing and fitting outside taps for over a decade and have fixed many outside tap leaks in that time.

Here I’ll show you how to fix a leaking outside tap based on my on the job experiences.

Outside Tap Leaking From Connector

An outside tap leaking from the hose connector can usually be fixed by one of three ways:

  • Tighten the hose connector
  • Replace the connector washer
  • Replace the hose connector

When you have an outside tap leaking when the hose is attached, it is a hose or connector problem, not the outside tap.

Outside Tap Leaking From Stem

An outside tap leaking from the stem on the top of the tap can be fixed by tightening the gland nut with an adjustable spanner.

Outside tap gland nut leaking
Tightening gland nut on outside tap

If this doesn’t fix the leak, you can try adding some PTFE tape.

Here’s how:

  1. Turn the water to the outside tap off
  2. Unscrew the gland nut at the bottom of the spindle
  3. Add some PTFE tape or jointing compound to the thread
  4. Refit the gland nut
  5. Turn the water back on
  6. Test for leaks

Outside Tap Dripping From the Spout

Outside tap washer replacement
Outside tap washer replacement

Changing the washer on an outside tap that’s dripping water from the spout can usually be fixed by replacing the washer.

How to change an outside tap washer:

  1. Turn the water to the outside tap off
  2. Unscrew the larger nut under the smaller spindle nut
  3. Replace the washer on the end of the tap valve
  4. Refit the outside tap valve with new washer on
  5. Turn the water back on
  6. Test for dripping
How to replace an outside tap washer YouTube video

Replacing an Outside Tap

Replacing an outside tap is sometimes the best option, even if you just need to replace the washer.

Finding the right size washers for an outside tap can be almost impossible and even then it might not fix the leak.

Sometimes is best to just buy a new bib tap and replace the tap to save time and headaches.

How to replace an outside tap:

  1. Turn the water to the outside tap off
  2. Unscrew the outside out of the wallplate by turning it anti-clockwise
  3. Add some PTFE tape around the threads
  4. Refit the outside tap into the wallplate
  5. Turn the water back on
  6. Test for leaks

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Leaking outside taps can be annoying but fixing and replacing them is very easy most the the time.

Tighten any connections with an adjustable spanner to stop the dripping and if that doesn’t work then replacing the outside tap or hose connector should do the trick.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to help.

Please share this post if you found it helpful.

Outside Tap Leaking FAQs

Where is the shut off valve for outside tap?

The shut off valve or isolating valve for an outside tap is usually right next to the where to water supply pipe is going through the wall to outside.

All outside taps shut have it’s shut off valve but not all outside do. If you don’t have one you will have to turn the water off at stopcock in the house or even the one in the street.

A standard outside tap, with half inch thread (pictured below), has a washer size of 20mm diameter with a 5mm hole in the centre and is 3mm thick.

Outside tap washer size

Should I worry about a dripping outside tap?

A dripping outside is not going to cause major problems but it could cost a few quid over the year in water charges.

Fixing a dripping outside tap should be fixed as soon as possible but it it’s nothing to worry about, especially if it’s dripping into a drain.

What size washer do I need for an outside tap?


  • Steven Reid

    I am a full-time plumber and Gas Safe registered engineer. I incorporated Housewarm Ltd. in 2011 to provide heating and plumbing services to homes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I now blog about what I've learned over the years to help DIYers and plumbers.

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6 thoughts on “How to Fix an Outside Tap Leaking Water: A Simple Help Guide”

  1. Caroline Cooper

    I have just bought a replacement watering system that goes onto the tap.
    When I set the system and turn on the tap to water later it starts to leak.
    I need to leave the tap turned on ready for the timer, what can you suggest.

  2. Stephen Punter

    Hi there my outside tap does not work it was working last year I have taken the tap completely off and it still doesn’t work

    1. Hi Stephen,
      If there’s no water coming from the backplate after removing the tap, then it must be a problem with the water supply pipe.

      It could be the isolating valve (if you have one), make sure it’s open (inline with the pipe) but it could be broken and needs to be replaced.

      Or it might be the check valve (if you have one), you might need to replace it.

      It could also be a blockage or a kink in a flexible pipe.

      1. I’ve got the same problem switched tap of inside house as it leaked. Went to replace the tap no water coming out when tap off back plate

    1. You must to find the stopcock to isolate the water to the outside tap, if you can’t find the one in the house you’ll have to use the one in the street. You should contact your local water supplier to help if you need to.

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