Having one or more faucets on the exterior of your home can make it easy to water your garden, wash your car, and do many other outdoor activities. Since these faucets regularly encounter harsh Denver weather conditions, they tend to wear out more quickly than indoor faucets. When an outdoor faucet is having problems, you may be able to fix it yourself. However, there are certain problems that are better to have fixed by a professional. To determine how to approach the repair of a malfunctioning outdoor faucet, here are a few tips from your friends at High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

Detecting a Problem

There are multiple areas from which an outdoor faucet can leak. To determine the location and severity of the problem, you can use a few different leak-detecting techniques. A sure sign of a leak is any observed wetness on the exterior wall around the faucet. Wet soil underneath the faucet is another indicator. If you’re not sure if there is a leak, one thing you can do is put a plastic container under the faucet. Set a timer for an hour, and then check to see if there is any water in the container. This will let you know if a leak exists and how bad the leak is if one is occurring. You can pass this information along to your plumber to help them diagnose your faucet’s problem.

Importance of Repair

Once you discover a leak, it’s important to repair it quickly. A leak from an outdoor faucet can waste a lot of water, causing your water bills to increase greatly. Plus, a leaking outdoor faucet can damage the exterior of your home or even your home’s foundation. You’ll end up facing repairs that are far more expensive than a simple faucet repair by High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Another potential complication of ignoring a leak is that the water may seep inside unseen areas of your home. If that’s the case, you could also face repairs to your home’s drywall, insulation, and much more. While you can wait to do some repairs in your home, outdoor faucet repairs should be completed as quickly as possible.

Age of Outdoor Faucet

One major factor that determines whether or not you should call a professional is the age of the faucet and associated plumbing. If you have an especially old faucet, it could be corroded from years of use and end up crumbling in your hand if you try to perform repairs yourself. If this happens during a do-it-yourself project, you’ll be left with exposed pipes and potential damage to the surrounding wall structure that you’ll need a professional to address. You likely won’t face this risk if you’re dealing with a leak from a newer faucet. However, some newer faucets, especially specialized types that are recessed into the exterior wall of your home, can be quite complicated to fix if you don’t have a trained eye and a skilled hand.

Location of Shut-Off Valve

Most exterior faucets will have a local shut-off valve that allows you or a professional plumber from High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to easily stop the flow of water to the faucet. However, if your home is older or had its plumbing installed by an amateur, you may not have this local shut-off valve. This means that you’ll need to turn off the water to your entire home using the main shut-off valve whenever you have a problem with your outdoor faucet. If this is the case, you’ll definitely want to get a professional plumber involved so that they can install a local shut-off valve. These valves are important, especially in cold Denver winters, because they allow the outdoor faucet to drain so that there’s no water left inside the faucet to freeze.

Most Common Issue

One of the most common causes of an outdoor faucet leak is a worn washer inside the valve. Over time, the materials in the washer can dry out and crack, allowing small amounts of water to seep around the washer and exit your outdoor faucet. If you have a basic outdoor faucet, replacing this washer should be fairly simple. After turning off the water, all you’ll need to do is remove the packing screw on the front of the valve, remove the valve itself, and then replace the washer. However, any plumber will tell you that the job rarely goes this smoothly. You may discover that there’s a problem with the valve itself, the water supply line, or something else that requires at least one component to be replaced. Unless you have the right tools and experience, these jobs can be more trouble for you to do than they’re worth. Call a professional.

Installing a New Faucet

None of the components in an outdoor faucet will last forever. You will eventually arrive at a point where replacing the individual components in an outdoor faucet doesn’t make financial sense. When that time comes, you’ll want to call High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to install a new outdoor faucet for you. Replacing an outdoor faucet frequently requires either extending or shortening the existing supply line, depending on the placement of the malfunctioning faucet. Leaving the pipe too long will expose the pipe to harsh weather conditions and make it more susceptible to collisions with people and lawn mowers. Cutting the pipe too short will make it difficult to install the new fixture and could cause problems with leaks down the road. To avoid these issues, you should call in the pros when it’s time to replace your existing outdoor faucets.

Proper Outdoor Faucet Maintenance

Ideally, it’s best to do what you can to take care of your outdoor faucets so that they last as long as possible. One of the best ways to take care of your outdoor faucets is to turn off the water before the temperatures dip below freezing. After you turn the water supply off, make sure to turn the outdoor valve to the “on” position so that any excess water can drain out of the valve and supply line. Additionally, make sure to remove any hoses, splitters, or other attachments from the main valve at the end of the season. These items can hold water against the valve and cause excess corrosion. Finally, use caution when turning off the valve throughout the season. Don’t over-tighten the valve, as this can cause the packing screw and washer to wear out prematurely.

Your Plumbing Experts

At High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we take pride in helping Denver residents with plumbing problems, big and small. Whether it’s installing water heaters, repairing kitchen plumbing, performing drain cleaning, repairing sewer lines, or maintaining sump pumps, we can do just about anything involving plumbing, thanks to our years of experience. For over ten years, we’ve been working hard to exceed the expectations of our customers, which is one reason why we received the Angie’s List Super Service Award and consistently receive five-star customer reviews. To learn more about tackling outdoor faucet issues, contact the pros at High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.

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