How to Replace an Outdoor Water Spigot

If your outdoor hose spigot is leaking from the spout, it’s time to replace it. Here’s how to knock out this project in no time at all using a few simple tools.

October 11, 2019
Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot

Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot

At one point or another, you are going to have to replace an outside hose spigot. Luckily, this project requires just a few simple tools and a bit of gumption. You should be able to knock this out in no time at all.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

Materials Needed

  • replacement spigot
  • pipe wrench
  • plumber’s tape
  • street key or meter key
  • tape measure
  • exterior caulk

Shut Off Water

The first thing you need to do when disconnecting a pipe is to shut off the water to the house. Water is constantly flowing from the municipal pipe at the street to your house; stopping that flow of water will keep things dry while you work on your plumbing project. Locate the metal plate that covers your water meter at the street edge of your property. Lift it up, and you’ll see the meter and the shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is turned with a specific tool called a key. Street key, box key, slot key or meter key: They’re all the same tool if they have a metal groove that fits over the knob on the meter. Use your key to shut off the water at the street. Buy a water meter key from Amazon.

Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot: Shut Off Water

Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot: Shut Off Water

The first thing you need to do when disconnecting a pipe is to shut off the water to the house. Water is constantly flowing from the municipal pipe at the street to your house; stopping that flow of water will keep things dry while you work on your plumbing project. Locate the metal plate that covers your water meter at the street edge of your property. Lift it up, and you’ll see the meter and the shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is turned with a specific tool called a key. Street key, box key, slot key or meter key: They’re all the same tool if they have a metal groove that fits over the knob on the meter. Use your key to shut off the water at the street.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

Drain the Water Line

Next, you’ll need to turn your spigot on in order to drain the water line (Image 1). Once all the water has drained out of the line, you’re ready to remove the spigot. The spigot that rests on the outside of your building is actually a pipe that's between eight and 16 inches long. On the end of the pipe is a “male” threaded connection. Using a pipe wrench, turn your spigot counterclockwise to unthread the connection to the water line (Image 2). Once the spigot is fully disconnected, you should be able to remove it from the building. Measure the length of the spigot fixture and pipe and purchase a replacement spigot at a local plumbing supply store (Image 3).

Install New Spigot

Wrap plumber’s silicone tape around the “male” fitting on your new spigot in a clockwise direction (Image 1). This will ensure that the tape stays on the fitting while you screw it into place. Insert the spigot fitting into the “female” end of the water line and tighten by hand (Image 2). Use your pipe wrench to fully tighten the connection and ensure that your new spigot is set in place properly. To seal the gap between the pipe and wall, apply caulk made for exteriors (Image 3).

A Word on Water Supply Lines

The pipes running to your spigot are either copper, PVC plastic (white or yellow) or PEX plastic (blue and red). Copper pipes are rigid. They'll make unscrewing your spigot relatively easy because they won't move while you’re unscrewing a fixture. Copper pipe’s rigidity also means that they may burst if the water in them ever freezes.

Many building projects are moving away from PVC plastics. PVC is easier to work than copper but still has the rigidity and burst potential. Many new constructions and renovations now use PEX plastic. PEX won't burst if the water inside them freezes. Working with PEX is also relatively simple if you have the right tools and fittings. Many PEX plumbing projects can be achieved with a simple plastic pipe cutter and a “shark-bite” fitting. Cut the pipe and slide on the fitting. If you’re replacing a spigot and your house water lines are PEX, you may want to simply cut the PEX line just above the spigot. Once the line is cut, add a “female” threaded shark-bit fitting and twist on your new spigot.

Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot

Replacing an Outdoor Water Spigot

At one point or another, you are going to have to replace an outside hose spigot. Luckily, this project requires just a few simple tools and a bit of gumption. You should be able to knock this out in no time at all.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

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