Asked on Apr 02, 2012

HELP!! We have an outdoor water faucet that is leaking terribly. We tried getting a new hose thinking that was it.

Ana M
by Ana M
We tried removing the piece seen at the bottom of the faucet since it is leaking from the top of that piece. It would not unscrew,it would not tighten- actually sprayed more when tightened- we tried to loosen it also sprayed bad and we could not get it off. Wwe are afraid to damage the pipe coming out of the house.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?? Does this take a plumber to come out and have to weld off the piece and put a new piece on?? I mean I am handy, but never tackled welding!
It is spraying NOT from the hose connection but from the top of the piece above the hose connection
we could not get the piece attached to the faucet to unscrew, afraid to damage the pipe coming out of the house. It is leaking between where it says Mexico and the top of the piece screwed onto the faucet (we are assuming it is screwed on- not sure if that is a permanent piece.
we could not get the piece attached to the faucet to unscrew, afraid to damage the pipe coming out of the house
  39 answers
  • Jimmy R Jimmy R on Apr 02, 2012
    I cant really tell from the pic ... But isnt that a lil screw hole rite there were the adapter is all nice an shiny from using pliers on it ??... The adapter is a check valve of sorts , to keep water from backing into the inside plumbing..
  • Michael P Michael P on Apr 02, 2012
    that is a backflow preventer, there should be one or two set screws on it to kep it from unscrewing when taking the hose off, loosen them and it will come off
  • Tom S Tom S on Apr 02, 2012
    Usually not a very hard job. If the leak is from the spout, you will need to shut off the water. Remove the stem by loosening the small nut and removing the larger one. You can then take the stem out and get a rubber washer. Normally there will be a small phillips screw in the end of the stem holding the washer in place. Remove and replace the washer and reassemble. IF that does not work the seat is gone. Usually easier and cheaper to pull the hose bib and replace it Hold pipe with a pipe wrench and unscrew the bib pipe dope and teflon tape reassemble with new bib. Took longer to post this than to do the job. Good luck ,Tommy
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 02, 2012
    The "device" is a vacuum breaker / back flow preventor and eliminates contamination of the domestic supply in side the house from any outdoor use that could flow back inside. That may be a 'set screw" hard to tell but it it is that will need to be loosened. first...then use a pipe wrench not pliers. Another option would be to shut off the main and swap out the Whole spigot...this may be a screw in or sweat in.
  • Plumber26 Plumber26 on Apr 02, 2012
    it's not a backflow preventer.... it's a vacuum breaker.... and yes, there is 1 or two tiny set screws keeping it from loosening or tightening. just loosen the set screw and it will come right off.... from the looks of that faucet though, I'd recommend up dating it to a newer freezeless faucet w/ a built-in vacuum breaker.
  • Tom S Tom S on Apr 02, 2012
    I forgot. if the bib is soldered then if you can solder it is still a simple job . if not grab the phone and your wallet.Sorry bout that.
  • Clay B Clay B on Apr 02, 2012
    Once this is fixed, or spigot replaced, be sure you caulk around the pipe and siding, water going in behind siding everytime it rains.
  • Charlene S Charlene S on Apr 02, 2012
    Less hassle just to replace the faucet.
  • James N James N on Apr 02, 2012
    Not sure where you live, put just replace it with a Woodford freezless faucet its has built in vac breaker and if installed correctly it will never freeze. Also they look a lot nicer than what you have there. GIve you years of trouble free use.
  • Adam D Adam D on Apr 02, 2012
    Use torch and heat the metal fitting the will not come off then pour cold water on it. This will expand and then contract the fitting and in most cases breaking it free to turn with a set of pliers. The silcock looks old if that does not work best bet is to replace it. They run about $20 at home depot or lowes.
  • Chauly Y Chauly Y on Apr 02, 2012
    perhaps the O-ring is missing...look inside the hose part and check to see if the plastic O-ring still there and not broken.
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 02, 2012
    Several people have already properly identified the object as a vacuum breaker. The reason you cannot remove it is because it is a non-removable type. There was probably a set screw that was tightened when it was installed on the threads. Then the screw is broken off. The reason is so that it cannot be removed. I believe there are some other versions that have a spring loaded internal locking mechanism, again to prevent removal of the device. As you can tell, you cannot get them off easily. Here is info on the Watts brand versions Try this method if you have a set screw version I don't know if there is a way to get an auto-locking version off, other than sawing it off. You may be better off replacing the entire spigot if that is your situation. And as pointed out in earlier answers, you can put in a frost-proof spigot which should keep from having it freeze during the winters. The version you currently have is susceptible to freezing in the winter.
  • Chris H Chris H on Apr 02, 2012
    ive installed many of these vacuum breakers in my day and it is always attached with an allen wrench ... however these screws rust and carrode and usually wont come off on older hosebibs ... best thing to do is drill out the securing screw (which is visible in the pic) and use a set of channel locks to remove the vacuum breaker after the set screw is drilled out ... then replace the vacuum breaker
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 02, 2012
    Chris, although you may have installed many that have an allen wrench, there are other types out there. Look here at the installation instructions for the Watts brand tamper proof vacuum breakers Notice that it reads to tighten the set screw until the head breaks off. There is no allen wrench used, and with the head broken off, it is not an issue of rust on these versions that prevent removal. It is because there is nothing but the broken off head. The solution is still to drill it out if possible.
  • Chris H Chris H on Apr 02, 2012
    oh yeah i do remember that now ... the head breaks off ... been about 10 years since ive done plumbing trims lol ... so drilling out the set screw is still the right way to go or just replace the hosebib itself which looks pretty easy to separate ... might be a better way to go ... just make sure you turn the water off at the meter before you do :) thanks for the info/correction southern :)
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 02, 2012
    No problem Chris, just trying not to confuse the original poster, Ana. It would be confusing looking for some hole for an allen wrench or other tool and only seeing the smooth top of the broken shaft.
  • Chris H Chris H on Apr 02, 2012
    lol yes very true :)
  • Marg C Marg C on Apr 03, 2012
    the whole thing looks shot to me. I would go with replacing it. Even the pipe going thru the siding looks rusted.
  • Richard B Richard B on Apr 03, 2012
    that is a back flow preventer and you will not be able to take it off.You will need to replace the faucet
  • Ana M Ana M on Apr 03, 2012
    Wow! thank you Everyone! Very insightful. We are going to take a look at it again. PROFESSIONALS out there: If we were to have this whole faucet (it's 16 yrs old) taken out and a new one put in (a freezeless water faucet- do I even need that here in GA?) HOW MUCH SHOULD AND WOULD it cost me to have a PRO do it? And Any recommendations out there for the Alpharetta, GA Area?
  • Danigurlcrafts Danigurlcrafts on Apr 03, 2012
    I have had that problem before when i had my house where it would leak and everything and there was a problem with a nozzle on the hose and then i found out that i had to actually replace the whole hose and faucet.
  • Plumber26 Plumber26 on Apr 03, 2012
    depends on what the pro needs to do to access the pipe on the inside... if it goes into a basement or crawlspace maybe $125-$175..... if it's more difficult to access then the price goes up
  • Daniel M Daniel M on Apr 03, 2012
    should be able to use pipe wrench on pipe to hold it in place and unscrew faucet. Just turn off water first!!
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 03, 2012
    I would be careful with trying to unscrew the faucet off the pipe. There are 2 differet ways that faucets can be attached. It appears you have copper plumbing There are screw on versions where there is a male fitting soldered onto the copper pipe. Then the faucet, with female threads, is screwed onto the male fitting. But the other type is a soldered on faucet/spigot. You will not be able to unscrew it from the pipe. And if you are wanting to change it out to a frostproof faucet, you will have to cut the pipe further back in the wall. The frost-proof faucets are available in different lengths, and you have to cut the pipe further back in the wall and solder on a fitting. I think I am remembering this correctly, but I believe the frost proof faucets usually have a male thread on the end. So you would need a female thread soldered on the copper pipe and then thread on the new faucet. I found this great video online that explains it very well,,20053912,00.html
  • does the hose connection have a washer inside it to seal against the backflow preventer??? it looks like it is tightened all the way and it is still loose...
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 04, 2012
    Southern Trillium has is right...I've done a handful of these frost proof valves. The most common is a male 1/2" threaded end on the valve. Which then is screwed into a 1/2" female fitting. They come in sizes from 8 to 14 with 10 and 10" being more widely used. It is important that the final install slopes drain. This will prevent water from residing in the valve body that could freeze. The valve itself is about 15 to 25 depending on quality. Install can vary based on access. I've done some in 15 min to 2 hours Plus return visits to patch wallboard etc.
  • Plumbrite Plumbrite on Apr 05, 2012
    I have had luck cutting them off, but I would recommened replacing yours so it can be secured to the house. You do not need frost free here in Ga. I have replaced to many that had hoses left on an did not drain properly.
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 05, 2012
    Plumbrite is correct that if you leave a hose on a frost-proof faucet, it will hold water and then be subject to freezing. But, with a frost-proof faucet, you don't have to go out and put covers on your faucets in the winter, and you don't have to worry about them freezing. I have seen plenty of regular faucets that were left unprotected on a cold winter night, only to have them freeze. No one knows they are frozen until they thaw and there is a nice spray of water coming out of the cracked pipe. And in the worst cases, it will spray water back into the house and cause damage on the drywall and flooring on the inside. Remember, you may be at work when it decides to thaw and spring a leak. If you are changing it out, I would highly recommend spending the extra money and install the frost-proof faucet, and then remember to remove hoses from it during the winter. The few bucks extra now can prevent headaches later..
  • Michael P Michael P on Apr 10, 2012
    backflow preventer, vacuum breaker same thing, depends on where you live as to what you call it
  • Clay B Clay B on Apr 11, 2012
    After installing a backflow preventer and finding out about the set screw thing breaking off, I would have never installed this version, I would only install a removable version, or replace the set screw with a regular (non-breaking type prior to install.
  • Mary A Mary A on May 02, 2012
    good luck....we had the same problem in our newer house in SC....couldnt get it off either so called the plumber...what a joke..he pounded and twisted and finally got it off but...with the tools he used he sliced it and now it still leaks.....we cant replace it cause its a slab home and this comes into the kitchen behind the cabinets and we would have to tear it all out and that aint gonna we continue to live with it but less $75 bucks and that was the senior discount........
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 03, 2012
    @ Mary A.....if your faucet is behind the cabinets it can still be worked is a little bit of a pain in the butt, but there are advantages too...the wall repair can be covered with a "false" back in the cabinet. Cabinet backs are pretty thin wood generally and can easily be opened up. This is more than enough until the kitchen gets remodeled down the road a piece. Keeping a leaky hose bid from adding water near the house's foundation is FAR more important than a pristine cabinet back.
  • Joey C Joey C on May 11, 2012
    just cut the cooper and saulder another one on
  • William S William S on Apr 13, 2013
    Use a Dremel tool to cut a slot in the screw (head broken off to prevent removal) on the vacuum breaker. Use a flat blade screwdriver to remove the screw, then unscrew the vacuum breaker. Replace with a new one.
  • Njlou Njlou on Jun 23, 2017

    You have a mess that has been ignored for too long. It s most likely that you have some wood rot behind the faucet, as well as possible insect entry.

    First what you refer to as "weld" is really solder. There are products that can be used without solder. First you must cut off the faucet/pipe end and replace it inside the house using a solderless connector.....or solder.

    Get a piece of (HEAVY) aluminum plate/screws drilled with a new hole to cover the old hole, and provide a mounting back - before you install the new pipe. Then seal from back/front with caulking or foam.

    good luck

  • Raymond Raymond on Nov 19, 2020

    Does any one know where to find this faucet?

  • Raymond Raymond on Nov 19, 2020

    trying to find faucet has mexico a11 on faucet. I have one leaking going into brick wall. Need one so i can replace hose bib out of new one

  • Timothy Timothy on Aug 01, 2022

    A couple people have indicated here that because these (vacuum breakers - VB) are designed to be "unremovable," you now have to replace the entire hose bib in order to resolve this. That is completely false. There are two types of VBs. One has a screw (normally broken off after the unit is screwed on), and the second (typically much older and rarer) has an internal spring that locks the VB onto the faucet/bibb (no evidence of a screw hole is visible). Both types can easily be removed using a dremel and a metal cutting disk.

    A) The VB in these photos appears to be the more common "break-off screw" style with the screw head broken off after installation to render it "unremovable." Take your dremel with metal cutting disk and cut a single straight cut across the exposed top of the snapped off screw. It is fine to also be cutting into the surrounding body of the VB when you do this as you will be throwing it away later. You only need to cut deep and wide enough to allow for the insertion of a standard screwdriver tip which is no wider than the width of the screw. Stick your screwdriver in and unscrew the screw with the new "head" you have created by cutting this slot. Once the screw is removed you can unscrew the VB from the bibb normally. If for some reason you cannot rotate the screw (corrosion, damage, etc), there are multiple videos on YouTube which show how to drill this screw out. Be cautious drilling, however, as it is possible to damage the threads on the underlying faucet/bibb the VB is screwed onto. You can accomplish this in ten minutes.

    B) The second type of VB is rarer (what was on my older home) and uses an internal spring to lock the VB on the faucet rather than a break-off screw. Dumbest design ever. To remove these, use the same Dremel and metal cutting disk to cut a "vertical" line down opposite sides of the VB (two cuts opposite each other on each side). Be careful not to cut too deep and damage the threads on the faucet beneath. You can then pop the VB off like a clamshell. A little prying with a long screwdriver may be needed to pop it apart but since these are always brass they actually bend apart pretty easy once you have made the cuts through to the faucet it is mounted on. This may take twenty to thirty minutes if you need to make a bunch of cuts and pry a lot to "un-clamshell" the VB from your faucet.

    You DO NOT need to replace your whole hose bibb in order to get rid of one of these once it fails. When you replace your VB with a new one do one of the following to avoid repeating this in five years: A) Only finger tighten the "break-off" screw on the new VB and DO NOT break it off, B) Replace the "break-off" screw with a flush fit (or close) metric hex head screw (often 5mm) of the same thread instead. That way you can simply remove the hex head screw with an allen wrench in five years when the new one fails instead of having to break out the Dremel again.

  • Figgy Figgy on Aug 02, 2022

    Just wrap in that waterproofing tape .. what is it called.. alien tape or magic sealant .. flex seal tape.. if google, it will pop up …., soooo much easier than wrenches and dealing with over tightened screws