Outdoor Faucet Won’t Turn Off? Here’s 5 Steps to Fix It


Are you having trouble getting your outdoor faucet to turn off? Then we’ve listed 5 steps in this article that will help you get yours from waterfall to watertight in no time!

Here’s how to fix an outdoor faucet that won’t turn off

  1. Turn off the water supply to the faucet
  2. Drain the water from the faucet
  3. Remove the packing nut
  4. Remove the valve stem
  5. Reassemble the faucet with a new part where necessary

Don’t worry, fixing an outdoor water faucet doesn’t have to be a complicated job if you’ve got the best instructions to help. That’s why we’ve explained each of these steps in more detail below. Take a look!

Fixing A Running Faucet

Ok, so you knew that the faucet outside had seen better days. But that last turn on it seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. And now, there’s water flooding everywhere. You frantically try to turn the faucet closed to no avail. Now what?

Don’t even think about calling a plumber! Fixing a broken faucet is simple. You’ll repair yours and have your feet up enjoying a cup of coffee in no time!

These are the tools you will need to complete this job.

You Will Need

  • Pliers
  • Two adjustable wrenches
  • Penetrating oil (optional)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Plumber’s grease

Now you’re all geared up, it’s time to get started! Here are the 5 easy steps you need to fix your faucet. We’ve even included a handy tutorial video for you to check out!

Flowing garden tap
Fixing a broken faucet is simple: follow the steps below!

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply to the Faucet

Having water gushing out of your backyard faucet is as you know, not ideal. So, the first thing you must do is to find and then shut off the valve that supplies water to the faucet.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the faucet all the way
  2. Locate the shut-off valve
  3. Turn the valve clockwise to close it. Turn it until it cannot close any further.
  4. Ensure that the water flow from the faucet has stopped completely

Ok, but what can you do if you’re not sure where you can find your water shut-off valve? Then you should be able to locate yours in one of the following places.

  • In the basement
  • In the garage
  • Close to the water meter
  • On the ceiling of the inside wall, closest to the outside faucet
  • You may also find an outdoor cutoff, which needs to be accessed with a curb key

Home Improvement Expert: 80% of the time, the incoming water shutoff is on the top/right of the water heater marked ‘cold’. Usually that pipe splits into two, with one side going to the water heater and the other going to the next fixture.

What can you do if you’re dealing with an old water shut-off valve that doesn’t have a handle or a knob? Then this is where your good old friend the pliers come to play. Press your pliers around the square post of the water shut-off valve. Then turn the pliers and the square post clockwise until the water stops flowing.

Shutting off the water valve
Turn the shut-off valve clockwise to stop the flow of water

Step 2: Drain the Water From the Faucet

Now it’s time to drain the water from the faucet. Why is this an important step? For the following reasons.

  • It keeps your faucet in good working order
  • It reduces your chances of bursting a pipe
  • It gets rid of any trapped water in a safe way

Ok, so that’s enough talk about why we should do it. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it all!

Here are the steps you need to drain the water from your outdoor faucet.

  1. Open the outdoor safety valve. You should be able to do this by pulling a handle or turning a knob.
  2. Wait for the remaining water to drain

Step 3: Remove the Packing Nut

The next thing you must do is to use an adjustable wrench to remove the packing nut from the faucet.

Here’s how.

  1. Wrap the wrench just behind the packing nut
  2. Turn the wrench counter-clockwise to loosen the valve assembly. Keep another wrench clamped to the faucet connection that runs to your home. This will stop the faucet from moving while you work.
  3. Then use your hands to remove the entire valve assembly
  4. Remove the faucet handle fastener by turning it anticlockwise
  5. Wiggle the handle and pull it straight up to remove it
  6. Then unscrew the packing nut and slide it up the stem to remove it

Would you prefer to watch these instructions? Then make sure you have a look at this helpful step-by-step video.

But what can you do if the valve assembly or packing nut is too stiff to be removed with the wrench?

Here are the steps to loosening it up.

  1. Apply penetrating oil to the stubborn areas of the faucet
  2. Wait for the oil to work its magic
  3. Once the stubborn sections are loose, try turning them again with a wrench

Home Improvement Expert: A professional plumber would likely use a MAPP gas torch and heat either the nut or the stem, but not both. Whichever side is heated will expand, loosening its grip on the other side. It won’t matter if you melt the rubber seal or plastic because you are replacing it anyway.

Step 4: Remove the Valve Stem

If there wasn’t a problem with your packing nut, then you will need to remove the valve stem. This will help you to take a closer look at the problem. You can remove the valve stem using a pair of pliers and a flathead screwdriver.

Here are all the steps you need to complete this part of the job.

  1. Use the pliers to hold the pipe still during this step
  2. Remove the washer from the valve stem. You can use a flathead screwdriver to do this.
  3. Inspect the washer and the O-ring

Step 5: Reassemble the Faucet

When reassembling your faucet, you will need to replace any broken, corroded, or worn parts. This will ensure that your faucet works once you have put it back together. But which broken or worn parts should you look out for?  They could include any of the following.

  • The packing nut
  • The washer
  • The O-ring

To replace these parts before you assemble your faucet, take a look at the following steps.

Part to ReplaceHow to Replace It
Packing Nut1. Remove the old packing nut using the instructions included in step 3 of this article
2. Slide a new packing nut over the valve assembly
3. Turn the packing nut clockwise to tighten it. Tighten it with a wrench until it is in place. Ensure that you do not tighten the nut too much.
Washer1. Remove the washer from the valve stem using the instructions included in step 4 of this article
2. Replace the washer with one that has the exact same measurements as your old washer
3. Place a coat of plumber’s grease on the washer before reassembling it
4. Make sure that the O-ring is in place
5. Replace the screw on the washer with a new brass screw
O-ring1. Remove the washer and the O-ring following the instructions in step 4 of this article
2. Replace the O-ring with one that matches the size of your washer
3. Apply a coat of plumber’s grease to the new O-ring before you assemble it
4. Make sure that the O-ring sits flush inside the washer
5. Replace the screw on the washer with a new brass screw

Once you have replaced your broken parts, you will be halfway to finishing assembling your faucet. But there are still a couple of things you must do to complete the job. But don’t worry, that hot cup of coffee is in sight!

Here are the final steps to reassembling your outdoor faucet.

  1. Reinsert the valve assembly
  2. Tighten the valve assembly (don’t over-do it, you may break the seal). You can use an adjustable wrench for this step.
  3. Ensure that the faucet is closed
  4. Turn the water back on at the water supply valve
  5. Open the faucet and check that the water is flowing properly and that the faucet can close


If you’ve ever had a problem with an outside water faucet not turning off you’ll know that it could make you feel panicked. Not being able to turn off the water immediately is frustrating. I’m sure this article has helped you to see how easy it can be for you to fix the broken or worn parts of a water faucet.

Has this article been useful to you? Then make sure you check out some of our other articles and free guides!

Have a great day!


Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more