How to Replace Spigot Washers


You should know replacing a washer underneath or behind a spigot, also known as a faucet or tap, is a lot easier than it sounds--especially if you've never changed a washer. You only need a few tools and a few minutes to get it done, whether the spigot is located inside or outside. It's important to go ahead and replace the washer to the spigot when you see a leaky faucet, since changing a faucet washer saves water and money from going down the drain.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 adjustable wrenches
  • Flat tip screwdriver

Removing Spigot and Washer

  • Locate the water shut-off valve to the faucet or spigot for which you are replacing the worn washer. Turn it off, which usually means turning it to the right or clockwise to the threads to which it is attached. Locate the main water shut-off valve and shut it off, if you can't find an in-line water shut-off valve that's specific to the spigot where you are replacing the washer.

  • Unscrew the larger of the two hex nuts on the stem of the spigot with one of the two adjustable wrenches, while completely stabilizing the spigot itself with the other adjustable wrench. Loosen the faucet valve assembly and pull it out to reveal the defunct, inoperative washer at its end.

  • Remove the screw, keeping the inoperative, worn washer in place. Remove the inoperative washer.

Replacing Washer and Spigot

  • Find a new, exactly matching washer to the spigot washer you are replacing at a hardware supply store. Look on the spigot for the manufacturer as well as the spigot model number, so you can use that information when matching the washer.

  • Put the new spigot washer onto the valve assembly, replacing it exactly where the worn washer once was. Re-tighten the screw, holding the washer in place.

  • Wrap the threads (where the faucet will screw back on) counter-clockwise a few times with thread seal tape or plumber's tape. Break the thread seal tape still on the roll away from the wrapped tape with a quick jerking motion, and ensure the plumber's tape is smooth around the threads.

  • Insert the valve assembly back into where it is housed. Re-tighten the hex nut, keeping it in place, while using the second adjustable wrench to keep the spigot from turning the entire shaft where it is housed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review the spigot washer replacement process with a knowledegeable hardware supply store clerk while obtaining the matching washer.
  • Do not allow the spigot to twist while loosening or re-tightening the hex nut. Doing so may cause a major water leak back down the water line to which the spigot is attached.

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