The common outdoor hose faucet. Everyone uses one, and almost everyone has dealt with some kind of leak on the hose spigot at one time or another. The good news is that these are really not too hard to repair, once you understand the basics of how these work, and how to troubleshoot your hose faucet leak.
1) My hose faucet drips all the time.
If you have a drippy outdoor hose spigot, then the washer is getting old and brittle, or it has split or worn out. To fix this, you will have to unscrew the packing nut on the handle, and pull the stem out. Then you will just unscrew the bibb screw, install a new bibb washer and screw and reassemble the stem and packing nut.
2) My hose faucet leaks at the top cap when I turn it on.
That cap on top of the hose faucet that leaks when you turn it on is the vacuum breaker. The vacuum breaker is a safety device to prevent water from backflowing into the main water supply, in case of contamination.
To fix this, just remove the cap, and unscrew the vacuum breaker insert, then replace the washer that seals when the vacuum breaker.
3) My outdoor hose spigot leaks at the handle when I turn it on.
The packing nut is the hexagonal nut that surrounds the brass stem that comes from the handle. This packing nut serves to seal the water from coming out when you turn the handle and rotate the faucet stem. When this leaks, just use a pair of pliers or a wrench to gently tighten the nut just after the handle where the water is coming out. 9 times out of 10, this will solve the problem quickly ans easily.
The hose faucet leaks in the wall when I turn it on!
If this happens, it means that you have a freezeless hose faucet, and someone left the hose on during freezing weather. The frost free hose faucets have a long chamber in the wall where the stem shuts the water off at the back, when the faucet is turned off, the chamber drains, insuring that there is no water to freeze in the wall space.
However, if you left the hose on, the chamber cant drain, and the water will stay there, easily freezing and bursting the chamber. Then whenever you turn it on, the chamber will leak water out into the wall!
The only way to fix this is to replace the entire hose spigot and unless you are skilled at soldering pipe or working with water piping, you will probably have to call a plumber.
And next year, remember to take the hose off of your hos spigots in the winter!