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One of the three hose spigots that are attached to the exterior of my house has a much lower rate of water flowing out of it, roughly a third to half of what the other two put out. Does this lower water pressure indicate a leak somewhere in the piping leading to it?

There's no water leaking from the spigot on the outside, so I fear there's a leak somewhere inside the wall where I can't see it and didn't know if I should contact a professional plumber immediately.

There's one notable difference between the problematic spigot and the others, though I don't think it's the reason for the lower water flow, since they're simply designed to prevent water from the hose from going back into the pipe. My other two spigots have a vacuum breaker attached to them, similar to this one.

Here's one of the two good spigots that has a vacuum breaker at the end that connects to a hose:

enter image description here

And here's the questionable spigot:

enter image description here

Edit: I've lived in this house for almost a year now but don't know the history behind the spout differences. This isn't quite a new problem, as I noticed it during this past summer, but I don't know if it was like this when I first moved in.

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    It more than likely indicates an obstruction rather than a leak. – Tyson Nov 8 '16 at 3:21
  • Additional information would be helpful like, is this a new problem, did you just move in to the residence? From your pictures it is evident that you have at least two different makes of hose bibs. Do you know what the history or reason for that is? – bigbull15 Nov 8 '16 at 3:27
  • Great questions - I'll edit my post to add some more info. – Derek Nov 8 '16 at 4:12
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    Either an obstruction like @Tyson said or small piping or lots of bends, creating resistance for the flow and dropping the pressure. – whatsisname Nov 8 '16 at 4:29
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It's difficult to answer this question, without actually seeing the plumbing leading to each fixture. Reductions in pipe size, differences in pipe material, pipe length, number of elbows/tees, etc. These could all contribute to a reduced flow.

If you had a leak large enough to reduce the flow by half, you'd likely either notice it as water damage, or on your water bill. Reduced flow being the only symptom, a leak would be low on my list of things to check.

I'd likely start with the sillcock itself, to make sure it's operating properly. If the valve isn't opening all the way, or it's gummed up with junk, you'd definitely see a reduction in flow. Turn off the water to the fixture, and remove the sillcock.

NOTE: That's a frost-proof anti-siphon sillcock, so it actually connects to the supply plumbing somewhere inside the house. So you'll want to have a bucket under that joint, to catch any drippings when you remove the sillcock.

If everything checks out there, start working your way back along the supply. Look for pipe size reductions, material changes, stuck valves, or any other potential restrictions.

  • This is really great information, thanks for sharing! I found out what was really going on in my particular case, so I outlined that in a different answer here. – Derek Nov 10 '16 at 21:45
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I ended up having a plumber come by to take a look at the spigot, and it turns out that that particular design needs to have the valve turned all the way open for the full steam of water to come out. My other two spigots (and the spigots on my old home) only require a couple of turns to get a full stream of water out of them.

I probably should have thought to try turning the valve many more times to see what would happen, but as I've never run into a spigot like this before, it didn't occur to me to do that.

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    How much did the plumber charge to turn the spigot on for you? – Tester101 Nov 10 '16 at 23:11
  • He thankfully was cool about it and waived the charge, since I had just used him for something else two weeks earlier. – Derek Nov 11 '16 at 1:52
  • I should also add that I called up a plumber well knowing that there was a chance that my "problem" wasn't actually an issue and that I'd be liable for the service fee. It was a risk I was willing to take for peace of mind, in case something bad was actually going on. – Derek Nov 11 '16 at 14:01

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