I would like to repair rather than replace this garden faucet. It leaks ever so slightly: a drop or two every minute. I don't know how this valve works. I tried to open it. The picture shows how far I got. I do not see a washer. Is there a washer and, if so, how do I get to it? If no washer, how do I fix the leak?

Update: I must have misunderstood the instructions on how to remove the stem. I turned the faucet handle counterclockwise and the stem broke off. (See photo.) Please clarify: what should I have turned to remove the stem?

broken stem

Faucet with cap unscrewed

2 Answers 2


Good start the nut is the valve packing for the shaft if it is leaking there you need some valve stem packing. This is usually expanded PFTE sometimes with graphite embedded. Several wraps 1/2 dozen then put the packing nut back on tight and this will stop valve stem leaks. If the leak is out the faucet unscrew the handle and there is normally a rubber washer held in place with a screw. The new washer will look like a volcano a cone with a hole. These get squished over time and look flat but a new one is usually volcano shaped wide side should fit tight on the shaft and the screw holds it in place. Put it back in at this point I usually add some valve packing around the shaft and tighten the nut, with a new washer you may have to tighten it a little to get the stem packing tight. But that’s the complete rebuild. I would invest in a kit of different sized washers my box is ancient and I buy more washers, packing and orings as I use them up a inexpensive kit of parts for a home owner.

  • 3
    Yeah, just turn the handle like you are opening the valve, because with the nut off now, it will continue to unscrew and the entire "valve stem" will come out. Make sure you turned off the water supply first!!!
    – JRaef
    May 21, 2020 at 20:14
  • I figured they had the water off before starting but good point.
    – Ed Beal
    May 22, 2020 at 2:37
  • You never know... ;-)
    – JRaef
    May 22, 2020 at 17:01
  • @JRaef I must have misunderstood the instructions on how to remove the stem. I turned it counter clockwise and it broke off. What should I have done differently?
    – Yehuda_NYC
    May 25, 2020 at 0:56
  • Most valves will back out , I noticed your valve body is 2 piece I should have mentioned this a wrench on the square body and a sharp tap will separate the pieces , notice the slight color difference? The washer will be accessible, and you could continue to use the valve with pliers to open or replace the stem , most specialty stores will have them in stock, some big box may have them but my local specialty store has not let me down on most modern valves and some early 1900 series.
    – Ed Beal
    May 25, 2020 at 2:59

The correct method to get to the sealing washer for this style of valve:

Note the two sets of "wrench flats" (in addition to the packing nut) on the valve, and that there is an obvious color difference and seam. Smaller darker part on the left with the packing nut threads, larger paler part to the right which is the main body of the valve.

Using two adjustable wrenches (not pipe wrenches) one would hold the body of the valve, and one would unscrew the darker cover below (or right of, in your pictures) the packing nut using that set of flats, which would release the valve stem.

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