We’ve all seen it happen—you turn your garden hose on, and there’s a drip, drip, drip at the spigot. Then you turn the hose off, but no matter how much you tighten the knob, you still find a puddle of water the next day. Here’s why your hose is leaking at the connector—and how to fix it.
1. Worn Gasket
The metal, or sometimes plastic, fitting that connects your hose to the outdoor spigot is called the coupling. The coupling is composed of the gasket—a thin ring made of rubber or silicone—and the spigot itself (also known as a hose bib or faucet). The gasket can wear down over time, meaning it isn’t watertight and may cause a leak. In this case, replacing the gasket will fix the issue.
You can pick up gaskets at your local home improvement store for between $2 and $5 for a multi-pack. Most standard hoses in the U.S. have a gasket size of 3/4 inch, but measure yours to be sure that you buy the right size.
2. Stripped Adapter
If you’re experiencing a water leak outside your home, another possible cause is a stripped adapter. The adapter is the circular, metal part attached to the end of the hose that screws onto the spigot. If the threads on either side get worn down, your connection might spring a leak. There are a couple of ways you can work around stripped faucet threads.
The first option is to get a garden hose connector for an unthreaded or stripped faucet. These hose connectors have a metal connector on one end that screws onto the hose and a silicone sleeve on the other end attaches to the stripped faucet. You can get them at your local home improvement store for around $8 to $20.
The other option is to get some plumber’s tape and wrap it around the stripped part of the spigot. When you screw on the hose, the plumber’s tape will catch on the threads of the hose and form a tight seal to prevent leakage. This is good for a temporary solution but won’t work as a long-term fix since the tape will eventually wear down.
3. Leaking Garden Hose Connector
Garden hoses are not immune to breakage from changes in the weather, water freezing inside the hose, or just wear and tear over time. Before you invest in a new hose—which can range in price from $10 to upwards of $400—you can try changing out the metal hose connector at the end of your hose. This fix typically works if stripped threads are the problem or if a small water leak has sprung between the hose and connector.
You can purchase a kit and follow the instructions to install a new connector. You’ll have to cut the old connector off of your hose and attach the new one. Again, most hoses are 3/4 inch, but make sure you get the right size kit for your hose. If you’re unsure, you can always take the old connector to the store with you for comparison.
If replacing the hose connector doesn’t work, or if your hose is older and seems to be pretty worn out, it may be time to replace the hose altogether. Opt for a rubber hose as opposed to a vinyl model, as rubber is more durable and weather-resistant than vinyl options.
Call a Pro
If you’ve gone through all the troubleshooting steps and your connector is still leaking, it’s time to call in a plumber to evaluate the issue more thoroughly. The leak could be coming from the pipes, and pipe problems are best dealt with by a pro. Small leaks can become big leaks over time, which can cost you money on your utility bills. Hiring a plumber costs about $45 to $200 an hour,depending on the timing, location, and type of project.