Troubleshooting an Outdoor Faucet with no Water Running

An outdoor faucet attached to a brick wall.

Finding that your outdoor faucet isn’t running water can be a real inconvenience. The chances are that you’ll only discover this problem when you actually need your outdoor water supply for watering your lawn or filling the pool. Although it can be incredibly frustrating to find yourself without an outdoor water supply, there are a number of things you can do to troubleshoot the problem fairly quickly.


Sometimes, it's the most obvious thing that we fail to check. If you live in a cold climate, check to see if the water supply to the faucet was shut off for the winter and never turned back on. If you live in a building where the outdoor water supply is communal, it may be that the maintenance team did this to prevent the pipes from freezing during the cold weather.

The stopcock, or shut-off valve, is usually the main cutoff point for household water supply, and it can usually be found in the utility room or boiler room area of apartment buildings. Check to see if the stopcock is turned on. If it is closed, simply turn it back on to return the water supply.

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Water Supply

It’s always worth checking to see that you actually have a water supply inside your home. If you don’t, it might be an external problem with the water supplier. Under these circumstances, calling your water company is a good idea.

If they are currently working on a problem that has a direct effect on water lines to your property, they’ll be able to tell how soon you can expect your supply to be switched back on. While you still won’t have any water flowing from the outside faucet, you will have discovered that the problem lies elsewhere.

Frost-proof Spigots

Once you’ve established that the stopcock is in the on position and an internal water supply is present, it's a good idea to check the spigot for blockages. Most modern faucets are fitted with a frost-proof spigot as they are resistant to freezing. However, they are still vulnerable to other blockages caused by things like sediments.

Most spigots can be undone quite easily using a spanner. First, turn the water supply off before dismantling the spigot, even if no supply appears to be present. Once the spigot is disassembled, check for blockages and clean any buildup or debris present. It’s surprising how even the smallest particles of limescale or grit can prohibit water flow. Vinegar is great for dissolving limescale, and because it's something most of us have in our kitchens, it’s very convenient as well! Once you’ve cleaned the spigot, reassemble it and test if this has fixed the problem.


A washer is a small, black rubber ring found inside the faucet. After several years of use, they are likely to perish or fall apart. This can leave rubber particles inside the workings of the faucet that prohibit the water flow. Replacement washers are inexpensive and easy to fit. To take out the old washer simply remove the retaining nut on the faucet handle and pull out the old pieces. Then, just add the new washer and put the faucet handle back into place.

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