If you’re dealing with a leaky faucet handle that won’t stop spinning, there’s a good chance it’s caused by general wear and tear on the faucet stem or cartridge. Fortunately, this is a problem you can tackle at home by removing the faucet from the sink and replacing the old cartridge with a new one.
Although this task can be done without professional help, it’s still important to ensure that you use compatible components and don’t cause any damage to the faucet. This post provides an easy-to-follow guide on fixing a leaky faucet handle, which can help you avoid a costly repair bill and make your faucet feel like new again.
Tools & Materials Requirements
You’ll need a few trusty tools and materials to fix a leaky faucet handle. You’ll need a flathead, Phillips screwdrivers, an Allen wrench, and a pipe wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers. These tools will allow you to remove the faucet handle and access the cartridge.
Next, you’ll need to acquire replacement cartridge(s) that fit your faucet model and brand. Cartridges come in different styles and sizes, so purchasing the correct one is vital to ensure a proper fit and prevent further leaks.
Finally, you’ll need a small amount of plumber’s grease to lubricate the new cartridge and other moving parts of the faucet. It will help ensure the faucet’s smooth operation and prevent future wear and tear.
Gathering the necessary tools and materials ahead of time will save you time and frustration during the repair process and help ensure that you get your faucet working again quickly.
Steps to Fix a Leaky Faucet Handle
Here are the steps to fixing a leaky faucet handle:
1. Turn Off the Water
Before beginning any repair work on your leaky faucet handle, the first and most crucial step is to turn off the water supply. You can typically locate the valve and handle beneath the sink. Turning the handle clockwise or to the right will turn off the water flow. You’ll usually need to turn off your home’s main water supply for bathtub faucets.
It’s vital to ensure that the water is fully turned off before continuing with the repair. Otherwise, you could risk getting soaked by a sudden flow of water. It’s also a good idea to cover the drain with a rag or tape to prevent screws or other small parts from falling down the drain and getting lost forever.
2. Remove the Faucet Handles and Cover the Plate
After turning off the water supply, the next step in fixing a leaky faucet handle is to remove the handle and cover plate. Usually, you’ll find a button or cap that covers the screw to the handles. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the cover and expose the screw underneath gently. Remove the screw.
Be sure to put the screw in a safe place where you won’t lose it, as it’s essential for reassembling the faucet handle later. Once the screw is out, gently pull off the handle and remove the cover plate behind it.
These parts might be tight and require some effort to remove. So, use caution and gentle force to avoid damaging the faucet. Following these steps will expose the cartridge and faucet stem, allowing you to assess and repair the issue.
3. Remove the Retaining Nut
The next step is removing the retaining nut after removing the faucet handle and cover plate. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the cartridge retaining nut. Make sure to unscrew the nut entirely and remove it from the faucet body.
Note that some older faucet models have a brass screw, which reinforces the cartridge shaft when the faucet body’s set screw is tightened against it. If your old cartridge has this screw, you may need to remove it and use it with the new cartridge since not all replacement cartridges come with a new screw.
4. Remove the Faucet Cartridge
After removing the retaining nut, you should be able to remove the old faucet cartridge easily. Some cartridges come out smoothly, while others require a bit of force. If there’s resistance, use your pliers to help lift out the cartridge.
Once you have removed the old cartridge, replace it with a new one. If you don’t already have a replacement cartridge, take the old one to the hardware store to find a matching replacement. Bringing along the old cartridge will ensure a perfect fit and make your purchase foolproof.
5. Replace the Faucet Cartridge
After you have obtained the replacement cartridge:
- Place it into the faucet body.
- Ensure it is securely placed and attach the retaining nut to the faucet.
- Use your pliers or wrench to tighten the nut and ensure it’s snug but not too tight.
Next, reassemble the faucet handle and cover plate, following the steps you took to remove them. Make sure the handle sits firmly and aligned on top of the cartridge. Using the screw you removed earlier, attach the handle back onto the faucet. Turn it clockwise to screw it in thoroughly.
Finally, turn on the water and test the faucet’s functionality. Turn the handle both ways to check if it’s turning smoothly. If the faucet is still leaking or there are other issues, try tightening the retaining nut more. If the problem persists, it may be time to call a professional plumber.
6. Reinstall the Faucet Handle
After you have reassembled the faucet handle and cover plate, the next step is to tighten the set screw or handle screw. If your faucet handle is attached to the baseplate with a set screw, you must locate the screw. Look for a small hole somewhere around the perimeter of the cover plate.
You’ll find a small Allen screw inside the hole. Select the proper size Allen wrench and gently turn the set screw clockwise until it’s firmly seated.
If your faucet handle is screwed onto the valve stem, you must tighten the handle screw. This screw is typically located underneath the handle and usually requires a Phillips screwdriver to tighten it. Hold the handle in place and tighten the screw until the handle feels secure.
Tightening the set screw or handle screw ensures that the handle is firmly attached to the faucet body and prevents it from wobbling or moving around. Doing this step correctly ensures the faucet handle lasts long and doesn’t loosen over time.
Call a Plumber for Trusted Faucet Repair or Replacement
Here at Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling, we specialize in all plumbing repairs and replacements. We’re here to help you with any faucet repair or replacement needs.
Our experienced technicians know all plumbing systems and can repair the issue quickly and effectively. Book an appointment with Hutchinson’s today to learn more about our plumbing services and to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.