How to Tighten Kitchen Faucet Handle

As a homeowner, you’ve most likely had to deal with a dripping faucet at some point. When you turn the handle on your kitchen or bathroom sink to start running water, the handle will turn, but the water won’t come out. It could be dripping slowly, or it may not be dripping at all; either way, if this happens, it means parts inside the faucet are worn out and need replacing.

Over time, the handle of the faucet will get worn out, too. You can tighten it so that it no longer turns or so that it turns only a little bit and stops. Either way, this will stop the annoying drips and save you money on your water bill. You might be thinking about how to tighten kitchen faucet handle, which isn’t a big deal. Read on.

What Causes a Loose Kitchen Faucet Handle?

how to tighten kitchen faucet handle

A worn-out kitchen faucet handle is usually the result of a combination of two factors. The first factor is obvious: time. Since most people use their sink daily, the handle is turned more often and for longer periods than other parts in the house (such as your toilet ). As you turn it more and more, its connection to the valve inside becomes loose and less reliable – sometimes making it drip when you don’t want it to. Even if this didn’t happen, normal wear and tear would eventually cause enough degradation so that repairs need to be made.

The second factor that causes a leaky kitchen faucet handle is not considered often: temperature changes. When water heats up or cools down within the pipes, the resulting pressure changes place stress on your faucet’s internal pieces – increasing the likelihood of a leak. This is why you’ll sometimes find that your kitchen faucet handle leaks only when the water is running hot or cold.

Method #1: Tighten the Faucet

Tools Required

– Pliers. (needle nose preferred)

– Allen wrench. (usually included in new faucet installation kit)

1. Close the Faucet

The first thing you need to do is close the faucet so that no more water comes out. To do this, turn off the shut-off valve.

2. Remove the Handle

After closing the faucet, remove the screw from the bottom of the handle using pliers and open it as much as possible (the top should be facing up). Using your hand or pliers again, grip whatever part of the handle still shows and pull down firmly until it pops loose. Sometimes there will be a metal or plastic piece holding it in place; use needle-nose pliers to remove these pieces if necessary (they’ll typically break when you pull on them anyway). If nothing is holding it in place, skip step 3.

3. Remove Handle Nut

You should now be able to see the handle nut, which is the piece of metal or plastic next to the faucet body that holds the handle in place. Sometimes you may need needle nose pliers, but it will usually move enough so you can grip it with your fingers. If that’s all you have, use an Allen wrench (or just a standard Allen wrench) and turn it counter-clockwise until it comes free. Don’t worry about turning too far; remove it as much as possible and set it aside later.

4. Tighten the Handle

If, after removing the handle and handle nut, you find your new faucet installation kit has come with a replacement screw for this part, place it on the end of a new handle and screw it into place using your fingers. If there isn’t one, or this seems to be a very loose or uneven fit, you’ll need to tighten the current one. To do this, twist the existing screw clockwise as hard as possible with your fingers (or use pliers so as not to damage them).

You want it as tight as possible; if you can’t tighten it enough by hand, you will need to find an alternative method. It may help to try putting some silicone lubricant on the handle before trying again.

5. Reassemble

With the handle tightened or replaced if necessary, put everything back together in reverse order and turn on the water faucet to check for leaks.

Tip

If you’re having trouble getting the new faucet installation kit’s screw to work, you may need to tighten the handle nut farther than it originally was (so that there isn’t as much risk of it popping loose during use). You can accomplish this by using an adjustable wrench or pliers. Just be careful not to damage any parts!

Method #2 – Replacing the Cartridge

Tools Required

– Flathead screwdriver.

– Philips head screwdriver. (for new faucet installation kit)

1. Drain water

Before you can do anything, you need to ensure that no more water is coming out of the pipes. If your sink has an overflow drain, it will be located in a small hole in the back; use this if possible; otherwise, turn off your main shut-off valve and open any nearby faucets to let it drain. Either way, once all water has stopped running, remove the aerator attached to your faucet’s spout.

2. Remove the Handle

Just like with method #1, remove the screw from the bottom of the handle using pliers and open it as much as possible (the top should be facing up). Using your hand or pliers again, grip whatever part of the handle still shows and pull down firmly until it pops loose. Sometimes there will be a metal or plastic piece holding it in place; use needle-nose pliers to remove these pieces if necessary (they’ll typically break when you pull on them anyway). If nothing is holding it in place, skip step 3.

3. Remove Handle Nut

You should now be able to see the handle nut, which is the piece of metal or plastic next to the faucet body that holds the handle in place. Sometimes you may need needle nose pliers, but it will usually move enough so you can grip it with your fingers. If that’s all you have, use an Allen wrench (or just a standard Allen wrench) and turn it counter-clockwise until it comes free. Don’t worry about turning too far; remove it as much as possible and set it aside later.

4. Replace Cartridge

You should now be able to see the cartridge itself; depending on which type of faucet you have, there will either be four or six screws holding it in place (they may or may not look different from the handle nut). Using your flat head screwdriver, loosen all of them enough so that they don’t get stuck when you try pulling out the cartridge using needle nose pliers or your hand.

Note

In some cases, you’ll need to hold up the faucet at an angle while pulling out the cartridge with your hand. This is usually only necessary if your sink’s faucet doesn’t have a removable aerator or you can’t fit it under there. Either way, be careful not to scratch or damage any of the parts while doing this!

5. Insert New Cartridge

With a new cartridge in hand, insert it into place by pushing down on one side and lining up one of its clips with an existing slot before pushing all the way down until it clicks back into place. Once that’s done, tighten each screw just enough so that they don’t come loose during normal use but ensure that they’re still able to be turned (this is important later when you’re reassembling).

6. Reassemble

With the cartridge replaced, put everything back together in reverse order and turn on the water faucet to check for leaks. If it’s still leaking, try replacing the gaskets with new ones or tightening any screws that are too loose. If that doesn’t work, you may have a faulty cartridge, so return it for a refund/exchange and get another one instead!

Method #3 – Replacing the Seat Washer

Tools Required

– Flathead screwdriver.

1. Drain water

Like with the previous methods, you need to make sure that no more water is coming out of the pipes before you start doing anything. If there’s an overflow drain, use it; otherwise, turn off your main shut-off valve and open any nearby faucets to let it drain. Either way, once all water has stopped running, remove the aerator attached to your faucet’s spout.

2. Remove the Handle

Once everything has drained (see step #1), open up your faucet handle by unscrewing whatever kind of fastener holds it in place (whether a hex nut or a straight screw depending on your faucet’s design).

3. Remove Handle Nut

If you can’t see it easily, try using a flashlight to get a closer look at the underside of the handle, and you should spot the metal or plastic piece that holds it in place. Use needle-nose pliers or your hand to grip it and pull down firmly until it pops free. Sometimes there will be an Allen wrench holding it in place; use a regular Allen wrench for this if necessary (although sometimes one isn’t included, so skip this step instead).

4. Remove Carbide Ring

Now you should be able to see the seat washer itself, which is held in place by a thin metal ring known as a ‘carbide ring,’ located directly under the handle. Just grip it with your fingers and pull down to remove it before pulling out the seat washer as well.

5. Replace Seat Washer

To insert a new one, push it part of the way into place before using needle nose pliers or your hand to push it all the way down until you can see that it’s held in place by the carbide ring. Be careful not to bend anything while doing this!

6. Replace Hardware

With the old seat washer replaced, reattach everything in exactly the reverse order of how you took them apart (some faucets may have different types of fasteners, so always follow your faucet’s instructions if they aren’t covered here).

Conclusion – How to Tighten Kitchen Faucet Handle

So, there you have it, three home remedies to fix a leaking faucet. If none of these worked for you or your faucet still has other problems such as low water pressure, try calling the manufacturer and finding out what warranty options are available.

If nothing seems to work, the only option left is either hiring a professional or buying a new faucet altogether; neither one is recommended unless all else fails because each will cost you quite a bit of money.

Hopefully, you found this article useful; thanks for reading, and good luck!

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