Anything that is moved often, regardless of its material constituency, loosens over time. Metals, plastics, composites will all wear down a bit with regular use.
Such is true for kitchen faucets, for instance. In this post, we’ll look at Moen single handle kitchen faucets, which get double duty, so to speak. Whether it’s cold or hot water you want, the handles both and will, over time, become a bit loose.
Its composite materials include both metal and plastic – – the metal you see, and some plastic pieces in the guts of the kitchen faucet handle. Let’s examine how to lighten a loose Moen handle faucet, then.
The First Steps When Tightening a Loose Moen Faucet
As with any work on a faucet, there are a few first steps to take:
- Turn the water off. As with any plumbing repair work, we turn the water off for the obvious reasons. And remember – there are two feeds, the cold and the hot. Righty tighty is the rule.
- After turning the water feeds off, open the faucet. This will relieve any residual pressure and empty the faucet.
- Cover the sink drain. There’s at least one small part to the faucet, and we don’t want it going down the drain. A dishcloth will work, or a hand towel, too.
With these precautions now taken, we turn to the faucet handle itself.
Handy Tools to Gather
To tighten your Moen faucet, you won’t need your entire plumbing tool kit. But you will need a couple of handy items:
- A flashlight. You might need to look into the handle guts. There’s a brass ring at the rear of the guts chamber, and it has a spot for a turn tool for tightening. The flashlight will help you find that ring and location.
- Work gloves. If you’re not used to manual labor and are a noob at fixing things, the gloves will keep you from scraping a knuckle. The gloves are not necessary but might prove helpful.
- An adjustable wrench. The problem may simply be the nut that holds the mechanism together, and an adjustable wrench will do the trick of tightening that nut. Be careful, though, and don’t tighten it too much, as this will make the repaired handle harder to turn on and off.
- A utility knife. There’s a small cap that covers access to the nut holding the kitchen faucet handle to the gear mechanism, and it must be removed to take the handle cover off. By the way, this is the small piece you don’t want going down the drain, and thus the recommendation to cover that drain hole.
- An Allen wrench. This will be used to insert into the hole the previously mentioned small cap covered. We’ll talk more about this in a moment.
With tools gathered and handy, work can begin.
Remove the Cap that Covers Access to the Hex Nut
Locate the small cap mentioned above. It will be where the handle impacts with the gear cover. It’s small and not necessarily easy to access, depending on how close the faucet is to a wall.
When you’ve located the cap, use your utility knife to remove it. Set it aside in a safe place where you’ll not likely lose it.
Use an Allen Wrench For The Hex Nut
With the cap removed, insert the Allen wrench into the opening until you feel it fit into the hex nut inside the gear cover. Give it a turn or two counterclockwise (lefty loosey). You do not need to turn it more than that, only enough to loosen the handle for removal.
Give the handle a little jiggle to feel it loosen, and when it feels “right” simply pull it out of the gear cover. Set it aside and out of the way.
You will now be able to remove the gear cover by merely unscrewing it. Again, lefty loosey.
Inside the Moen Kitchen Faucet
With the cover off your Moen kitchen faucet, shine the flashlight on the inside gear chamber. You will see a hexagonal nut on the gear shaft’s outer edge, and behind it, deeper inside the box, you will see a brass ring.
With your adjustable wrench, give the nut on the outer edge a quarter turn if it feels loose. Give the entire shaft a grip to see if it is still jiggly (not a technical term, but you know what we mean). If there is no jiggle, the problem of your loose faucet is cured.
Please remember you do not want to tighten that nut too much, or it will make the kitchen faucet handle more difficult to turn on and off when it is re-assembled.
If the jiggle persists, turn your attention to the brass ring at the rear of the chamber. That ring will have a hole of a small cut-out around the perimeter for the insertion of a tool.
No special tool is needed here, though. Your utility knife, even the tip of a steak knife, or even your Allen wrench, will do. Find the hole or cut-out with your tool of choice, and turn the brass ring in a clockwise direction (righty tighty). Turn it until it feels firm.
Give the entire shaft another grip and test for its jiggliness (you know what we mean). It’s very likely there will be no give on it, and the problem of your loose Moen single handle kitchen faucet has been solved.
Re-Assemble the Moen Kitchen Faucet
You know how you took the faucet apart, and now you simply reverse the process.
- Screw the cover back on the gearbox. Righty tighty does the trick.
- Turn the end of the shaft pointing down. This will make it easy to fit the handle back on.
- Put the handle back onto the shaft, making sure you have access to the hole that gives you access to the hex nut.
- Insert the Allen wrench into the hole until it engages with the hex nut. It should require only a couple of turns to tighten. Again, a clockwise direction for that turn.
- Finally, replace the cover over that hole. Your finger and thumb will be enough to accomplish this.
You’ve already ascertained the jiggle is gone, no more loose handle. You’ve made sure you didn’t tighten the mechanism too much, so turning the water lines on and off should be easy and smooth again.
Final Steps to Tighten Moen Kitchen Faucet Handle
You’re almost done. The handle is replaced after tightening, and the only things remaining are to turn the supply line valves back on and remove the towel that protected the drain.
Both feeds need to be turned back on – hot and cold – and tested. Turn the handle, make sure water is flowing, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Videos on How To Tighten a Loose Moen Kitchen Faucet
As with most DIY handyman jobs these days, there are numerous YouTube videos that give simple how-to instructions you can watch.
We found a couple of them for you if you’d prefer to learn by watching rather than by reading:
We chose these because they are slightly different and show two of the steps we highlighted above – – tightening the outer hexagonal nut at the end of the shaft and tightening the inner brass ring.
Between our step by step instructions above, and these videos, there is now really no excuse for you. It’s easy and simple and will not require a plumber or hired handyman. Be your own handyman and save the money.