Regardless of how strong your kitchen faucet is, it will eventually develop a problem. For instance, the faucet’s handle may become loose, leading to an inability to control water pressure or even shut off the water.
Being unable to control water pressure can stop you from working as efficiently at the sink as you may need to. Also, a tap that won’t close—or leaks around the faucet base—can lead to high water bills.
Is the single-handle kitchen tap loose at your home or business? Here is everything to know about how to tighten the kitchen faucet yourself.
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What Are Faucet Types?
A single-handle faucet has one handle for controlling both the water pressure and temperature, in contrast to double-handle taps, which feature separate controls for hot and cold water. Each faucet representation has its own repair requirements.
Single-handle types include pull-out or pull-down faucets as well as traditional stationary faucets. Brands such as Glacier Bay, Moen, and Delta are popular producers of these types of kitchen water outlets.
What Causes a Loose Kitchen Faucet Handle?
If your kitchen faucet handle is wobbly, it could be due to the wear and tear of its components, or other issues, such as:
- Improper installation: Using the wrong-sized piping, screw, faucet, or other components will lead to a loose tap.
- Loose screws: Multiple screws hold the faucet pipes to the sink’s base. If these screws come undone, your faucet will become shaky due to either vibrations at the sink or faulty installation.
- Loose faucet base: The spigot’s handle fits in the center of the faucet’s base. With each use, the faucet base gradually comes loose. When a kitchen faucet has a loose base, it can affect the entire fixture’s performance or cause water leakages.
- Worn-out O-ring: Depending on the faucet’s design, it may have an O-ring that keeps the handle in position. The O-ring may slacken after years of intensive use. When that happens, you have to replace the ring.
If you don’t identify the exact cause of your shaky faucet before performing repairs, the fixture could become wobbly again a few days after repairing it. In some cases, the problem might require replacing the entire faucet.
How to Fix a Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet Loose at its Base
As we said, the right way to fix a loose faucet depends on its design and the problem it’s having. If the entire fixture is shaky, it likely has loose nuts at the base. Because Moen faucets are the most common on the market, we outline below the steps for fixing loose faucet bases on Moen fixtures or similar faucets.
Required tools for the job (I linked to my favorites on Amazon):
- Hand gloves
- Adjustable wrench or Hex head wrench
- Basin wrench
- Mini knife
- Masking tape
- Teflon tape
- The right Allen wrench size (3/32 inch is ideal for most faucets)
What you need to do:
- Clear under the sink to create maximum space to work.
- Plug the sink’s drain to prevent nuts, screws, or other small components from falling in.
- Switch off the water supply valves from below the sink. If you can’t find a switch under the sink, turn off the main water line.
- Open the faucet to verify that the water supply lines are off and release any pressure in the water lines. Skipping this step will leave you with a big mess when you undo the pipes.
- Under the kitchen faucet, find the water lines and remove them with the adjustable wrench. Wearing gloves during this process will prevent scraping your knuckles.
- Use a basin wrench to hold the nuts connecting the faucet to the base. Tighten the loose nuts to re-secure the faucet and eliminate shaking.
- Open the water supply valves and test the faucet to verify that water is flowing without leaks.
If there are no leaks and the faucet is steady, you have solved the problem.
How to Tighten a Loose Handle on a Single Faucet
If just the handle and not the entire faucet is shaky, you will need the same tools listed above. The repair process requires that you:
- Clear the sink, plug the drain, and turn off the water supply valves.
- Check to see if the faucet’s handle is traditional or one with a big decorative head. Traditional handles have a set screw at the top or under small colored or metal decorative caps.
- If the set screw is visible, hold the faucet in place and tighten the screw. If you can’t see the screw, it will be under the cap, which you can remove with a flathead screwdriver or your small knife.
- Tighten the screw while holding the handle in place. Once the screw is tight, the handle should stop shaking.
- If your kitchen faucet has a decorative handle, locate the rubber cap at its top or sides. Remove the cap to find the hole hiding the setscrew. You can undo the setscrew with a flathead screwdriver and pliers, but we recommend using an Allen wrench. The wrench’s size must fit inside the handle cap.
- Slide the wrench into the hole until you find the setscrew. You will have to work by feel since the screw is out of sight.
- Once the Allen wrench engages with the screw, tighten it by twisting in a clockwise direction. Once you feel resistance, stop tightening. If you make it too tight, the faucet handle can become challenging to operate.
- Open the water supply valves to verify that no leakages exist and that the faucet is properly functioning.
If the faucet handle stops shaking after the repairs, and everything else works smoothly, you can resume using your faucet.
Hiring an emergency plumber to fix a wobbly faucet can be expensive. Save yourself some money by first trying to fix the problem yourself. If your attempts to fix it fail, then you should call a professional plumber.
Remember that the best way to fix your shaky faucet will depend on the fixture’s design. Also, depending on the fault, replacing the faucet may be necessary for a long-lasting solution.
Make sure to use the right tools for the job to avoid doing more damage than good. If you stick with our above-listed steps, you should be able to restore your wobbly kitchen faucet within minutes.
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