Although it isn’t necessarily a significant problem when your faucet handles squeak, it can be annoying. Every time you move the handle, the tap emits a shrill, high-pitched squeak, so everyone in your home knows when the faucet is on or off.
While you could leave it be and likely not notice adverse effects, the fix is easy, so it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to resolve the problem. We did the research part for you and found a solution to the squeaky handle problem, so if your noisy faucet handle is driving you crazy, continue reading to learn more!
Why Does My Tap Squeal When I Turn It On?
There are a couple of things that can lead to a squeaky faucet. For example, high water pressure or a clogged aerator could create the squeaking noise you hear each time the faucet is on. However, if the noise seems to emanate from the handle, it’s probably something else.
If the handles make noise when you engage the water flow, it’s usually due to one of the following reasons:
- A loose valve stem vibrates when you turn it.
- The metal stem rubs against the valve housing.
- The inlet hole within the valve seat has a partial blockage, causing pressurized water to make noise as it flows from the plumbing and through the faucet.
- A loose washer at the end of the valve stem is loose and vibrating.
However, while each of these problems can cause your faucet to make noise, they don’t all cause a squeaky sound. Generally, when your faucet squeaks, it’s due to issues with the metal stem rubbing against the valve housing. So, the repair is straightforward.
How To Repair A Squeaky Faucet Handle
Once you determine that your faucet handle is the culprit of the sound, it’s time to start the repair process. The stem and housing rubbing against each other are the most common culprit of this sound, so all you’ll need to do is lubricate the faucet stem. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Screwdriver (flathead or Philips head, the type you’ll need depends on your faucet)
- Wrench or pliers
- A lubricant of your choice
Turn Off The Water
First, you’ll need to turn off the water to the sink. While you shouldn’t have any issues with a watery mess from simply removing the handle, it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side. So, before tinkering with the faucet, turn off the water to the tap.
Generally, there are shut-off valves underneath the sink. Turn both knobs clockwise to turn off the water flow. Then, drain the excess water from the lines by turning on the faucet until it stops running. If your sink and faucet don’t have isolated shut-off valves, you might need to turn off the water at the main water supply.
Remove The Handle
Next, it’s time to remove the handle to expose the stem. Before you start removing parts, cover the drain hole with a stopper or cloth to prevent any small pieces from slipping down the drain.
The process of removing the handle varies depending on the type of faucet. For example, if your faucet has a set screw, you can usually unthread the screw and remove the handle without an issue.
However, the screw might be hidden by a decorative cap, so you might have to do some sleuthing to find it. Check the lower part of the handle on the front, back, and sides for a small bump, as this could indicate a decorative cap. If you find a cap, use your fingernail or a flathead screwdriver to pry it carefully away from the faucet. Be careful not to scratch the faucet’s finish.
In other cases, the faucet might have a screwless design. Our guide outlines the potential handle types and how to remove them.
Once you find the screw (if applicable), unthread it and remove the handle by gently pulling it away from the faucet body. Set both pieces aside (plus the decorative cap if there is one) for later.
Examine The Faucet
With the handle out of the way, examine the valve stem and visible parts. Look for wear and tear, like loose parts that could rattle or vibrate in the faucet handle. If you find any worn-out or damaged parts, replace them as necessary.
Lubricate The Stem
Once you remove the handle, it’s time to lubricate the stem. Adding lubrication to this part of the faucet should relieve the squeaking issue, as it lessens the resistance as the handle moves. So, apply a layer to the stem using your lubricant of choice.
You can use plumber’s grease or any other lubricant that is safe for use on faucets. Ensure you coat every part of the stem visible to you.
Reinstall The Handle
After you lubricate the handle stem, it’s time to reinstall the faucet’s handle. Retrace your steps to reinstall it. If it has a set screw, position it in place on the handle stem, ensuring the orientation is correct. Then, use your screwdriver to thread the screw back into place and cover the hole with the decorative cap (if applicable).
Check Your Handiwork
The last step in this process is checking your handiwork. Turn the handle back and forth to check for squeaking. If everything checks out, turn the water to the faucet (or the whole house) back on. Recheck the handles with the water on to ensure there aren’t any unusual sounds emanating from the tap with the water running.
If the squeaky noise is gone, then you’ve fixed the problem! However, if the problem persists, it might fall to another area of the faucet, like the aerator.
Our guide outlines a few potential issues that can cause squeaking from your faucet and don’t involve the handle. If the sound seems to come from the entire faucet, check that guide for assistance, as it could be something else.