If your faucet handle feels loose or wobbly, it may be because the set screw is stripped. It’s a very common problem, sometimes making the whole scenario messy and unhygienic. But it’s easy to solve with a few simple tools.
In this discussion, I will show you how to fix a stripped faucet handle. So, you can use your faucet again without any leaks or drips. Before that, reading more information relevant to the fixing can be beneficial in the future.
What Causes a Stripped Faucet Handle?
Suppose you were using the faucet and its handle last night. Everything worked fine. But when you wake up today and see the faucet handle is not working anymore. It’s stripped! With a little patience and the right-hand tools, you can remove a stripped faucet handle without too much trouble. Okay, let me share why this thing happens.
One of the most common causes of a stripped faucet handle is simply worn and tear on its stem (known as a faucet cartridge). With the pace of time, the screw holding the handle can become loose. It allows the handle to move back and forth. Hence, it makes the screw strip, making it difficult to remove the handle.
The following common reason for a stripped faucet handle is using the wrong size wrench when you try to remove it. Typically, a very small wrench can slip and strip the screw. To avoid this, use the correct size wrench when removing a faucet handle.
Having an oldish faucet can be another reason the faucet handle is stripped. Years of use may invite corrosion or decaying of the material used to make the faucet. As a result, you need to replace it with a new one.
Tools To Fix a Stripped Faucet Handle
You need some tools like the below to take care of a stripped faucet handle:
- Wrenches: one Allen and one socket
- A flathead screwdriver
- Tapes: one roll of Teflon/plumber’s tape and one measuring tape
- Dry cleaning cloth or rag
7 Steps To Repair a Stripped Faucet Handle
Once you have all the tools I mentioned, start the do-it-yourself (DIY) faucet handle repairing job. To do this, follow these simple steps:
1.Turn the Main Water Valve Off
Nobody will love to see the kitchen or bathroom getting flooded. Me, too! So, if you are working with a stripped faucet handle, firstly, shut off the main water valve that supplies water to the faucet. Sometimes, you may not need this step if you have a dedicated water line for the specific faucet.
Faucets on the sink are likely to have a valve within the built-in cabinet or directly below it. You can turn the handle on the clockwise track to turn off the water supply. Thus, turning it off can save water and let you work freely.
2.Drain the Pipes to Eliminate the Excess Water
Working with water is a job with lots of screws and a few tools. So, there is a risk of losing the screws which you can avoid by following this step.
Well, you may forget this step as many repairers ignore draining the pipes to conduct what I am talking about here. But it is a compelling idea as there is still a chance to have water in the faucet. You can easily turn on the faucet and drain it fully to eliminate water. Then, turn off the stripped faucet again.
3.Remove faucet handles or cover plates
You should separate the faucet handles or the cover plates, referred to as an index, after draining the water. It may depend on the place where the body of the faucet connects to the cartridge. Maybe your faucet hand has no index, as it depends on the faucet design. Otherwise, it can just be the bare handle.
Now, try using your fingers to unscrew the handle. If you cannot do it, take the flathead screwdriver and start unscrewing it. Usually, the connecting screws can be either an Allen head or a Phillips head screw. If so, use the Allen or socket wrench to remove the screws. Therefore, take time to unscrew the handle; otherwise, things can be different.
4.Remove the Screw or Locking Nut
While removing the faucet, you can find a locking nut that securely attaches the cartridge. Most models of a faucet have this setting. Yet, you can remove it using a pipe wrench.
You can also find a small brass-made screw on the cartridge top. You can remove that as well and leave it separately. If your new replacement cartridge does not have the brass screw, you can use the separated one.
5.Separate the Cartridge from the Faucet
So, you have removed the locking nut, right? Now you can lift the cartridge out of its previous position. You can use the pliers if you find them hard to separate. Then, take the old cartridge to a hardware store if you have not already ordered a replacement piece.
6.Install the New Faucet Cartridge
It’s time to install the replacement stem and handle against the old stripped one. So, follow me by inserting the stem into the pipe.
Now, put the stem’s thread area into the wall pipe first. Then, take the wrench and securely tighten it. Multiple handles on the faucet may require this step repeatedly.
Next, set the faucet handle by pushing over the stem. Take the screwdriver, tighten the new handle, install the index, and start installing the spout (if you are working with the bathtub faucet).
To install the spout, take the Teflon tape and secure the handle by wrapping it at least 3 times. Then, install the new spout using an Allen wrench by turning it in a clockwise direction.
7.Wipe the Area
Lastly, wipe off everything to clean the area using a dry cleaning cloth or rags. Turn on the main water valve and see everything is working fine. That’s it!
When Should You Seek a Plumber to Fix the Faucet?
If you have a stripped faucet handle, it’s essential to know when to call a plumber to fix the problem. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, a plumber may be able to fix the problem quickly and easily. However, if the problem is more intense, it’s vital to call a plumber as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
In short, if your faucet handle is stripped, there are a few simple tools you can use to fix it. First, turn the main water valve off and remove the faucet handle or cover plate. Then, remove the screw or locking nut. Install the new faucet cartridge to complete the task.
I hope now you know well how to fix a stripped faucet handle easily. Thanks for coming to this blog.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.