How to Fix a Stripped Faucet Handle in 10 Minutes or Less

A spinning faucet handle can be quite annoying, especially since it’s fairly common anc can happen over time. Thankfully, for just about $20, and using a few screwdrivers and a wrench, the problem can be fixed.

How to Fix a Stripped Faucet Handle in 10 Minutes or Less

A spinning faucet handle is usually caused by wear and tear on the faucet cartridge. The cartridge attaches to the handle, and the two work in conjunction to control the flow of water. When the cartridge is stripped, the handle will feel loose, or just spin. 

Here are five easy steps on how to fix the problem.

1. Turn the Water Off

The valves to turn the water off to your sink should be right below the faucet. Turn the handle clockwise in order to turn off the water to the faucet. If you’re working on a bathtub, you may have to turn off your home’s water supply while you work. You’ll also want to cover the drain, just to make sure nothing important, like screws, go down it and disappear. 

2. Remove Faucet Handles or Cover Plates

Depending on where your handles are in relation to the faucet cartridge, you’ll either have to remove the handles, or the cover plates. While the handles can usually be unscrewed by hand, the cover plates will need to be popped off with a flathead screwdriver. The connecting screw may require either a Phillips head screwdriver or an allen wrench. 

3. Remove Locking Nut

Removing the handle should reveal a locking nut that secures the faucet cartridge. Remove this nut with a pipe wrench. There may be a small brass screw on top of the cartridge. It’s recommended that you keep this, as not all replacement cartridges will include a screw. 

4. Remove Faucet Cartridge

Once the locking nut is removed, the faucet cartridge should just lift out. If it’s a bit tough, use pliers. If you haven’t purchased the new cartridge yet, take the old one with you to the hardware store, in order to compare sizes. 

5. Replace the Faucet Cartridge

Once you have the right replacement faucet cartridge, put it on, and retrace all the steps you took, working backwards to reassemble the handle. Then, turn the water back on, and test out how you did. 

When to call a plumber to fix your faucet

If you’re unable or uncomfortable fixing the faucet, it may require a professional. At Rick’s Plumbing, we’ve been helping homeowners in New Haven and Fairfield Counties since 1992. To schedule a look at your faucets, call us today at 203-874-6629.