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How to Tighten Kitchen Faucet: Easy Step by Steps

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Calling out a plumber to take care of a minor issue with your plumbing is rarely worthwhile, especially if the issue is a loose kitchen faucet or a shakey handle. But, there’s some good news, repairing these awkward and inconvenient issues is easier than you might think; you tighten a faucet yourself with basic tools.

So, if you want to fix a wobbly faucet without calling in a professional, keep reading – we’ll show you how to tighten a kitchen faucet base or handle.

What Causes a Loose Kitchen Faucet? 

Worn O-Rings 

O-rings are thin rubber bands used to seal kitchen faucets and prevent leakage from the water flow in the pipes. Over time, these rubber bands wear down and eventually break.

If an O-ring in your kitchen faucet is wearing out, you might notice some leaking when you turn the faucet on. You might also notice the faucet becoming looser when you go to use it. Luckily, worn O-rings are easy to replace.

Loose Faucet Base 

If you have a loose kitchen faucet, one of the first things to check is the nut on the mount underneath the sink cabinet; this nut secures the kitchen faucet to its base on the underside.

If your faucet has not been secured properly during installation or the nut has come free due to overuse, you might have to fix it with a wrench or hire a plumber. A loose base can cause your faucet to leak.

Loose Screws

Normally, screws are used to secure the faucet neck or the taps to the underside of the sink cabinet. If your faucet has become loose on the countertop, check and replace the screws. Always use high-quality fixings to prevent the faucet from becoming loose again.

Tools For Tightening a Loose Kitchen Faucet Base

  • A basin wrench – This is a classic plumbing tool and the main thing you need if you want to tighten a faucet base and make it secure in the long term. This tool is shaped like an ordinary wrench, but it has an extension neck making it easier to work with in awkward positions under the sink.
  • Replacement nut – Chances are you won’t have to replace the nut; you will only have to tighten it with the wrench. That said, you might need to replace the nut as well if the thread is worn out. You can tell if the thread is worn if the problem persists shortly after you have tightened the nut with the wrench.
  • Gloves – Plumbers use special gloves when working under the sink, and you should too if you want to protect your hands and carry out a professional job. The gloves used by plumbers are disposable nitrile gloves that provide extra grip for checking the tightness of the screws and protecting your hands.
  • A boiler suit – A boiler suit is not necessary, but workwear of some kind is recommended for this type of job to protect your clothes from staining, water, and tears.

How to Tighten Kitchen Faucet Base

Empty everything under the sink cabinet – for a job done properly, you need to set things up correctly. There’s nothing worse than household items and appliances getting in the way of your work when you’re in the flow.

Usually, people store cleaning products and appliances under the sink – make sure this area is free from clutter and clear enough for you to lay inside the sink cabinet on your back.

1. Turn off the water supply valves

Underneath the sink, you will come across two water valves which allow you to turn the water on and off. Technically, turning off the water supply is not necessary to tighten the faucet, but it is recommended. In the unlikely case the pipe bursts, you could be soaked by water, both hot and cold.

2. Locate the kitchen faucet nut

If you need to tighten a kitchen faucet, there will be a loose nut to locate; this might require some investigation on your part, and you might have to squeeze into awkward places, but this is normal and to be expected. Once you locate the nut, you can use a standard wrench to twist the nut clockwise.

3. Tighten the nut with an adjustable wrench

Attempting to tighten a faucet under the sink isn’t easy; you will be upside down, and there is limited space to maneuver, so it’s a good idea to make use of every advantage. In this case, an adjustable wrench increases the reach and gives you more flexibility.

4. Check the faucet base is tight and reconnect the water supply

Before you climb out from beneath the sink and high-five your partner, you need to double-check the job has been done correctly. Check the faucet is tight by giving it a push, then reconnect the water supply by turning it on with the valves or switching the mains back on.

Tools For Tightening a Loose Kitchen Faucet Handle

  • A basin wrench – This hex head wrench can be acquired at any good hardware store; it is available in different sizes, so choose the one that’s most suited to your style of sink. A hex head wrench has a long neck that’s easier to use in small spaces, but it’s still a good idea to learn how it works before using it.
  • Replacement faucets – Replacement faucets might not be required for your faucet tightening project. But if there’s an issue with the faucet integrity and the decorative caps become damaged, you might have to replace the entire unit.
  • A screwdriver – Most kitchen faucets are secured with a screw underneath the sink; this screw attaches the faucet to the countertop and needs to be tightened or replaced. It’s always useful to have replacement screws in case the threads are damaged and don’t secure the faucet properly.

6 Steps to Tighten a Loose Faucet Handle

1. Turn off the water supply lines

Loose faucet handles cause a leaky kitchen faucet when trying to use the appliance. To repair a slack faucet handle, turn off the water supply lines first to protect yourself from water pressure incidents. The valves are under the sink; switch them off by slowly turning them clockwise.

2. Determine which kind of kitchen faucets you have

Before you begin your faucet replacement project, you need to check the make and model of the kitchen faucet.

Why? Because not all faucet handles are universal, the last thing you want is to unscrew the handles only to discover that you have to return to the hardware store or wait for an order.

If you have a Moen faucet, check out our specific guide: How to tighten a Moen kitchen faucet

3. Remove the decorative cap if necessary 

Many faucets come with a decorative cap that covers the brass screw underneath, but it can be removed. Remove the decorative cap by flicking it off with a screwdriver.

4. Tighten using a screwdriver

Underneath the cap, you’ll find the screw that holds the faucet handle tight. When you locate the screw, it’s time to replace or tighten it with a flat head screwdriver. Anti-clockwise loosens it and clockwise tightens it.

5. Check the faucet handle is tight and replace the decorative cap

Once again, you don’t want to finish the job too early and then have to get your tools out again, so make sure you check and double-check the tightness of the screws before you pack everything up and replace the decorative cap.

You should also check the tightness of the faucet from the underside and from above.

6. Re-open the water supply valves

Finally, it’s time to re-open the water supply valves and use your faucet as normal. There are two ways to turn off the water; you can use the valves beneath the sink or turn the water off at the mains.

If you have used the valves, turn them slowly in an anti-clockwise direction and check the faucet is working.

How to Remove a Kitchen Faucet Handle Without Screws

If you want to access the kitchen faucet for any reason – perhaps to replace the faucet cartridge inside – you must first remove the handle. It can be challenging to remove a kitchen faucet without screws. However, you don’t have to hire a professional to carry out the job; all you need is some know-how.

First, you need to shut off the water by turning the valves beneath the sink clockwise. Next, remove the faucet caps to protect them from damage and plug the drain while you remove the set screw from the faucet base. Finally, take the handle off gently; you can also clean it with vinegar to remove any grime from underneath while it is off.

Also Read: How to clean a faucet.

Summary on How to Tighten a Kitchen Faucet

A single-hole kitchen faucet is defined by the number of holes needed to attach the faucet onto the kitchen countertop – some faucets use three holes. Tightening a single-hole kitchen faucet is straightforward because it connects directly to the water lines, unlike other styles.

Once again, you will first have to switch off the water. Locate the loose nut beneath the kitchen sink and choose an appropriate hex head wrench to easily tighten the faucet.

Double-check the base is tight on top before turning the water supply back on and checking everything works as it should.

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