How to quickly fix a spinning faucet handle
If your faucet handle is spinning, you’re probably racking your brain trying to figure out why. Here’s the most common explanation. Spinning faucet handles can be caused by general wear and tear on the faucet stem, otherwise known as the faucet cartridge. This part can be replaced by removing the faucet from the sink and inserting the new cartridge.
What does the faucet cartridge do?
The faucet cartridge is a valve that turns with the faucet handle to control how much water flows through. Both the hot and cold handles have their own valve, so unless both handles are spinning, it’s a clear sign that one of the faucets is worn down and needs to be replaced.
Steps for repairing a stripped faucet
If your faucet handles look fine and you think the faucet cartridge is to blame, try these five simple steps to solving the problem. If you’re relatively handy, you could complete this job in about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the water supply. Be sure the water source for the faucet in question is turned to the off position, and cover the drain before working on the problem.
- Remove the faucet handles and cover plate. There should be a button or cap covering the screw to the handles. Use a flathead screwdriver to pop this off to gain access to the screw underneath, then remove the screw using the appropriate screwdriver.
- Remove the locking nut. Most faucet units have an extra component that keeps the faucet cartridge in place. You will need a pipe wrench to remove this locking nut. Pro tip: save the brass screw from the top of the faucet cartridge, as not all new cartridges come with this piece.
- Remove the faucet cartridge. Once you have removed the necessary screw and locking nut, the faucet cartridge should lift out easily. If it is “stuck” in place, you can use pliers to pull it out of position gently. At this point, you can keep the faucet cartridge and take it along for a road trip to the hardware store to find an exact replacement if you haven’t already purchased one.
- Replace with a new faucet cartridge. Retrace your steps in reverse order: drop the cartridge into place, tighten the locking nut, replace the cover plate, and turn on the water supply to test.
Call a plumber for faucet repair or replacement
If you have completed these five steps and your faucet handles are still spinning out of control, it might be time to replace the old faucet. Before you panic, bring in the professional team at Waldman Plumbing and Heating, Inc. to take a look at the situation and recommend solutions. To schedule an appointment, call us at 781-780-3184.