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How To Tighten A Loose Sink Handle

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Many modern kitchen and bathroom sinks use a single handle connected to a diverter to control hot and cold water. However, after constant operation, you may notice they feel loose. The first part to wear on a faucet is commonly the stem attached to the diverter, which eventually causes leaks.

It is important that you fix the loose handle to avoid wasting water. You should be able to do this yourself by following these tips.

Prepare to Fix the Loose Handle

To fix the loose handle, gather

  • work gloves
  • rags
  • masking tape
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • basin wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • hex wrench
  • adjustable wrench
  • plumber's jelly or grease
  • plumber's tape

Shut off the hot and cold water supply valves under the sink by turning them to the right. If you can't find the valves, turn off the main house water supply. Rotate the handle to release water pressure.

Access the Handle Screws

Some faucets may have a metal or plastic button in the center of the handles. Before you loosen the entire handle, remove the handle button by inserting a flat-blade screwdriver under it, and tighten the screw. If it doesn't' fix the problem, detach the button completely.

The handle will either have a cap attached by a hex screw covering a hidden Phillips screw or an exposed Allen screw. Cover the sink opening with rags to prevent losing parts down the drain, and use the hex wrench to detach the cap screw. If there are no cap screws, wrap the caps with masking tape, and pry the caps from the handle. 

Tighten Handle Screws

Look for the set screw behind the handle, and use the wrench or screwdriver to tighten it. To loosen screws that seem to stick, coat them with plumber's grease. Avoid making connections to tight. Clean around the stem and inside the handle body, replace the caps, and test the handle.

If the screw isn't loose, tighten the stem. Loosen the set screw, and detach the handle. While the handle is off, check for damaged washers. Wrap a layer of plumber's tape around the stem without overlap, then reinstall the handle. If it is still loose, wrap another layer of tape around the stem.

Tighten Base Fittings

Remove objects under the cabinet to access the supply valves, and position yourself under the cabinet. Shine a light on the hose nuts on the base, and set an adjustable wrench to fit on them. 

Detach the nuts with the wrench, and remove the lines. Use the basin wrench to rotate the nut on the faucet base to the right, and reconnect the lines.

If you cannot fix this problem yourself, contact a company, like Plumb-It Inc, for more help.