How to repair a loose faucet handle

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to repair a loose faucet handle
Repair a loose faucet handle with these simple steps. (Buena Vista Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The handle is vital to the correct operation of your faucet. The handle is attached to a piece of plumbing called the valve stem. This stem controls the flow of water through the faucet. On top of the stem is a series of grooves that fit into matching grooves on the underside of the handle. Repairing a loose faucet handle involves checking these grooves, as they can frequently wear down, causing the problem. Other things to check for are bad or stripped faucet handle screws.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Hex screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Teflon plumber's tape
  • Rubber washer
  • Faucet handle screw

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  1. 1

    Remove the faucet handle screw. Look on both the front and the back of the faucet handle for a small screw. Remove this with a screwdriver. On some faucet models, you will need a hex screwdriver or Allen wrench. If you don't see the screw, use the edge of a flat bladed screwdriver to pry the temperature indicator on top of the handle off to reveal the screw. Unscrew this with a screwdriver and lift straight off.

  2. 2

    Examine the valve stem. The top of the stem is star shaped to fit inside the faucet handle. If either this or the inside grooves on the handle are stripped, it won't grip. Wrap Teflon plumber's tape around the top of the stem. You may need to wrap it two or three times. Check by placing the handle over the top and checking the fit. Stop wrapping the tape when the handle fits snugly.

  3. 3

    Replace the faucet handle screw with a new one of the same size.

  4. 4

    Slip a rubber washer over the end of the faucet handle screw and slide it up underneath the head. Insert the screw into the faucet handle and tighten. The washer will help hold a loose handle in place.

  5. 5

    Replace the faucet temperature indicator if you removed it.

Tips and warnings

  • If none of the steps above work, both the stem and handle should be replaced.

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