Although faucets are ubiquitous household items, most people have not learned the correct ways to remedy problems associated with them. In particular, they often have no clue about how to fix a squeaky faucet handle on their own.
That being said, there are concrete steps that everyone can take to deal with this annoying hiccup. Keep on reading to discover them!
Things You Need To Fix A Squeaky Faucet Handle
Here is the list of necessary items to prevent your faucet from producing unpleasant, high-pitched noises:
- A screwdriver/ a drill
- A piece of cloth
- Undiluted vinegar or lemon juice
- A crescent wrench
- Petroleum jelly (often sold under the brand name Vaseline)
As you can see, this problem can be tackled with standard tools at your disposal. But, if you don’t have them, head to your local grocery store. They are readily available in virtually any residential area.
6 Steps To Fix A Squeaky Faucet Handle
Step 1: Close off the drain
Before you start fixing the faucet, it’s a good idea to shut it off as well as close the drain tightly. This is because if you happen to let excess grease go down the drain, it will float around, solidify, and cling to your pipes. In addition, as the coating accumulates over time, it can cause unwanted blockages and consequently clog up your drain pipes.
Another advantage of covering the drain in advance is that you can prevent the tiny screw in your faucet’s handle from dropping down.
The next thing you need to do is take the faucet apart. This can be pretty challenging if you have no clue about its components. To help you, we’ll break this down into three smaller steps, including removing the screw, handle, and brass nut in sequence.
Step 2: Loosen the screw on the faucet’s handle
To separate the handle from the valve stem, you need to look for a hole with a fixed screw in it. The screw is most often found at the back of the handle, but sometimes it’s set on the right side.
Then, use a right-sized screwdriver to turn the fixed screw in a counterclockwise motion. Don’t forget to apply firm pressure on the screwdriver. You need to keep turning until the screw can be gently pulled out of the handle.
If the stubborn screw refuses to come off no matter how hard you try to press it, then a screwdriver no longer cuts it, and you may want to swap it with a drill. The drill allows you to unscrew in a much more forceful manner, even when you set it at low speed.
Read more: How to remove faucet handle without screws?
Step 3: Lift the handle off
If you’re lucky, then at this point, you can effortlessly prise off the handle by hand.
But some faucet handles are not that easy to remove due to the “calcium mineral deposit” phenomenon. This happens when calcium in hard water builds up under your handle, making it stuck and almost unremovable. Fortunately, you can counter this problem quite easily.
All you need to do is to soak a piece of cloth in either pure vinegar or lemon juice, then use it to cover the handle for over two to three hours. During this period, the high concentration of acid in these solutions can break down the calcium deposits, enabling you to pull off the faucet’s handle.
The most common pitfall in this step is using adulterated vinegar or lemon juice. Unfortunately, such low-cost, low-quality products are not acidic enough to dissolve calcium buildups. So, if pure varieties are nowhere to be found in your neighborhood, you should make them yourself.
Step 4: Remove the brass nut
To do that, use a crescent wrench to loosen the brass nut underneath the faucet stem. After that, you can take the brass nut out.
Step 5: Add grease to the faucet’s inner workings
By now, you can easily take out the cartridge, which refers to the inner part of the faucet stem. Some people like to buy to utterly new cartridge because it is a sure-fire way to eliminate squeaking sounds.
However, we do not recommend this approach because the price of a brand new cartridge can be as high as 25 dollars. What’s more, just like your old cartridge, the new one may start to squeak after a while.
What you should do instead is coat the cartridge with a layer of petroleum jelly. The greasy nature and thick consistency of petroleum jelly serve to stop your faucet from emitting displeasing sounds. In addition, petroleum jelly is a much more affordable option, retailing at a mere 4 dollars for a whopping 13 oz.
We also want to emphasize that a liberal amount of petroleum jelly is needed to ensure effective and long-lasting lubrication. If you apply a thin layer, your faucet will soon squeak again, and you will have to fix it more frequently.
Step 6: Reassemble the faucet handle
To put all of the components together, first, you need to put the faucet cartridge back at its original position. You can proceed by placing the brass nut around the cartridge and fastening it with the crescent wrench. We suggest that you should muster as much force as possible to tighten the nut as well as the cartridge.
Subsequently, you should slip the faucet handle on top of the brass nut and put the screw back in place. Then, use the screwdriver (or the drill) to turn the screw clockwise. This allows you to tighten the handle firmly.
Why does my faucet make a high-pitched noise?
This issue can be ascribed to calcium deposits or worn-out faucet stems, both of which can have a negative impact on the water flow inside your faucet. When the water’s force is too strong, it puts excessively high pressure on your faucet, causing it to produce screeching sounds.
To prevent this problem, you’d better spray vinegar around the bottom of your faucet regularly because this interferes with the accumulation of calcium.
Also, when buying a faucet, you can opt for low-flow versions. As the name suggests, these models regulate water flow, ensuring that it does not exert too much pressure on your faucet.
How long should a faucet cartridge last?
It’s hard to tell because faucet cartridges’ quality in general, and longevity in particular, vary significantly depending on how much you pay for them. But, to be more specific, the most expensive cartridges, which cost roughly 30 dollars, can last a good two or three decades.
Mid-range cartridges should be your go-to option if you don’t want to splurge on such costly items. On average, they remain functional over 15 years.
After reading your step-by-step guide, you already have a thorough grasp of how to fix a squeaky faucet handle. We hope you will soon get the hang of this straightforward procedure with a bit of practice.
Also, are you struggling with any other domestic problems? Please comment below! Our experts are always willing to offer sound advice and detailed instructions.