A loose kitchen faucet, whether it is just a handle or the entire assembly, isn't something to ignore. Not only is it a nuisance, but the water often leaks out from the loose components. Eventually, the faucet may even stop working completely. Repairing or replacing a loose faucet as soon as you notice a problem can help prevent major issues later. The following are the most common reasons why a faucet is loose.
1. O-Ring Failure
The O-ring is the rubber gasket at the base of the faucet itself, where it screws into the rest of the faucet assembly. A worn-out O-ring can cause the faucet to wobble or turn too easily. It is also usually accompanied by leaking water around the base of the faucet where it connects to the sink-mounted part of the assembly.
O-rings are one of the simplest repairs. The faucet must be detached from the stem so that you can access the old O-ring. Then, the old ring is removed and a new one is fitted into place. The faucet should no longer wobble, spin, or leak once it is reassembled.
2. Loose Hardware
Most faucets are held in place with an under-sink bolt that screws in from underneath the sink and into the faucet assembly. Some designs may even feature multiple bolts, but having just one is the most common. Over time, this bolt can come loose, or it may even begin to corrode and fall apart.
If the bolt is simply loose, then you can tighten it with a properly-sized wrench. Replacing the washer between the sink and the bolt can help prevent it from loosening again. Nylon or rubber washers work well for ensuring a tight fit. For bolts that appear rusted or corroded, replacement of the bolt is necessary. Not only will corroded bolts work loose more easily, but they are also more likely to break off completely.
3. Stripped Stem
The faucets step or cartridge is what attaches the handles to the rest of the faucet assembly. On lever-style faucets, a loose stem may also cause the lever to loosen so it doesn't stay in position during use.
Repair is relatively simple. The faucet must be disassembled so that the stem or cartridge can be easily accessed. Then, the old cartridge is removed, and a new cartridge is installed before everything is reassembled. The key is finding the right cartridge for your make and model of faucet.
Contact a plumber to schedule a faucet repair before the problem becomes worse.