A leaky faucet can waste over 3,000 gallons of water every single year. This is just at the rate of 1 drop per second – if the leak is faster then it could be even higher. This can increase your water bill up to 10% per month; never mind the environmental impacts of all that wasted water, or the toll that annoying dripping sound can take. Luckily, Moen is a trusted brand that produces high quality faucets. That doesn’t mean they can’t leak, although often, all that is needed is the faucet handle(s) need tightening. This article addresses specifically how to tighten Moen bathroom faucet handle(s).
What Causes Faucets to Leak?
There are four major reasons faucets leak:
- Faulty Cartridges. One of the most common reasons that a faucet leaks is due to a faulty cartridge. A cartridge sits inside of the handles of the faucet. They help to control the flow of water through the taps by turning with the handle. They tend to be plastic and are secured with a brass nut. It is the breaking down of the plastic in these cartridges that can cause water to leak by.
- Corroded Valve Seats. Another common cause of leaking faucets are corroded valve seats. These are used to connect the tap and faucet. Water contains many natural minerals which can cause sediment to build up on the valve seats it passes through. This can then lead to leaks in the faucet.
- Corroded Washers. If one of the washers holding the valve seat in place has corroded, this can also cause faucets to drip. These corrode due to regular friction from the water moving through the tap. This tends to present as drips around the spouts of the faucet.
- Incorrectly Installed or Wrong Size Washers. Additionally, if the washers are the wrong size or have been installed incorrectly, this can lead to leaks.
How to Tighten Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle
First determine which faucet handle is causing the leak and needs to be repaired. You should be able to do this by isolating the water valve to each faucet; this can be found underneath the counter – there should be a valve for each faucet (hot and cold).
Turn both valves off and then open the faucets to release the remaining water. Close the faucets and turn one of the valves on. Run the water associated with that faucet and see if a leak is occurring. Keep in mind that it could be both that are causing the issue.
To do this you will need a pair of channel lock pliers. These are angled-head pliers with an adjustable opening. This is controlled by a sliding handle without adjusting your hand position. They are used to grip things that may be hard to hold by hand.
The only other thing that you need to tighten a faucet handle is a replacement cartridge if you have decided this is the issue. On Moen faucets, cartridges are usually the root issue.
The next step is to dismantle the leaking faucet. Begin by unscrewing the base of the tap handle – you should be able to do this by hand. Turn in a counterclockwise motion to loosen it.
Remove the faucet handle and you should see the plastic cartridge, held in place by a brass nut.
Turn the nut counterclockwise using your channel lock pliers. This will loosen and unscrew it.
Look at the exposed cartridge and how it is sat inside the body of the faucet handle. Often you will find small square latches to secure it in the correct position, so take note of where they are.
Use your channel lock pliers to grab and pull the cartridge straight up to remove it. Inspect the cartridge to see if there is any dirt, abrasions, or damage that may be causing the leak. Wipe it with a soft, clean cloth and reinsert it into the faucet. Tighten everything up and test again to see if it still leaks.
Replacing the Moen Bathroom Faucet Cartridge
If cleaning and reinserting the cartridge doesn’t work, then it’s likely that it needs to be replaced. Fortunately, replacement cartridges are easy to come by; all you need is the model number of the existing cartridge.
Once you have a replacement cartridge, it is simple to install. Align the hole in the faucet handle body with the square protruding tab on the cartridge. Insert the replacement cartridge into the hole.
Place the nut on top of the cartridge. Turn clockwise to tighten it and secure the cartridge in place using the channel lock pliers. Try not to over-tighten the nut. It must only be screwed on enough to prevent water from leaking.
Return the faucet handle to its original position. Tighten by hand, turning clockwise until it fits snugly.
Turn the water on and check to see if the taps are still leaking.
How Do You Clean a Moen Bathroom Faucet?
You should clean your faucet with a soft, damp cloth. You can use a mild dish soap to clean any dirt off of the surface of the faucet. Rinse well with clean water and dry with a lint-free cloth.
Do not use abrasive sponges or steel wool to clean your faucet. We also advise against using cleaners that are of an abrasive nature. Do not use bleach, ammonia, sodium hypochlorite either.
You should avoid using alcohols, other organic solvents, and harsh chemicals such as limescale remover. All of these substances are likely to cause damage to the finish of the faucet and should be avoided.
If you have clear plastic knobs to turn the water on, use a specifically designed acrylic cleaner.
What is the Difference Between a Single and a Double-Handle Faucet?
A single handle faucet are a more modern design. They use one lever to control the flow of water. The hot and cold flows of the water are combined and the positioning of the lever controls the temperature of the water supply.
Double handle faucets are the more traditional design. There are separate levers controlling the supply of hot and cold water respectively. The two handles are positioned independently to manipulate the temperature of the water flow.