When your Moen single handle kitchen faucet is hard to swivel, even the simplest tasks, such as hand washing a cookie sheet or draining pasta, can cause aggravation because the faucet is in the way. But there's no reason to let this minor inconvenience grate at your nerves each day. Fortunately, a kitchen faucet that doesn't swivel can be solved in about 10 minutes and without having to spend a dime.
What Happens When a Faucet Won't Turn
The problem involves a sleeve inside the neck of the faucet that, despite its protective intention, has rubbed against the metal. This friction creates an accumulation of debris over time that prevents the sleeve from moving freely. All you have to do is take apart your kitchen faucet and clean inside it.
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When a Moen kitchen faucet doesn't swivel, it might look a little different from another brand like Gerber or Kohler. But most differences are purely cosmetic. The basic inner workings of kitchen faucets are the same, so you should be able to follow the same steps, no matter which brand you have. To get started, you'll need a flashlight, a flathead screwdriver, a Philips head screwdriver, a set of Allen wrenches, channel locks and an old rag for scrubbing.
Turning Off the Water and Loosening the Screws
When a kitchen faucet won't rotate, it can be a hassle. But it is easily fixed. Start by turning off both the hot and cold water under your kitchen sink. Then, follow the water pipes up to where they go through the counter.
You'll see two Philips head screws that hold the faucet in place via a washer. Loosen these screws by turning them to the left. You don't necessarily need to completely remove the screws and the washer, but you do need a little bit of wiggle room.
Taking Apart the Faucet
You need to look behind the faucet handle for a little oval. This is a decorative cover that you can easily pry off with a flathead screwdriver in order to reveal a small screw. This screw prevents the faucet handle from coming off whenever you turn the water on and off. To remove the handle, use an Allen wrench to loosen the screw a half turn to the left (3 mm is a common size for kitchen faucet screws). This should allow the handle to lift off easily.
Next, you must remove another decorative piece: a round metal nut helps to hold the faucet cartridge in place, but it's made in the same soft metal as the faucet handle and spout. Therefore, it's meant to be twisted off by hand. If you try to take it off by hand and it seems stuck, you can use channel locks to get some leverage. But wrap a towel around the metal first, or else the teeth of the channel locks will gouge it.
Keep those channel locks handy, though, because you'll need them to remove the final nut. Twist it to the left until it lifts off completely.
Removing the Cartridge and the Sleeve
Pull up on the cartridge to remove it and reveal the inside of the faucet neck. Now, grasp the outside of the entire faucet, pull up, then set the faucet back down. If you loosened the screws below the counter enough, a thin plastic sleeve should have been pulled up along the sides inside the faucet. Take this out for now.
You should also see evidence of buildup along the edge of where the sleeve had been sitting. This is what you need to scrub away before you reassemble and retighten the faucet. Adding non-petroleum-based lubricating grease to the plastic sleeve is optional. Finally, don't forget to turn the water back on.