If you want to fix a Moen kitchen faucet, you'll need access to the cartridge for service and possible replacement. Replacing a Moen kitchen faucet cartridge is impossible unless you first remove the handle. That sounds easy to do and it usually is, but first you have to solve the puzzle the manufacturer thoughtfully designed into the faucet construction: What's holding the handle to the valve stem?
If a Moen faucet handle doesn't appear to have a set screw, it's usually because the screw is hidden behind a cap and you have to look for it. Some Moen faucet handles actually do not have set screws, however, so don't worry if you can't find the cap. You'll find these handles even easier to remove than the ones that do have screws.
Loose Faucet Handle, No Set Screw
If the handle on your Moen faucet wiggles, that's a pretty good indication that it actually does have a set screw, because screwless handles are attached in such a way that they can't wiggle, even when loose. The problem is that you can't find the set screw, and that's usually because it's cleverly hidden by a cap and purposely placed to be unobtrusive.
The cap sometimes bears the Moen logo, which is two intertwined drops of water, one red and one blue. The cap may be on the top of the handle, behind it or underneath the lever. Sometimes this cap is colored gray to camouflage it. Once you find the cap, you should be able to pop it off with your fingers or by using a flat-head screwdriver. Underneath, you'll find the set screw, which usually has a hex head. Tighten that screw and the handle will stop wiggling.
Moen Widespread Faucets Screwless Handles
Widespread faucets are generally for bathroom use, and they consist of a spout and a pair of handles all mounted on the countertop separately to give the impression that they aren't connected. The handles are separated by 8 inches, which is double the usual bathroom faucet size, and that's why they are called widespread.
Underneath each handle, you'll find a conical, cylindrical or triangular trim piece that rests on the counter. This trim piece is screwed onto the faucet valve, and to remove the handle, you unscrew the trim piece. Remove a screwless faucet handle by holding the handle steady with one hand and turning the trim counterclockwise with the other. You can do this without tools.
Stop a Leaking Moen Faucet
Moen faucets all take cartridges, basically because the company founder, Al Moen, invented the cartridge faucet. Widespread bathroom faucets take the Moen 1224 or 1224b cartridge, and when it comes to differences between the 1224 vs. 1224b cartridges, the only significant one is the packaging. If the faucet is leaking, replacing this cartridge should fix the problem.
Unfortunately, because of the screwless handle design, the cartridges have to be recessed into the valve, and you need a special tool to remove them; you can't reach them with pliers. You can get this tool from Moen when you purchase your new cartridges. You won't be able to remove the cartridges with a Moen cartridge puller because it's designed to grip the valve stem, which, in this case, is buried inside the valve.
If the faucet is old and has collected scale, you may have trouble getting it out, even if you have the proper tool. The fact that the cartridges are recessed is an advantage. You can simply pour vinegar into the recesses, give it a few hours to dissolve the scale, and you'll be able to unscrew and remove the cartridge.