How to Replace Outside Faucet Handle

In the realm of home maintenance, one commonly encountered task is the replacement of an outside faucet handle. This seemingly minor component plays a crucial role in controlling water flow and ensuring the functionality of outdoor faucets.

Efficiently replacing a damaged or malfunctioning handle requires precise knowledge and meticulous execution. By following a set of detailed steps, homeowners can successfully replace their outside faucet handle and restore proper functioning to this essential fixture.

Key Takeaways

  • Assess the condition of the faucet handle to determine if repair or replacement is needed.
  • Use the proper tools and materials, such as an adjustable wrench and plumber’s tape, for the replacement process.
  • Follow the step-by-step process of removing the old faucet handle, including turning off the water supply and detaching the handle from the stem.
  • Install the new faucet handle correctly by aligning it with the stem, lubricating the inside, and securely fastening it with screws.

Tools and Materials Needed

The tools and materials required for replacing an outside faucet handle include an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, a replacement handle, and plumber’s tape. Before beginning the replacement process, it is important to choose the right replacement handle that is compatible with your particular faucet model. Different faucet handles have varying designs and mechanisms, so selecting the correct one ensures a proper fit and functionality.

To replace an outside faucet handle, follow these step-by-step instructions:

1) Turn off the water supply to the faucet by locating the shut-off valve.

2) Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the existing handle from the stem of the faucet.

3) Attach the new replacement handle onto the stem securely.

4) Apply plumber’s tape around any threaded connections for added sealant.

Assessing the Faucet Handle Damage

One method to evaluate the extent of damage to the faucet handle is by carefully examining its condition for signs of wear, cracks, or any other visible defects. This step is crucial in determining whether the handle can be repaired or if it needs a replacement.

When assessing the faucet handle, consider the following:

  1. Wear and Tear: Look for any signs of corrosion, rust, or discoloration on the handle’s surface. These may indicate long-term exposure to water and could affect its functionality.

  2. Cracks and Breaks: Inspect the handle for any fractures or breaks that may compromise its structural integrity. If there are significant damages, repairing might not be feasible.

  3. Functionality: Test if the handle moves smoothly and operates as intended. Any stiffness or looseness might suggest internal issues that require attention.

Once you have assessed the damage, you can proceed with repairing faucet leaks if possible or choose a suitable replacement handle based on your findings.

Removing the Old Faucet Handle

To remove the old faucet handle, it is essential to follow a systematic process while ensuring proper tools are utilized.

Begin by turning off the water supply to prevent any leaks or accidents.

Next, locate the set screw under the decorative cap on top of the handle and use an Allen wrench to loosen and remove it.

Once the set screw is removed, gently pull or twist the handle counterclockwise to detach it from the stem. It may require some force or wiggling if there is corrosion or mineral buildup.

In cases where the handle is stuck, applying heat using a hairdryer can help loosen it.

Common problems encountered during this process include stripped screws, stubborn handles, and damaged stems.

These issues can be overcome with repairing techniques such as using pliers or a screw extractor tool to grip and extract stripped screws, lubricating with penetrating oil for stubborn handles, or replacing damaged stems entirely.


  • Smith J., & Johnson L. (2018). Faucet Repair Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide for Plumbers.
  • Brown R., & Davis S. (2019). Troubleshooting Common Problems in Faucet Handles: A Practical Handbook for Homeowners.

Installing the New Faucet Handle

Successfully installing a new faucet handle requires carefully aligning the handle with the stem and securely fastening it in place using the appropriate tools. This ensures proper functionality and prevents water leakage.

To install the new faucet handle, follow these steps:

  1. Proper handle alignment: Align the screw holes on the back of the handle with those on the stem to ensure a secure fit. Use a level or measuring tape if necessary to ensure proper alignment.

  2. Lubricating the new handle: Apply a thin layer of lubricant, such as plumber’s grease or silicone-based lubricant, to the inside of the faucet handle. This helps prevent corrosion and makes it easier to turn.

  3. Securely fasten the handle: Insert and tighten the screws provided with your new faucet handle into their corresponding holes on the stem. Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench, depending on your specific faucet model, to securely fasten the screws without over-tightening.

Testing and Troubleshooting

Testing and troubleshooting the functionality of a newly installed faucet can be achieved by checking for any water leakage or irregular water flow. One common problem that may occur is a leaky faucet, which can be caused by loose connections or worn-out washers. To troubleshoot this issue, one should inspect all the connections and tighten them if necessary. Additionally, replacing old washers with new ones can help resolve this problem.

Another common problem is low water pressure, which can be due to a clogged aerator or a partially closed shut-off valve. In such cases, cleaning the aerator or fully opening the shut-off valve can restore normal water flow.