When your kitchen faucet fails to swivel, you might get distressed in doing some of the easiest tasks such as washing your hands, dishes, food items such as fruits and vegetables, and draining pasta.
In this article, we will take a close look at possible reasons why your kitchen faucet will not swivel, and how to fix it in less than 10 minutes.
Do All Kitchen Faucets Swivel?
Swiveling helps you to rotate the sprout of your kitchen faucet and control the flow of water.
But a few kitchen faucets are not meant to swivel at all. They are called Fixed Kitchen Faucets.
If you use a fixed kitchen faucet, then your spout will most likely be in a fixed position.
You might have some other attachments which will allow you to direct and control the flow of water. But you are less likely going to face swiveling problems.
These attachments can be a pullout or pulldown attachment which you will have to replace if it goes bad. They can also be a non-pullout or non-pulldown attachment which you can easily fix when it goes bad.
Most kitchen faucets around are built to swivel. They are called Swivel Kitchen Faucets.
These faucets usually swivel from side to side between 180 degrees and 360 degrees.
They are made to allow some space between the sprout and the main body of the faucet (valve).
The sprout sleeves of swivel kitchen faucets also slide over a group of O-shaped rings.
These O-rings serve as the bearing for the spout to swivel on.
They can also prevent water from leakages.
Swivel kitchen faucets come in different types:
- Ball type
- Cartridge type
- Disc type
Why Your Kitchen Faucet Won’t Swivel
Swivel kitchen faucets are very common, simple, affordable, durable, and handier than fixed kitchen faucets. But they are also more likely to have swiveling issues.
Here are some of the reasons why your kitchen faucet won’t swivel:
- There might have been errors during the process of installation:
For example, the nuts holding the spout sleeves together might have been overtightened, so it gets noisy when you attempt to rotate it.
This overtightening can also make O-rings become gummed up. And when the rings are gummed up, your kitchen faucet might just start leaking soon.
(If your kitchen faucet brand also has a retainer nut underneath the sink, you should inspect it closely to be sure it is not overtightened)
- Food particles and debris might find their way to the valve and block it.
This is why you need to clean the faucet immediately after use.
You should also be extra careful in clearing food residues from used plates under running water with high pressure.
- Scale from hard water can also build up to cause rusting, corrosion, and block the valve.
Except you use soft water in your area, you can prevent this by using a water softener regularly.
You can also use chemical descalers such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. But make sure you first test a patch on a hidden portion of your faucet to ensure that the chemical doesn’t damage the protective coating of the faucet.
How Do You Fix a Kitchen Faucet That Won’t Swivel?
Managing a kitchen faucet that won’t swivel can be distressing and uncomfortable. But here is a quick step-by-step guide to fix it in 10 minutes without spending out of your pocket.
Note that the different brands build their kitchen faucets in different designs. But the basic structure of the faucets is almost the same.
So you should be able to follow this guide, regardless of your brand.
What are the tools you need?
- A flathead screwdriver
- An adjustable pliers
- A Philips head screwdriver
- A set of Allen wrenches
- Channel locks
- Utility knife
- Silicone-based grease
- Mineral spirit
- Penetrating oil
- New O-rings
- Old rags
Step 1 – Turn/shut off the water valve or main supply
The first step is to turn off the hot and cold water valves under your sink.
This fix will involve you disassembling your kitchen faucet, so this step is necessary so you can stop water from running through the faucet first.
You should also turn the faucet switch on so that the remaining water can get drained before disassembling.
Step 2 – Loosen the screws
Once you are sure that there is no water left in the faucet, use the Allen wrench to separate the handle and screw from the metal collar and the rest of the faucet body.
To do this, simply use your Allen wrench to turn the screw halfway to the left, if you have a Moen Kitchen faucet you can check here for see more details.
Depending on the design of your kitchen faucet, you might also need adjustable pliers for this.
Step 3 – Take off the faucet handle
Once the screw is free, you can lift the handle off easily.
But make sure there is no cap-shaped decoration on top of the screw. If there is, simply use a flat-head screwdriver to remove it.
Step 4 – Remove the faucet collar and ball
After removing the faucet handle, you will notice the metal collar which is still screwed.
Make sure you wrap a rubber glove around this metal collar before unscrewing it so you don’t damage it.
Once you have wrapped it, gently place your adjustable pliers around and turn it to the right (clockwise).
Now carefully remove the metal collar and ball, and set them aside.
Step 5: Remove the O-rings
The next thing to look out for is the O-ring between the spout housing and the faucet valve.
(Note that the number of rings differs from one faucet design to another)
The rings will most likely be damaged at this time, so it might not be so easy to remove them. But you can always get a utility knife to cut them off if they are only stuck to the valve.
If the rings are gummed up together, simply apply oil lubricant or hot water and wait for about 10 minutes to allow the rings to soften.
You can repeat this process if they are still gummed up after 10 minutes.
Step 6: Clean the valve
Once you have removed the O-rings, the next step is to clean your valve with a rag and ensure it is free of every debris or mineral build-up.
(You should ensure that your rag is well soaked in mineral spirits)
Step 7: Apply grease
You can choose to either return your old O-rings or get appropriate new O-rings from your brand manufacturer to replace the old ones.
But whether old or new, you must apply silicone-based grease on the O-rings. You should also apply it to the rubber seals.
(Note that regular grease, plumber’s grease, silicone spray, and other lubricants will damage your rubber seals)
Step 8 – Reassemble the faucet
Gently place the rings on the valve and return the spout housing to where it should be.
Return the ball and the collar, but be careful not to overtighten the collar when screwing it.
Finally, return the faucet handle and screw. Then try turning on the switch and look out for any leakage.
If you find out the faucet is leaking, then it means your collar is not tightened enough. All you have to do is tighten your collar by 90 degrees each time till the leakage stops.
If your kitchen faucet still won’t swivel after these steps, then you might have to get a new faucet.
Also, watch out during the process of dismantling the faucet to be sure there is no internal corrosion. If there is, then you should also consider getting a new faucet.
Coping with a kitchen faucet that won’t swivel can be so uncomfortable. But as you can see in our step-by-step guide, fixing it is easier than you think.
So except you use a fixed kitchen faucet, you know what to do when next your faucet refuses to swivel.