Changing a Kitchen Faucet Cartridge
I am going to change the cartridge in a single handle Moen faucet, this is a kitchen faucet. What’s interesting about the Moen single handle cartridge is that you can also find the same cartridge in bathroom sinks, tubes and showers. So it’s a very common cartridge. Here are some of the tools we are going to need for the average kitchen.
First thing we need to do is shut off the main supply underneath the sink, so we are going to turn the water off. The second thing is we need to remove the cap, so that we can get to the screw and we need to remove this handle. So there is a variety of different kitchen faucets, you’re going to have some with a plastic cap on top that’s pried off and it allows you access to the screw to remove the handle here.
Also some of them will have a set screw on the side or the back. This particular one is an older style and actually here’s a sticker on top and I am just going to remove this decorative sticker and it’s going to reveal the screw underneath and once we remove the screw, we are going to be able to take the handle off. So that’s that. I think a good technique, because some kitchen faucets have a lot of parts, some have multiple parts that you are going to take off.
This one is a pretty straightforward one, but I am going to just get into the habit of putting down each part that I receive, that I take off, in the order I took it off. That way it’s going to make it a lot easier to put it all back together. So in this style, once I remove the cap, now I just have to remove this nut here and we’re going to turn it counterclockwise and this is going to allow us to get right to the cartridge.
All of these Moen cartridges are held in place with a little clip, a U shaped clip. I am going to grab this with the screwdriver, you can also use a needle nose pliers and pull this out. And you can see that the clip is surrounding these two little plastic ears that are sticking up. And it’s the same way we are going to put it back together.
You have two choices in a Moen cartridge: one is plastic and one is brass. It looks like the one we’re taking out it’s going to be plastic and I spoke to Moen and they said that the best replacement if you are in an area where you have a lot of minerals in your water or hard water, they suggest using the plastic. This is their newer design and it does a better job in hard water or high mineral situations.
So now that we have removed the pin, in most kits there is a plastic removal tool that comes with your cartridge and where we have these two ears sticking up, we are going to line up these little indents, in this plastic tool and then we are just going to take a pliers or an open wrench and we are going to just loosen this up. And depending on how much rust or calcium is built up, minerals that built up, that’s going to help us loosen the cartridge, so we can remove it easily.
Next step, we are going to grab it a pair of pliers and we are just going to pull it up and it’s that easy to remove the old cartridge and now we are going to reverse the steps and put it back together. So I am going to put some plumber’s grease on the new cartridge and I will always recommend, specially in an older faucets like this, if there’s a built up of calcium lime and rust and you force in the new cartridge, it can very easily put a divot in these little O-rings.
I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times, where you destroy the O-rings on the new cartridge, just because you have a little built up inside the body of the faucet. So I am going to grease this up and this way, also add a lot of life to the O-rings and if you ever have to change it, it can all make it easier to pull this out and you would not want to use something like Vaseline, because anything petroleum-based will cause these O-rings and rubber to swell and break down.
The next step, I am going to take the new cartridge and I am going to pull up the stem and that’s going to open this up, so when I push it in, it’s going to allow the air to pass through it, so it’s going to be a little easier to push this in the main body and I am going to be kind of gentle as I put this in, you can see that by keeping it open, it’s allowing me to just push straight down.
And we want to have these two ears that are sticking up aligned here in this slot, where that little clip is going to go and I am going to push it down right on top of the ears. We can probably use that tool also. The next step is we are going to take this clip and always replace this clip, this is what holds it in. We have to line that up, so it goes right into the slot.
We might have to actually twist that a little bit, so I am going to put this tool in and I am going to give this cartridge just a little twist over and I can feel it slip in and it’s a great tool, you can keep that in your toolbox. All right. I’ve got the retainer clip in and now we are just going to put everything back together.
We are going to replace this nut and tighten it down, then we are going to put the handle on and this handle has a slot that’s going to fit that cartridge just perfect, it has two flat edges and we are going to set that down, we are going to screw that down and then we are going to put our decorative top on and then you are going to turn your water on, you are going to test it.
And you are going to make sure the hot and the cold are correct. If not, you are going to take the handle off and you are just going to rotate the stem one hundred and eighty degrees, so you don’t have to take it out or anything, but check to make sure the hot and cold is correct and if it’s not, just rotate the stem a hundred and eighty, put your handle back on and you are in business with a new cartridge.