Replace a Faucet Like a Plumber
Replacing a faucet is a quick way to refresh the look of your kitchen or bathroom, but many people think it's too complicated to do themselves. The truth is that installing a faucet is actually a pretty straightforward job. Follow these simple step-by-step DIY instructions to get the job done right.
Step 1: Identify Your Faucet Type
Before you can replace your faucet, you need to determine what type of sink you have. Look under the sink and count how many holes there are (usually between one and four). If you really have your heart set on a single hole faucet (and there are some beautiful kitchen and bathroom options) but you have a three or four hole sink, you can always install a base plate.
Step 2: Turn off the water
It should be obvious, but before disconnecting anything you need to turn off the water valves under the sink. Otherwise, you will get very wet. Once the water valves are off, turn on the faucet to let the remaining water out of the lines.
Pro tip: Before you begin the next step of disconnecting the faucet assembly, take a picture with your phone so you can reference how it looked later if you get confused.
Step 3: Disconnect the Faucet Supply Line
Now comes the fun part: disassembly. Start by disconnecting the faucet supply lines with a wrench. Make sure you place a bucket under the connections to catch any remaining water in the supply lines.
Step 4: Remove the Old Faucet
From underneath the sink, you should be able to see all the hardware holding the faucet in place. Use a wrench to remove the nuts and then lift the faucet free. If the faucet is still stuck, it may be because of corrosion. You may need to wrestle the faucet from side to side to break it loose. This is the usually the most challenging part of the process, so don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and put some elbow grease into it. Once you've removed the faucet, make sure to clean any leftover sealant or other gunk.
Installing the New Faucet
Congratulations, you've successfully removed the old faucet and now it's time to install the new one. The following four steps cover most installations, but because there are so many different types of faucets, you should always double-check the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. Or you can check out the manufacturer's website. Moen provides lots of great installation videos for its products.
Step 5: Set the Deck Plate
The faucet will typically come with a rubber or plastic gasket, or a trim ring, that you will need to place over the faucet holes in the sink. Sometimes, you may be directed to use plumber's putty instead of a gasket. In this case, follow the instructions on the plumber's putty. Either way, the point of these pieces is to keep water from leaking from the sink into your cabinet. Once the gasket is placed, set the deck plate in place.
Step 6: Place and Secure the New Faucet
Depending on whether it's a kitchen or bathroom faucet, you will need to either place the faucet directly into the mounting holes or feed the faucet lines into the holes. From underneath the sink, tighten the base nuts to secure the new faucet.
Step 7: Reconnect Supply Line
Remember when you took a picture of the supply lines before you disassembled everything? Now might be a good time to pull your phone back out for reference.
Most faucets will have hot and cold water supply lines attached, so you just need to connect them to the appropriate water supply line. You may need to use Teflon™ tape (aka plumber's tape) for this part, which is used to seal and lubricate threaded pipe joints. It's pretty simple, just take a small strip of the plumber's tape and wrap it clockwise around the threads of the water supply line. Once the tape is on, you can connect the supply lines. Start by screwing in each nut by hand, then use an adjustable wrench to tighten them.
Pro tip: make sure you don't over tighten the connections, which could cause a leak.
Step 8: Remove the Aerator and Turn on the Water
Once the supply lines are connected, you need to remove the aerator from the faucet. Depending on your model, you may need to use a small tool to unscrew the aerator. Once the aerator is removed, it's time to see if all your work paid off. Slowly turn on the water and check all the connections for leaks. Let the water run for a few minutes to clear the lines, then turn off the faucet and replace the aerator. That's it, you're done!
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