How to Change a Kitchen Faucet
The kitchen faucet is probably one of the most used in any home. There will come a time when you have to replace it due to leaks or other repairs. Or maybe you want to upgrade to a better model that better matches your new kitchen cabinets. It’s time to call in the professionals, isn’t it?
Before you call the plumber though, remember that you can change the faucet yourself with a few simple tools. If all goes well, you’ll be admiring your new faucet in little less than an hour.
Before You Begin
The first thing you should do before touching anything is to turn off the water supply. You may have to clear out the cabinet of cleaning supplies, old rags and whatever else you keep in there first. Keep a pail or mu and a few rags close by to wipe up any leaks or dirt as you work.
Most faucets will have shut off valves under the sink. If your faucet lines are hooked up to the main water supply directly, you may have to turn off the water to the entire house. This also applies if you are replacing the valves or water supply tubes.
Sometimes, your garbage disposal may get in the way of reaching the water supply pipes. In that case, you have to remove it first.
Tools You Need
It’s best to assemble the tools you will need and line them up beforehand. You don’t want to get halfway through the project only to find that you are missing a screwdriver or two to complete the job. It’s also a good idea to replace the faucet during store hours. That way, if you need anything you can always run down to the store and pick it up.
Here’s a small list of the tools you will need to replace most common faucet models:
- Bucket/pail and a few rags
- Pipe wrench
- Adjustable wrench
- Basin wrench
- New faucet
- New shut off valves (if replacing)
- Stainless steel supply tubes (if replacing)
Out With the Old
Before you start disconnecting everything, take a photo or make a rough sketch of where everything goes. Then you won’t get confused when putting everything back together. It’s especially important since you have different tools, fasteners, and pipes to keep track of.
Once you’ve safely disconnected the faucet from the water line, it’s time to remove the tailpieces. If you have an older sink, the faucet assembly might be clamped with hard-to-reach fasteners. This is where you need the basin wrench to remove them. Newer models generally have plastic wing nuts that you can loosen and tighten by hand.
Since you’re under the sink anyway, now is a good time to clean up under there. Wipe away any dirt, rust or other debris that might have accumulated over the years.
Selecting a New Faucet
As with almost everything else, you get what you pay for when buying a new faucet.
Inexpensive models will generally have flimsy parts that will wear out quicker. The mid-range models come with brass bodies and more durable plating. In fact, many manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their premium models. Also, consider the fit and finish of the faucet since it should match the rest of the kitchen. Look for faucets with subtle chrome detailing like the Blanco Urbeno in truffle or in metallic grey, or even the Grohe Essence Professional.
In With the New
Most manufacturers provide instruction manuals with the details on how to install the faucet. From now on, it’s just a matter of following the manual.
Chances are you won’t be using all four of the holes in the faucet. So you need a blank insert to close the extra ones. If you are planning on installing a soap dispenser, do it before putting everything back together. If you are replacing the sink as well, install the faucet before dropping it in.
Check the faucet and handle to make sure it is facing the current direction. You don’t want to assemble everything only to find out that the handle is on backward! Thread the supply lines into place and tighten mounting nuts as per the instructions.
If your faucet has a pull-down spray hose, install and check that it operates correctly. Pull the spray hose out of the faucet to make sure there’s nothing blocking it under the sink. Attach the counterweight that pulls the spray hose back in according to the manual.
Seal in the new faucet, replace the valves and hook up the supply lines as before. Make sure the hot and cold water pipes are attached at the right location. Assemble the garbage disposer, drain lines, and any other parts before turning on the water.
Check for any leaks and have a bucket handy to catch drips. Tighten nuts with a wrench again if you spot leakage anywhere.
There you have it! Your shiny new faucet is all set for you to use.