Removing an old faucet and installing the new one yourself is an easy way to save money and can be a rewarding DIY project. This guide provides how-to steps for both tasks.
Before you Buy a Faucet
To avoid hassle when installing your new faucet, know how many holes your sink has. This will narrow your choices of which faucets will fit your sink.
Tip: Once you remove the old faucet, you’ll be stuck without water at the sink if you don’t install the new one. Before you remove the old faucet, unpack the new one, and read through the directions to make sure you have the right tools and that it’s a job you want to tackle.
Removing an Old Kitchen Faucet
Old faucets can be hard to get off due to corrosion and mineral deposits that hold them tight. With the right tools and a balance of muscle and appropriate caution, most homeowners can remove the old faucet.
Supplies and tools for removing an old faucet:
- Small bucket or container for catching water from water lines
- Towels for drying spills
- A flashlight that can be set on its end to shine light up to the bottom of the faucet
- Separate box or adjustable wrenches to fit the water feeds of the faucet and the connection nut (explained below)
- A basin wrench (aka a sink wrench or faucet wrench) for removing the collar nut beneath the sink that holds the faucet in place
- Medium Phillips and flathead screwdrivers (may not be required for your specific removal)
- Small hammer (may not be required)
Step-by-step faucet removal:
- Position your flashlight on the bottom of the sink cabinet to give you light where you need it.
- Turn off the hot and cold water taps beneath the sink by rotating them clockwise.
This should be done gently because the tap handles have likely been in the same position for years. Corrosion might make them hard to turn. Use consistent force to avoid breaking the valves.
- Turn the handles on to relieve water pressure, if any remains.
If you have a single-handle faucet, turn it to both cold and hot positions
- Place a towel in the sink cabinet, and position it under the faucet.
- Working on one supply line at a time, use one wrench to keep the faucet’s water feed from turning, and use a second wrench to loosen the connection nut.
These lines might be hard to separate due to corrosion and water deposits. If you don’t hold the copper faucet line steady, it will twist as you turn the connection nut. Left is loose.
If the supply line is flexible, tilt it to empty water from it into a container or onto a towel once it is disconnected.
- Remove the large faucet collar nut using a basin wrench.
Remember that left is loose. Again, expect to have to use some muscle. There might be a large washer between the nut and the bottom of the sink, and this should be removed too.
Note: Some faucet collar nuts are held in place with a screw or two which should be loosened or removed before attempting to remove the nut.
Tip: If you don’t have a basin wrench and don’t want to spend the $15 or more to buy one, there’s another way to remove the nut. Place the blade of a flathead screwdriver against the nut where you can get secure contact. You’re going to want to push it left to loosen it. Use the small hammer to gently tap the handle of the screwdriver to force the nut to the left. Once it breaks loose, you should be able to hand-loosen it the rest of the way.
- If there is a sprayer, use an adjustable wrench or tight-fitting crescent wrench to remove the nut holding it to the faucet. Or, simply cut the supply line, if you don’t plan to use the faucet elsewhere.
- Once the collar nut is off, the old faucet can be lifted off the sink deck or countertop, and the plumbing pulled up through the holes.
Note: If you’d like to replace old water lines with newer quick-connect water lines, now is the time to do it. Quick-connect lines make installing and removing a faucet much simpler.
Reminder: If you are going to replace the water supply lines, you are going to need to turn off the water in your entire home since the compression fittings on the supply lines attach directly to open water lines that do not have shut-off valves.
Installing a New Kitchen Faucet
Every faucet is slightly different. These instructions on how to install a faucet might have to be adjusted for your specific faucet. However, the faucet you purchase will have complete instructions with diagrams.
Supplies and tools for installing a kitchen faucet:
- Adjustable wrench
- Basin wrench
- Screwdrivers (might not be needed for your specific faucet)
Step-by-step faucet installation:
- As noted above, read the instructions to get an overview of the work and to make sure you’ve got the right tools on hand.
- Clean the area beneath where the old faucet sat. Try mild detergent first with a soft cloth. For stubborn mineral deposits, soak a rag in white vinegar, and place it over the deposits making sure there is good contact between the rag and the sink deck or countertop. Wait an hour, remove the rag, and wipe off the area. A second application might be required for thick deposits.
- Attach mounting bolts to the faucet base, if required, and lower the base onto the sink or countertop while making sure any attached bolts or plumbing descend through the proper holes.
Note: Your faucet will have one of three configurations or a combination of these:
- A separate gasket, followed by a faucet base and the faucet proper or followed by an integrated faucet base and faucet
- A base containing a gasket and a faucet
- A complete faucet including gasket, base and faucet proper
- From underneath, install the washer(s) and nut(s) that hold the base or entire faucet in place. Finger-tighten them until they are snug. Then, from above, make sure the faucet is aligned to be straight. From below again, give the nut(s) another quarter-turn to half-turn to tighten then.
Note: Your faucet might not have these mounting bolts if the lower collar of the faucet is threaded for a collar nut. If this is the case, simply add the washer and collar nut, finger-tighten it, straighten if from above, and complete this step by giving the collar nut another quarter to half turn.
Tip: If the nuts are plastic, be very cautious because over-tightening can cause them to crack.
- Attach the hot and cold water lines either with quick-connectors or by tightening the nut using an adjustable or fixed crescent wrench. If the connection is a nut, use an adjustable wrench to hold the faucet line steady while you tighten the nut. This will prevent the soft copper from twisting and cracking or becoming kinked.
- Attach the line to the sprayer, if there is one. The sprayer supply hose might have a two-piece weight that needs to be attached to the hose with a pair of screws. The weight helps to keep the sprayer in place when docked on the sink deck, countertop or spout.
Tip: Make sure that the weight is attached above the low point of the hose, so that it will take advantage of gravity. However, don’t attach it so high that you can’t pull the hose out as far as you’d typically like to without the weight hitting the underside of the faucet or sink.
- Install any additional accessories such as a soap dispenser or filtered water tap.
- Once all connections are made, turn the water supplies back on.
- Turn on the faucet. If there are two handles, turn on the cold first. If there is one handle, turn it on and all the way to cold. Check below the sink for leaks while the water runs for at least 30 seconds. Turn off the cold, and do the same for the hot water side.
Tip: If there are any leaks, turn off the water supply to that side, and slightly tighten the connections before testing the faucet again.
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