If your sink faucet is broken or simply looks tired, installing a new one may be the answer to its woes. Begin by switching off all water supply valves beneath your sink, placing a bucket beneath it for any residual liquid, and installing a bucket below for any residual moisture that remains.
After dismantling the old faucet, remove it by loosening its nuts on the underside using a basin wrench or adjustable wrench and unhooking the lift rod from your drain stopper.
As changing a faucet involves working with water pipes, the first step should be to turn off the main supply – usually found behind the toilet but some older homes may have shut-off valves under sinks as well. Also make sure you put a bucket under any remaining drips as part of your plan for success.
Carefully investigate beneath your sink to locate the two water lines entering your home – one for hot and one for cold – then look for shut-off valves, which have small handles which, when turned clockwise, completely stop all flow of water.
Prepare the replacement faucet by applying a coil or bead of plumber’s putty to the base of the drain, making sure that its base is parallel with the back of the sink. Insert each of the tailpieces into its respective holes in the sink, tightening locknuts and nuts with basin wrench or channel-type pliers until tight.
Before installing a new faucet, first close off its water source using its valves – these can usually be found under your sink and feature small football-shaped handles or levers. With two-handle faucets, feel for hot and cold water flows before testing to identify which cartridge has gone bad and which side they leaking on.
Unscrew the nuts that hold your faucet to the sink using a basin wrench or WD-40 as needed. Although you should likely be able to do this by hand, taking this extra step protects you from potential splashes of water coming out from under the assembly as you unhook it.
Remove the supply tubes to the faucet by twisting off their connectors underneath the sink. Be sure to have a container handy to catch any residual water as you work; if any connections are rusted and won’t budge, some penetrating oil should help loosen them.
Checking for Leaks
Check your new faucet for leaks by turning on the water. I suggest running it for one minute to make sure everything is in working order, and if any leaking around its base occurs then turn off by closing off any shut-off valves under your sink.
If your faucet continues to leak, it may be worthwhile removing and installing a new cartridge in its handle. This should only take minutes!
Before installing your cartridge, it’s a good idea to clean out its interior thoroughly with white vinegar to dissolve any mineral deposits causing corrosion. This simple step could save a considerable amount of money in the long run! Once your new cartridge has been fitted into place, simply tighten its “beauty ring”. Doing this by hand ensures no breakages occur.
Once the aerator (if present) is removed, clean any dirt or microbial growth off of the faucet handle using a soft microfiber cloth or nonabrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub or Barkeeper’s Friend as necessary.
If your aerator is stuck, try using tongue-and-groove pliers to gently loosen it from its mount on the faucet. If this doesn’t work, soak it to release mineral deposits or any clogs that may exist.
To clean your faucet head, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a baggy and place it over the aerator. You may add dish soap for even greater grime fighting power if desired. Allow this solution to sit a few hours or overnight before taking action; this should loosen any buildup and leave both handles gleaming clean!