Old faucets are bound to get leaky and start dripping. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to depend on your plumber’s appointment for the replacement process. Going the DIY route is always cheaper, and who knows; you might even develop an infatuating albeit resourceful tendency to dabble with household amenities and accessories.
But before we start out with the procedure of replacing a faucet, we should mention some crucial points relating to the convenience of the installation process –
1) Determine the number of holes your sink has, and the distance between these holes. For this task, you might have to take a peek underneath the sink. After determining these parameters, purchase a faucet that matches with the sink’s hole pattern. In a generalized approach, most bathroom sinks have three-holes configuration.
2) Always try to identify the main water supply valve, so that you can turn it off in emergency situations.
3) Always keep a bucket handy for catching any unnecessary water leak.
4) When replacing a faucet, also consider replacing the entire sink, and replacing the drain along with it.
Now we would proceed on with the actual replacement process of the faucet. For this task, first you would need to remove your old faucet, and then only can you install a new one. The tools and material required are – a new faucet (matching with the sink holes), putty knife, basin wrench, adjustable wrench and plumber’s putty.
Step 1 –
As always, the first step is to separate the on-flow water supply from the bathroom system to be replaced. So you need the shut off both the hot and cold water valves, which are usually located below the sink.
After making sure that they are properly closed (usually a clockwise twist turns off the valves), turn on your faucet. The built up air inside the faucet-to-supply tube cross-section gets released, thus relieving the inside pressure.
Then gently remove the supply tubes from the hot and cold valves by using a wrench.
Tip – You should check on these supply tubes to see if they are damaged in anyway, which may result in leaks. And, if they turn out to be broken, make sure to buy a new pair of tubes.
Step 2 –
Now it is time to remove the faucet from the sink. For this step, you will have to get beneath the sink, and hence it advisable to put on some safety glasses to shield your eyes from the impending rust particles.
Then look out for the large nuts (fixed beneath the sink) that tightly hold the faucet. You can make use of a basin wrench to unscrew these elongated threads. However, chances are that the nuts would be tight and rusted, and you should hold your nerve while unfastening them.
When the faucet is finally loosened, take your putty knife to scrape off the old layer of putty or caulk lining the underside of the faucet (and the junction where the faucet met with the sink).
Tip – When detaching the elongated nuts from the sink, you can surely make use of penetrating oil to loosen things up a bit.
Step 3 –
Finally, we come to the step where you are to install the newly bought faucet. For this procedure, first you need to check the ‘fixing system’ of the faucet. In some cases, the manufacturer provides a gasket that effectively seals the faucet and the sink.
If that is not the case, you have to opt for plumber’s putty for the sealing process. Take a glob of this putty and apply it generously beneath the faucet.
Proceed onto attach the new tubes to the underside of the faucet. Also assemble the faucet with any additional flange (and hoses, if there are any).
Then place the whole faucet assembly in its position so that the sink holes are lined properly to the penetrating faucet threads. Once again, go beneath the sink to tighten the nuts, thus firmly fixing the faucet to the sink.
When the faucet is pushing down on the sink (on screwing the nuts), a bit of the putty might squeeze out. You can easily clean this later with a rubbing alcohol solution.
Tip – Before proceeding on to tighten the nuts, you should make sure that the faucet assembly is properly placed and is perpendicular to the sink plane. In other words, there shouldn’t be any angle between the faucet axis and the sink.
Step 4 –
We come to last step of installing a new faucet. And this entails – connecting the tubes (now, emerging from the faucet) to the supply valves that you had turned off earlier in Step 1. Be sure to tightly fasten the tube nuts (with an adjustable wrench) when you are making these connections.
Finally, turn on the water to check for any leaks. Do so for a few times with ten to fifteen minutes interval in between. And, in case there are leaks, once again revert to fastening the tube fittings a bit more tightly.