You use your kitchen faucet more than any other faucet in your home so it takes the most wear and tear. Because of that, kitchen faucets need to be replaced more often than others in your home.
Faucets have come a long way from the chrome plated versions that many of us grew up with. Not only are they available in many colors, but also a wide variety of finishes such as satin or brushed brass.
Many modern kitchen faucets have features such as extended, loopy spouts for cleaning dishes or filling tall pitchers or pots, as well as pullout sprayers that extend out even further for more flexibility including filling larger buckets on the floor.
Before you go out and buy a new faucet, there are a couple of things you need to look at in your current sink in order to get the right faucet that fits.
How Many Holes Are in Your Sink?
Most kitchen sinks have three or four holes in the deck of the sink. If you want a faucet with separate hot and cold water handles, you will need at least three holes in the sink deck, four if you want a separate soap dispenser.
One piece faucets with integrated handle for hot and cold water, and spout, need only one hole in the deck. Typically most decks have more than one hole so if you want a built-in soap dispenser, it should not be an issue.
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Types of Faucets
When looking for a kitchen faucet, you will probably be overwhelmed with the variety. Typically they come in single handle, pullout, two handle, wall mount or those with built-in water filtration
Single handle kitchen faucets have one control to adjust water hot and cold water temperature as needed. These can either be side or top mounted.
Dual handle kitchen faucet handles have separate controls for hot and cold water on opposite sides of the faucet.
Traditional kitchen faucet spouts are almost in a parallel line to the sink allowing for very little clearance for pots and pans in the sink. Modern designs usually have a curved or looping gooseneck design providing a significant amount of clearance. Most home owners think these types of spouts are more visually appealing.
Most new kitchen faucets feature pull down or pullout sprayers which can be used to rinse or fill large pots. The sprayers use a weight on the spray tubing underneath the sink that helps the sprayer retract and connect back into the faucet to appear as one unit.
Sprayers are also available to mount on the side of the sink which may require an additional hole in your sink deck, depending on how many you already have and the type of faucet you purchase.
If you have a serious kitchen, as in, you are a serious cooker, or cook for a large family, you may want to invest in a pot filler faucet. Separate pot filler faucets allow for easy filling of large pots near where you need them, such as the stove or near a cooking surface.
If you drink a lot of water, or use filtered water to cook, you might want to consider a water filtration faucet to remove rust, hard water, iron and chlorine. These filters attach right into the faucet and can pay for themselves quickly if you are used to buying bottled water.
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Remove Old Faucet
Before you install a new faucet, you need to remove the old one without damaging the sink. Credit: mjpyroMany people opt to replace the kitchen sink when performing this upgrade, however, it is not necessary.
Before you do anything, turn off the water supply lines underneath the sink. If you do not have shutoff valves underneath the sink, then you might have larger plumbing issues. In any event, go underneath your home or out to the curb to turn off the water into your home.
After the water lines are turned off, open the faucets to drain the lines. Once all of the remaining water has trickled out of the faucet, go underneath the sink and disconnect the hot and cold lines from the shutoff valves.
While still underneath the sink, remove the nuts that hold the faucet in place. You may have to reach in an awkward position to do so, or use a basin wrench with its long handle to get it started.
Now that the supply lines and mounting nuts are removed, the faucet should be free to pull out of the sink. Go back up above and carefully lift the faucet out. There will probably be some leftover caulk or residue, so wipe that up and scrap away any old plumber’s putty. For stubborn stains or residue, use an acetone cleaner with a rag.
Install a New Faucet
To create a seal between the faucet and the sink, place the gasket which is included with the new faucet over the faucet opening. If there is no gasket provided with the faucet, read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if you will need to apply a ring of plumber’s putty.
At this point, installation of the faucet will vary depending on the type of unit you purchase. Single handle varieties are easier since everything threads though a sink hole in the sink deck. However, whatever model you have, simply lower it into the deck holes of the sink, then go underneath to tighten the nuts that hold it in place.
If there is a built-in, pullout spray hose included, attach it to the connector on the body of the faucet. Next, apply teflon tape to the thread of the connections underneath reconnect the water supply lines using new flexible tubing . Turn the water back on at the water shutoff valves underneath the sink or wherever it is coming into your home if those do not exist.
There is one more step before you are finished. Unscrew the collar or cap strainer on the faucet and let the water run to flush any debris that may have accumulated. Rinse out the strainer then screw it back in place.
Replacing a kitchen faucet is one of the easier home DIY projects you can do. I have replaced four or five faucets in the last 10 years, sometimes buying two at a time and installing them both to see which one I like best.
There are no special plumbing skills required. You are simply disconnecting water lines. This replacement can be done in less than an hour if you have everything ready to go. The only tool you will really need is a basin wrench to get to hard to reach areas underneath the sink.
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