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How to Replace a Faucet

Whether it's broken or just plain ugly, your old faucet can be replaced with a shiny new one in a flash.


  • Step 1: Measure the old faucet Before purchasing a new faucet, measure your old one carefully to make sure you pick one that fits.
  • TIP: You may want to replace the supply lines as well. Just make sure they’re the right size for the new faucet.
  • Step 2: Turn off water Put on your safety glasses. Locate the shut-off valve for the faucet you are replacing and turn off the water. Most likely, it is a handle under the sink that needs to be turned clockwise. There might be two: one for hot and one for cold.
  • TIP: If you don’t see a shut-off valve under the sink, follow the pipes until you find it, or turn off the main water supply to your house, which is usually located in the basement or close to the water meter.
  • Step 3: Release excess water Turn on the faucet until all remaining water in the pipes flows out.
  • Step 4: Disconnect supply lines Locate the water supply lines under the sink. Place a bucket under the lines and use a crescent wrench to loosen the nuts and disconnect the lines that attach to the faucet.
  • Step 5: Disconnect the drain plug attachment If your faucet has a pop-up plug for the drain, unscrew the piece underneath the sink that connects the faucet to the plug mechanism.
  • Step 6: Loosen nuts Using your crescent wrench (or basin wrench, if it’s a tight squeeze), loosen the nuts located underneath the sink below the faucet handles.
  • TIP: If the nuts are very stiff, loosen them with penetrating oil.
  • Step 7: Remove old faucet Pull the faucet body up to remove it. Clean and dry the mounting surface with a non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Step 8: Install new faucet Remove the nuts from your new faucet. Install the faucet base gasket, if included with your new faucet, or apply a bead of plumber’s putty to the base plate of the new faucet. Then slide the unit into the proper holes. Screw on the nuts and tighten the faucet into place.
  • Step 9: Reconnect the supply lines Connect the supply lines to the new faucet. Be sure hot and cold are connected to the correct sides—hot water on the left, cold water on the right.
  • Step 10: Reconnect the plug attachment If necessary, reconnect the drain plug attachment.
  • Step 11: Turn on the water Unscrew the faucet aerator—the part at the tip of the spout. Turn on the water supply and run the water to flush out any dirt. Check for leaks. Most are caused by loose nuts and can be fixed simply by tightening the nut. If that doesn’t work, try applying a bit of pipe joint compound to the fitting. Reinstall the faucet aerator, and you’re done!
  • FACT: There are about 9,000 faucets in the Empire State Building, using some 70 miles of pipe.

You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • A new faucet
  • Safety glasses
  • A bucket
  • A crescent or basin wrench
  • Non-abrasive cleaner
  • Two new supply lines
  • Penetrating oil
  • Plumber's putty
  • Pipe joint compound

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