Greetings, from Healthy Kitchen 101!
I’m Jay, your host for today’s guidepost. The whole point of this is to focus on the installation of faucets and painting a straightforward picture to lighten up the gloomy perception of this type of basic home maintenance. Then, we all can start saving some MONEY.
Hiring professional help is nice until you see the bill. It just seems to me that if a service is as much or even pricier than the product itself, it’s not really worth it. I know many of you feel the same way. That’s why knowing how to install a kitchen faucet or the basics of it will come in handy at some point in time.
Why we should do it ourselves
Of course, when you need them, you need them. Plumbing services are undoubtedly still extremely helpful, especially in complicated situations. That said, there ARE uncomplicated ones too. As a case in point – kitchen faucet installation.
Reasons? For starters, it doesn’t involve behind-wall pipe systems. Completion is less than an hour and never far from the sink. Next, it requires only common tools all homes usually have, namely flashlights, screwdrivers and wrenches. Basically, it is indeed a very simple process.
The one piece you might need to buy is a basin wrench. It helps reach the nuts in tight corners. You should ask for the package info since similar solutions are provided by certain brands.
Last but not least, it’s good exercise, for both your handiwork capability and physical abilities (though not very much, admittedly). You will begin to understand how these things work, and be able to tell which from which in no time.
I don’t think I have to mention the amount of MONEY that can be saved, do I? According to several sources, in the United States (US), the average installation cost for a kitchen faucet is between $150 and $330. Talk about economical choices, eh?
Now, it’s clear that there’s absolutely no reason at all why you should not try and do this yourself. So let us dive in together and mount that sucker!
How to install a kitchen faucet: Removal of the old
If you’re installing a new kitchen faucet on a new countertop, feel free to skip this one and jump right to the next step – the installation.
But if you’re not, then you know this is a compulsory task. Removing your outdated unit also helps give a better understanding of how to install a new set. At first glance, it may look daunting, but don’t you fret. Because it isn’t. Plus, now, you’ve got us.
I tried to get this notice out first as soon as the article’s structure allows. I sincerely do not wish for any of you guys to make the same mistake I made a few years back.
For those who, say, have already bought a 3-hole faucet while owning a 1-hole sink or having only 1 hole on the counter, you’ll have to call for professional assistance in cutting 2 or 3 new holes. Unless you have the tools and knowledge to do so yourself, it would be far too risky to take this in your own hands.
For those who are, instead, looking at a 1-hole faucet and 3 or 4-hole sink, it’s still completely fine. There are things we can use to cover the extra holes up. Some companies even include cover/escutcheon plates in their packages to help conceal those gaps
Understanding a faucet
A faucet is, at its core, a simple fixture. Once you’ve grown accustomed to its design, everything will be less confusing.
The whole faucet is the over-counter parts. Manufacturers take care of those already so we move our focus to the under-counter parts. Basically, there is shank(s), where the hardware kit (washers and nuts) goes and stations the whole set, and water inlet lines, which will be connected to the hot/cold water supply normally located under the cabinet.
Other details depend on the type of faucet you’re working on, but we will go into those more later. For now, that’s about it.
Steps of removal
Tools: adjustable wrench, basin wrench or packaged tool (not recommended)
Two persons recommended
The most challenging part of this process is dealing with rusty nuts. This is where plastic parts come up on top. Then again, if your sink area is all sealed nicely then metal pieces are much more reliable.
But getting back to the subject at hand, there are things that can be done. Tools can be bought, solutions can be applied. Take a ride to a local hardware store and describe the problems. They will likely have the right thing for you.
However, all that goes against our DIY-simplicity-first type of spirit. So my advice is to call services or get help when bolts or nuts cannot be unscrewed with the tools you have at the moment.
Other than that, just follow these few simple steps:
- Turn off the water valves (turn on the faucet to verify)
- Clear the under-sink space, line the cabinet floor with towels. There will be residue water which may spill through the faucet and holes.
- Loosen the nuts with an adjustable wrench (for the water lines), a basin wrench (for the shanks) and unscrew them completely (faster with hands)
- (optional) remove the side sprayer by unscrewing it from the bottom of the faucet OR taking off the c-clip on it. Do whatever you prefer. But I suggest you give it a try and remove the c-clip just for future reference. Here’s a helpful video:
- Remove the old set (faucet, possibly side sprayer, and soap dispenser) and clean the spot. The grime can be scratched off.
And we’re done!
How to replace a kitchen faucet: Installation of the new
Now that we’ve had the setup for the installation, let’s open the box.
Because there are a few different types of kitchen faucets, I will summarize the similar aspects of their installation here to provide the big picture of the process. Then, we’ll go into the details of specific steps of each type
Note: skim the installation sheet/manual of the product first to make sure all parts are in your possession.
Standard kitchen faucets
The standard type includes faucets with no special features such as long hoses (pull-out/down), side sprayers or touchless technology.
Tools: adjustable wrench, basin wrench or packaged tool, thread tape possibly putty/ silicone caulk,
Two persons recommended
When we put our faucet in place, there is a question of using the gasket or putty/caulk. The answer is: either is good. If you don’t use the cover plate because there are no extra holes, putty/ caulk is simply not needed. The provided gasket is enough.
If you, in fact, need the cover plate, or your faucet already has a base (i.e 2-handle model), then the gasket is no longer required and the plumber putty/ silicone caulk is highly recommended for additional seal.
Here’s a video showing how you can use putty under the base (at 0:58):
There’s only one step of this whole process that we need to pay extra attention to – checking for leaks. The rest is a piece of cake.
Okay, no more talking. Let’s roll!
Step 1: Take the gasket and put it at the foot of the faucet. If you can’t find it, it’s probably already placed in (you can still see it). If the plate* is used or yours has a base (3-hole faucets), then the gasket is not needed anymore.
*Some escutcheon plates also have their own shanks. Make sure you clean any excess putty (if used) and secure them first
Step 2: Slide the under-parts through the hole (shank and tailpipes/lines). Ask the other person to hold the faucet in the correct position, while you go under the sink.
Step 3: Place the mounting kit (the washer, then the nut/mounting clip) onto the shank and secure* it with a (basin) wrench/screwdriver.
*If you’re doing this alone, don’t secure the kit just yet. Partially tighten the kit, then go above the sink to check if the faucet is in the correct position.
Step 4: Use thread tape on threaded parts (for extra sealing), connect the supply lines to the correct hot/cold water supply inlets. Secure connections with a wrench but don’t over tighten.
If the size of your old lines’ connections does not match with the new ones, adapters can be found in hardware stores.
Step 5: Make sure the faucet handle is turned to ‘off’. Slowly turn on the water supply (cold one first) and use your finger to check for leaks at the joints. Fix with more tape.
Step 6: Turn on the faucet and let it run for a couple of minutes to clear the pipes.
– If your faucet has a tailpipe for a side sprayer, then we need to connect the sprayer or plug the pipe up altogether. Refer to the installation sheet for the plug’s use.
– If it has a long hose (pull-out/down type), use a bucket under the sink because the water runs out of the tailpipe.
All the basic steps required to successfully install a kitchen faucet are presented. There are a few distinctive traits of each specific faucet type which we will go into next, but all in all, we’re as good as done.
Touchless kitchen faucets
Tools: electrical drill, pencil
Here is the trickiest, and also the easiest part of the whole guide. Tricky because it involves more technical elements and each brand has their own technology, therefore their own unique designs. You can see that we simply cannot cover them all in one section so we have to split them up and go through them one by one.
On the flip side, it’s easy because all these companies have instruction videos on their website. Here is a simple collection so as to save you the time on actually digging through their online archives. However, I can’t promise that the processes themselves are easy. So sorry…
Before we begin, heed this little advice: pay attention to the control box/ solenoid placement. You don’t want the piece to be laid on the floor or too far away from your faucet set.
This part will cover the 4 best brands – Moen, Delta, Kohler and Badjium – of touchless kitchen faucets in hope that you guys acquire products from them more than the others, and therefore have bigger chance to find a solution here.
Installation of Moen’s MotionSense is fairly straightforward. The control box and hoses are all labeled with numbers indicating their designated positions. The data cable can be easily inserted in the similarly shaped USB port, designed to prevent incorrect connections.
Overall, it’s not too complicated a process. Let’s watch the video (at 3:16):
BadiJum Double-Sensor is the easiest to install among the four brands. The connectors are all in distinct forms, saving us a whole lot of time figuring out which goes where. The batteries too, are positioned inside the control box, unlike the MotionSense (Moen) or Touch2O (Delta Faucet) which has a separate container.
The clip itself is very short and precise. Follow the steps and it’s done.(at 1:35):
Delta Touch2O technology is delicate in design, and different in its setup compared to the other brands. The small solenoid assembly doesn’t need to be mounted as it’s connected in between the hose. Notably, the spacing of the power source (the batteries) requires extra attention from you.
Here’s the clip (at 5:09):
I would also suggest that you watch it in its entirety to grasp the idea of the Delta’s faucet installation as a whole. It usually has variations here and there.
Personally, I prefer to hang the battery box or tape it onto the cabinet’s interior back wall. Just make sure that no metal objects are closer than 2” to the box to prevent fouling.
Kohler’ Sensate is more elaborate, now that we’ve gone through the others.
There are two parts of the whole set: the solenoid and the circuit box. The connections of the solenoid are similar to that of the Double-Sensor, with specified connectors. However, the circuit box looks pretty technical.
Watch the video carefully and note the small grease capsule as well as the position of the wires (at 3:50):
Pull-down/out kitchen faucets
Pull-down/out faucets have a distinctive detail – the hose. They also have a counterweight to better enhance the self-retraction mechanism of the sprayhead. So we need to take care of that as well.
First, slide the hose all the way through the spout (don’t connect with the tailpipe just yet) and dock the sprayhead. Next, we should use tape to secure and ensure that the head stays in its position during the installation even though some faucets already have magnetic docking. Alternatively, you can ask for some help.
Now, follow the standard instructions above to step 6 and continue:
Step 7: Attach the counterweight* onto the hose and connect it with the tailpipe (usually with a provided snap connector).
*Depending on the counterweight design, we can either run the hose through it before the connection with the pipe or we can attach it onto the hose after the connection.
Step 8: Clear out the underside and test the spray head’s self-retraction. If you don’t like how the weight is working, you can adjust the counterweight a bit higher on the hose than the original placement for a better pull.
Step 9: Turn on the faucet, check for leaks and let it run for a couple of minutes.
Kitchen faucet side sprayer
Side sprayers are usually offered with the types of kitchen faucets that do not have long hoses. These models have what we call “diverters” built in, ready for a sprayer. And the installation is very easy.
What you need to do is to follow the standard installation process to step 6. And before turning on the faucet to check, set the side sprayer in place. We’ll test the whole set afterward.
First, the sprayer gasket kit can be found with the washer on already. Remove the washer and place the gasket into the designated hole; then put the washer on from the underside.
Second, slide the sprayer through the hole. After that, go underneath and connect it with the pipe right under the spout’s position through a nut-type connection (remember to use thread tape), or a snap connector with modern faucets (refer to the installation manual).
Finally, test it by turning on the faucet and pressing on the sprayer. It should be working now.