How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

So it turns out, I’m not as handy as I thought. After binge-watching a ton of home renovation shows, I got cocky and decided to take a crack at replacing my kitchen faucet on my own. (I mean how hard could it be?)

n theory, it all seemed super straightforward. But in practice? Nope! (After lying on my back and fumbling around in a pitch-black cabinet for the better part of a Saturday afternoon, I realized that I have my limits!) I had to call in my dad to come and bail me out.

The lesson learned is that 99% of most people I meet are handier at home repairs than I am. But since I spent so much time researching on how to install a kitchen faucet, I thought I’d share my findings. Here you go:

Purchase a compatible faucet

Before you set your heart on a sleek new faucet style, make sure it’s compatible with your sink.

Peek underneath to see how many holes there are. If there’s just one, you’ll need a one-hole faucet. But you have more options if there are three or four holes in your sink.

As for the style, copper, brass and brushed gold are popular, but pewter and gunmetal finishes can add darker drama. For functionality, consider a motion-sensing touchless faucet.

Under-sink prep

Clear out everything in the storage cabinet under your sink and keep a work light, bucket and towels on hand.

Since you’ll be laying on your back, set down a small ramp of plywood and an old pillow for comfort.

Shut off the water

Before taking anything apart, remember to turn off the water! If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal or an electrical outlet underneath, turn off the power, too.

Locate the valves under your sink or, if there aren’t any, head to the main water supply line. Switch the shutoff valve to the “off” setting. If it won’t budge, try coaxing it with heat from a hairdryer or gently twisting it with pliers.

Then, switch on the faucet to relieve any pressure in the water lines.

Remove the old faucet

To get the old faucet out of the way, loosen all of the mounting hardware and disconnect all of the supply lines from below. It helps to have someone else keeps the faucet still from above, and a bucket or towel to catch the dripping water below.

Depending on the type of faucet in your sink, you may need to use different strategies, but a basin wrench will always come in handy for loosening the nuts.

Install the new faucet

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as closely as possible for the most successful installation.

Depending on the type of spout assembly you’re working with, you may need to hook up the main faucet, separate hot and cold supply lines and a side sprayer hose.

But, in general, you’ll slide the pieces in from above and use a basin wrench to tighten the mounting hardware. You might also need to use caulk or plumber’s putty to seal up the gaps.

Once everything is secure, connect the water supply lines to complete the plumbing connection.

Test the faucet

Turn the water back on at the supply valves and run a gentle stream of water to make sure it works. Check for drips around the supply lines and tighten the hardware if necessary.

Once you’ve tested it out and everything appears to be dry, remove the faucet’s aerator. Run the water at full-blast to flush out any debris that may have collected. Replace the aerator and your new kitchen sink is ready to go!

After installing or replacing a kitchen faucet, you’ll want to keep all your home systems running smoothly.

FinSee how plans from Service Lines Warranties of America can help with the costs of home repairs.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Even with the best laid plans to winterize your home plumbing system, sometimes pipes still freeze over. And sometimes, they burst. And then the panic builds and causes the emotions to burst. (Sound familiar?)

As my science-loving daughter explained to me, it has to do with changing states of matter. (Yep, she’s a smarty pants.) As the frozen water expands, the pressure can build from 40 PSI to 40,000 PSI. Ordinary pipes are no match for this explosive stress and they’ll rupture.

The worst-case scenario

You may not notice you have a burst pipe until it starts thawing. Then, water will start flooding straight into your home at a rate of hundreds of gallons per hour, according to The Spruce. A wintertime flood can only ever lead to extensive water damage, costly home repairs and buckets of bitter tears.

Identifying a frozen pipe

The most vulnerable pipes are those in an unheated crawl space, basement or garage, and those within external walls. This includes pipes in closets and cabinets and those near outdoor hose hookups. Exposed pipes are also susceptible. Basically, any pipe with some proximity to the great frozen tundra of the outside world is at risk of freezing.

If you can successfully thaw out your frozen pipe before it bursts, you’ll save yourself endless trouble and strife. When the temperatures drop, here are some signs to look for:

  • Nothing comes out of the tap when you turn it on.
  • The water pressure is significantly reduced.
  • Your toilet bowl doesn’t refill after you flush it.
  • Frost appears on the outside of the pipe.
  • There’s a bulge in the pipe.

If you notice one or more of these things, chances are your pipes are frozen and you need to take action — immediately.

What to do

Upon spotting a frozen pipe, keep the surrounding area as warm as possible. Turn up the thermostat to about 70 degrees. To help the heat circulate and stay in, leave cabinet doors open so the warmth reaches the plumbing system and keep your windows and garage door closed.

Direct a space heater (though always use safety precautions) or infrared lamp towards exposed pipes and those behind walls. You can also blow a hot hair dryer towards the pipes to speed up the thawing process. (But never, ever use an exposed flame.) If the situation is really dire, consider slicing out a section of drywall to expose the pipe.

Focus your efforts on the part of the pipe closest to the faucet so that the melting water has somewhere to go. Keep a stream of cold water flowing out of the faucet. If the pipes are frozen, the water flow will be noticeably reduced. As they thaw out, you’ll notice the flow pick up.

If you expect the cold snap to pass, you may be able to resolve the problem on your own. However, if the weather forecast shows that Jack Frost is going to stick around like an unwanted guest, you’d be best served by enlisting the help of an experienced plumber.

Long-term solutions

The crisis may be averted, but you should still take preventative measures with these habits and home improvements to make sure your pipes don’t freeze again:

  • Cover the pipes with pipe insulation.
  • Insulate vulnerable rooms like the basement and crawl spaces.
  • Keep your thermostat at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the colder months.
  • Consider having electric heat cables installed.

Being prepared for pipe and plumbing emergencies is always a good idea. See how plans from Service Lines Warranties of America can help with the costs of home repairs.