It's time to give the bathroom a little update and you've decided the old fixtures need to go. It shouldn't be that hard to change those out, right? Just unscrew something, pull the old faucet off and put the new one in, correct? Yes and no. Before you start unscrewing things, do your homework and read on as we guide you through the super simple, center set faucet change-out technique.
1. Select the New Faucet
The center set faucet set is one of the most common types of bathroom faucets on the market so there are plenty of choices for your replacement. The center set is also sometimes referred to as “mini-spread," or a “four inch spread faucet," all of which feature three elements—a faucet and two handles.
2. Turn Off the Water
Once you have the replacement faucet picked out and in hand, turn off the water to the existing faucet. Look under the sink for two cut-off valves on the incoming water lines, one for the hot water, one for the cold and turn them clockwise to close the valves.
If there are no cut-off valves on the incoming water lines under the sink you'll need to locate and turn off the water supply line to the bathroom or maybe the main water supply line to the house. Once the valve is off, turn on the water at the sink to drain whatever water may still be in the lines.
3. Unscrew the Old Faucet
Use a basin wrench or a pipe wrench to loosen the nuts holding the supply lines to the old faucet. If they are stubborn you may need to squirt some penetrating oil (like WD-40), onto the nuts and wait a few minutes for the oil to work it's way into the threads. Use the wrench to turn the nuts counterclockwise and pull the lines away from the faucet. You then use the wrench to unscrew the mounting nuts from the bottom of the old faucet. If there's a lift rod for the drain plug, that needs to come off too—usually by compressing the spring loaded fastener on the rod.
At this point the old faucet should lift right off unless caulk is holding it in place. If it's stuck to the top of the counter, use a knife to cut away the old caulk and lift the faucet off. Clean off any extra caulk or residue that's underneath the old faucet using a putty knife or a razor knife.
4. Put on the New Faucet
If the new faucet comes with a gasket, lay that down first and then put on the new faucet making sure the holes line up. Re-tighten the mounting nuts using your wrench by turning them clockwise. Reattach the supply lines the same way and then reattach the drain plug rod.
If your new faucet did not come with a gasket, you might want to put a bead of caulk around the new faucet where it meets the countertop. Use a caulking gun to squeeze out a thin line of caulk as you trace your way around the faucet. Wet your finger and use it to smooth out any problem areas.
5. Check for Leaks
Turn the water back on and if you have no leaks, you are done. If you do have a leak, don't freak. Turn the water back off and loosen the connection with the leak. Apply plumber's tape also called “Teflon tape" or rub some “pipe dope" to the threads and retighten. Turn the water back on and if everything stays dry, congratulations. You are a bona fide faucet replacement technician.