When a bathroom faucet starts leaking because it is worn out there are two things the owner can do. Either repair it or replace it. Option one might be cheaper in the short term but more costly in the long run as the various parts start to break down one after the other. Replacement is the smart option to take because then one has a good as new, well functioning faucet. How does one go about replacing a broken down leaking faucet?
It is important to remember that when replacing bathroom faucets, the new one can be a different type from the broken down one being replaced. It is thus possible to fit a single hole faucet onto a triple hole sink provided the single hole faucet is fitted with a solid base plate to cover the extra holes.
Decide on the Type of Faucet
Bathroom faucets are usually found in three versions, the single hole faucet, the 4-inch and the 8-inch triple hole faucet. In the single hole version, the central knob serves as the water spout as well as the mixing valves. The 4-inch and the 8-inch faucets are essentially the same in that they work on the same principle, namely that the centre device works as the spout only. The difference is that mixing valves are located on either side, being 4-inch or 8-inch distance from the sprout, hence their names.
Plan How the Job is to be Done
Decide beforehand exactly how you are going to do the job. Is it only the faucet that is going to be replaced, or the drain pipes and the supple lines as well? It is up to the house owner but if resources permit, it is recommended to replace the whole system, that is the faucet itself, the supply lines and the drains. This can mean a long term saving as the whole unit is then guaranteed to last longer.
Decide on what is Needed
Replacing a bathroom faucet requires a lot of accessories and tools. So it is a good idea to have a good instructional manual from the supplier or manufacturer. A manual will give you step by step directions plus all the accessories and tools you are going to need and their uses. Tools will include basin wrenches, tubing bender tool, tongue and groove pliers, a pipe cutter and also adjustable wrenches.
As you have already decided on the type faucet you need, the next step is to go and do the actual buying. Each sink or countertop has a faucet with particular specifications that go with it. Get these right as you go to the supplier or manufacturer to place an order. The installation process is made much easier if the faucet bought fits the sink perfectly, it means no time consuming adjustments.
Do Away with the Old Faucet
With all the other accessories now in place, the next step is to cut off the supply of the water otherwise there is risk of flooding the bathroom.
Disconnect all drain pipes and the P-trap, not forgetting to place a collecting bucket underneath the sink to collect any water previously trapped in the pipes. Some bathroom faucets come with an accompanying drain and some do not. If the one you bought has a drain, then obviously the old drain has to come off too. It is important to clean around all the joints particularly those with remaining old traces of silicone sealant. This cleaning process is most important because if the joining points are not properly cleaned, the sealant will not seal the joints properly.
Install the New Faucet
The procedure for installing and replacing a faucet is not very different between different faucet types. However , there are inevitable minor variations. For this reason, it is vital to read the installation manual supplied by the manufacturer carefully. The usual first step is to place and seal the gasket at the bottom of the faucet. The sealant helps to make the sealant airtight.
The next step is to align the faucet, lower it into position and secure it in place with nuts. Some bathroom faucets come with pre-assembled handles and some do not. If the one being assembled does not have pre-assembled handles then this has to be done first. This is done by holding the handles in place then securing them with set screws. The nuts are then screwed onto the main drain body and the gasket is easily pushed over it. The drain nut is taken off from the flange and a tiny amount of silicone is applied.
It is more necessary to tighten the gasket beneath the sink, making sure to clean up any excess sealant around the joints using a suitable mineral solvent. Many good manuals will advise on the best solvents to use. It is important to make sure the gasket is securely tied with a wrench to make it airtight.
Most drain pipes have a hole on the side. This hole connects with the drain rod which is installed by taking off the pivot nut on the main drain body. The horizontal rod is attached to the hole and pushed down. The rod is then tightened to the strap using a nut.
Reconnecting your Supply Lines
It is now time to connect back the supply lines to the newly fitted bathroom faucet. Some faucets come with brand new water supply lines. With these it is necessary to take off the old ones. This is done by simply disconnecting the old supply lines at the shut off points and then connect the new ones. After this, flushing is important before the new faucet is used. The purpose of flushing is to remove any remaining residue and other unwanted material from the manufacturers. Some kits are supplied with specialised tools, for this function but some are not, in which case it has to be procured separately.
Last Step – Check for Leaks
An effective way of checking for leaks is to run over dry tissue paper all over the drain, the pipes and the faucet. Presence of moisture on the tissue paper is indicative of leaks.
If no moisture is observed on the tissue paper, then chances are there are no leaks. It means a job well done.