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OVERVIEW

 

Faucets are available in an ever-increasing variety of types and styles, no matter if they are for the kitchen or bathroom. Aside from the standard chrome faucet with compression type valves, there are also faucets that use ball valves, cartridges and even ceramic discs, all available in stainless steel, brass, or colored enamel finishes.

Choosing the right faucet may seem confusing, but it really boils down to just three considerations, size, finish, and function. Size refers to how the holes are configured on your sink as well as general considerations of whether or not the handles will have enough room to swing around. The finish, aside from what you think looks good, is best evaluated by the length of any guarantee the manufacturer offers. Finally, function refers to the method in which the faucet operates; one or two valves, or a levered operation.

 

 

Skill Level & Time to Complete

 
  • Beginner - Depends on your particular project 
  • Intermediate - Depends on your particular project
  • Advanced - Depends on your particular project
  - Make sure to wear safety glasses when working under the sink as bits of rust and metal can fall into your eyes as you are working.
  - Before doing any work on your faucet, make sure to close the drain so small parts do not fall in it.
  - When choosing a faucet, especially a shower/bath faucet, choose handles that can be easily gripped and turned with soapy hands. Round, sleek handles may look nice until your hand slips trying to turn off water that is too hot.
  - If your faucet or shower pressure is low or uneven, try cleaning the aerator or showerhead. Just unscrew it, take it apart being careful to keep track of the parts and their order, and clean any grit out of the showerhead. Then reassemble and reinstall it.



SHOPPING LIST


Materials List
   Plumbing tools and supplies
 
Tools List
   Plumbing tools and supplies

 

1. The basic parts of a faucet are as follows; the tail piece (a), The distance between tail pieces (b), the mounting nut (c) to hold the faucet to the sink, the supply tube (d) for supplying the water to the faucet, the shutoff valve (e) where the supply of water to the faucet can be turned off before commencing repairs, the aerator (f) mixes the water coming out of the spout with air to prevent splashing, the control valve (g) detailed in the next four steps, controls the flow of water out of the spout.
2. Faucets with compression valves are almost always made with separate hot and cold valves. What distinguishes a compression valve from other types is that it will have a rubber washer at its base that compresses against a valve seat to shut off the water. Often this action of the washer compressing against the valve seat can be felt as a slight increase in turning resistance as you shut off the water. To repair a compression type valve you most likely will have to replace the rubber parts or replace/resurface the valve seat.
3. Faucets with ball-type valves are found on single handle faucets. Typically, a ball valve's action is like a car stick shift only with left and right motions controlling the hot and cold and front and back to control the flow. Repair involves replacing the rubber parts, which are typically sold in kits. Replacement balls are usually sold separately.
4. Faucets with cartridge type valves are available in both single and double handle styles. The double handle styles operate just like compression valves with the exception that the action is completely consistent with no need to apply any extra pressure when closing the valve as you do sometimes with compression valves. The action for single handle faucets resembles that of ball valves except that the flow is controlled by raising or lowering the handle, instead of pushing it front or back. Repair of these valves involves replacing the entire cartridge. This is convenient as the cartridge often contains all the parts subject to wear.
5. Faucets with ceramic discs are a relatively recent development. Their operation is virtually indistinguishable from cartridge type valves. Because of their design, if there are problems you should only have to take them apart and clean the parts to repair leaks.

 

6. There are three basic hole configurations for mounting faucets on sinks. The most popular configuration is two holes that are four inches apart on center (measured from the center of the holes, see "a") with a center hole between them (three holes total). Another similar configuration is two holes eight inches apart on center with a center hole between them (often called a spread set configuration). Finally, there might be just a single hole, a common configuration for newer sinks and faucets.
7. Working on faucets requires some specialized tools. Aside from the usual wrenches and pliers that can be found in most toolboxes, you should also have a basin wrench (a) for turning faucet mounting nuts from under a sink, a set of deep sockets (b) for removing shower/bath valves, a seat wrench (c) for unscrewing valve seats, a seat-dressing tool (d) for resurfacing non removable seats, and a handle puller (e) to safely remove handles that are stuck.

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