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By Christina Poletto

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If you’re thinking of replacing your kitchen faucet on your own, it's not as crazy as it may sound. In fact, replacing a kitchen faucet is a fairly easy job if you plan right, prep your tools in advance and follow a few other expert rules of thumb.

But here’s a newsflash for first-timers: “Plumbing projects in general rarely go exactly like they should,” plumbing expert Gary Wentz, editor-in-chief of Family Handyman magazine, told TODAY Home.

Generally, it’s the unpredictable and unseen factors that cause problems. Plan on replacing your faucet during store hours, suggests Wentz. “Chances are better than 50-50 you’ll need at least one more part for this how to replace a kitchen faucet project,” he said.

Here are a few more tips on how to install a new kitchen faucet while avoiding any plumbing bloopers.

Installing a new faucet isn't rocket science, but it will take some time. Family Handyman

How to replace a kitchen faucet

What you'll need:

A basin wrench, which has a long handle, will come in handy when it comes to replacing a faucet. Family Handyman

What to do before you start:

  1. Before you buy a new faucet, poke your head under the sink and size up the job a little bit. Grab a flashlight and take a good look at the underside of the sink so you know what you’re working with. One imperative step of changing out a faucet is loosening the existing nuts that are currently holding your faucet in place. If they’re corroded, you can assume it’ll be a struggle to remove, so you may want a basin wrench handy to try and budge them.
  2. Take stock of the faucet you have in place. If you’re heading to a hardware or home-improvement store, consider taking a picture of your faucet and basin to show a plumbing salesperson. They’ll confirm if the faucet you’d like to install will work with the sink you have.
  3. While most new faucets have new supply lines already connected to them, Wentz suggests taking the time to measure for new supply lines just in case. “It’s a bad idea to reuse the old ones,” said Wentz. “Replacing them just makes sense. They have limited life. If your new faucet doesn’t include supply lines attached to it, then you should buy new ones and measure them ahead of time.”
When it comes to installing your new faucet, make sure there's plenty of light to see the underside of the basin. Family Handyman

Instructions for replacing the faucet:

  1. Make it a priority to read the instructions thoroughly before starting any work. Also, take a moment to clear everything out under the sink. Have one to two good-sized bowls or tupperware handy to catch excess water. When you disconnect supply lines, water will come out. To be safe, have rags handy, too.
  2. Before you start the job, turn off the shut-off valves. The water has to be off before you replace your faucet.
  3. Make sure the work space is well lit. Bright lighting — like a camping lantern or work light — under the sink will make the job so much easier.
  4. To get started, use the basin wrench to unhinge the nuts underneath the existing faucet.
  5. Wentz also suggests having a putty knife handy. “When you’re ready, very carefully slip it under the old faucet to break it free. Its very easy to scratch the sink, so be careful and patient,” said Wentz.
  6. Install the new faucet, per the instructions.
  7. Grab your basin wrench and tighten the nuts around the faucet parts. However, don’t make them too tight or you might have problems down the line, shared Wentz. “It’s a mistake to over-tighten the nuts at the shut off valves,” said Wentz. “Some people think that the tighter you make it, the better but if you twist it too hard you can wreck the rubber washer. Make it snug, but not super tight.”
  8. Once the faucet is in and all pieces are connected, take a rag and wipe down all the tubes and pipes under the sink. “It’s so you know they’re dry,” said Wentz. “Then, turn the water back on full blast and let it run.” Wentz suggests also removing the aerator from the faucet head to flush out any sediment that may have built up in the pipes. After a few minutes, turn the water off and replace the aerator where it belongs.
  9. After a few minutes of letting the water run, check under the sink and see if there are any drips developing. Wentz suggests using a white tissue and running it all over the under-basin pipes and connection points, as it will quickly reveal any water and damp spots immediately.
  10. If a leak is suspected, check where the supply lines connect to the shut-off valves. Wentz shares: “Just snug them up a little. Make them a little tighter, but not too tight.”

Once this project is done and dusted, you might feel inspired to try replacing your own floors or to come up with new storage solutions for your bathroom.