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The Home Depot

Faucet Installation Troubleshooting Tips

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Faucet Installation Troubleshooting Tips
Faucet Installation Troubleshooting Tips

Whether you’re installing a brand new faucet or replacing an old, leaky one, you don’t need extensive skills or equipment to tackle this home improvement project. If you can maneuver a wrench and pliers with confidence, you’ve got what it takes to install a new faucet at a kitchen or bathroom sink.


If you’re still undecided about whether you need a new faucet, check out the Texas A&M website for information about water loss through leaky faucets. A leaky faucet can cause water loss of 20 gallons or more each day.


Once you’re ready to go, prepare for whatever comes up with faucet installation troubleshooting tips that will help you sail through your project with flying colors.

  1. 1.Project Preparation

    Before you begin, visit the hardware or home improvement store to get all the tools and materials you’ll need for the job. Include a basin wrench, pipe wrench, open-end wrenches, slip-joint pliers, locking pliers, tubing cutter or mini-tubing cutter, compression-fitting shutoff valves, new supply tubes and the new faucet installation kit on your shopping list. Before you begin tearing anything apart under the sink, take a digital photo of the entire pipe layout so you know how it needs to look when you’re done.

  2. Never start a plumbing project at a time when your local hardware store isn’t open. The likelihood that you’ll be running to the store at least once during the project is high...
  3. 2.Getting Started

    Give any existing shutoff valves a good crank under the sink to stop water from dripping through the pipes after you disconnect them. It’s very possible that your existing shutoff valves won’t work effectively, in which case, you should turn off the main water supply valve and then replace the shutoff valves with compression-fitting shutoff valves before you go any further. The next step is to disconnect the old faucet from the water supply lines.

  4. 3.Possible Wrenches in the Project

    If you can’t budge the old faucet nuts, they may need a little extra coaxing. Saturate the threads with penetrating oil for about five minutes and try again. If they still won’t come off, stop trying to force it because you may break something. Instead, remove the entire sink to give you adequate leverage on the nuts with a locking pliers or pipe wrench. If a faucet has more holes than you need, fill the extra holes with a blank insert. Insert the new faucet, connect the water lines and you should be nearly done.

  5. 4.Final Checking

    Check for leakage after you finish installing and reconnecting the water lines. If you have water pooling around the base of the faucet, do some quick troubleshooting to determine the cause of the problem. You need to install washers correctly in the stems of compression faucets. For ball valve faucets, the ball valves need to sit correctly or you’ll experience leaking water. Cartridge faucets require O-rings installed properly inside the stems. Continued leaking problems may indicate a problem at the base of the faucet body – replace the worn valve seat and reassemble the faucet.

  6. 5.Additional Tips

    Never start a plumbing project at a time when your local hardware store isn’t open. The likelihood that you’ll be running to the store at least once during the project is high and you’ll be stuck with an inoperable sink if the hardware store is closed. Also, buy the best faucet you can afford. Cheap faucets tend to have seals and valves that will wear out quickly, especially under heavy use.

  7. 6.Enjoy

    Once you have the new faucet installed and it’s working flawlessly, you may wonder why you suffered with drips and leaks for so long. Perhaps you’ll even have the confidence to tackle bigger home improvement projects, too!

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