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Guide To Changing Kitchen Taps
Kitchen taps do not last forever, whether it’s in styling or function. So when the time to bid your kitchen tap goodbye comes, it would be best if you know how to change it for a new one. It might be because you need a more modern design or a better functioning one, either way, it will save you some costs if you know how to replace it yourself.
Generally, your kitchen tap is deck mounted, which means that your tap connects to the hot and cold water tubes on the kitchen sink. Standard sinks have three or four holes with a spacing of about centimetres apart. With the above information, you will notice that changing a kitchen tap needs a professional hand.
But you can still do some tasks involved in this process by utilising your DIY skills. With that in mind, replacing your tap can be easy, but you need to do your homework well before attempting to replace it. It is crucial to replace your tap with a similar one to match the existing holes.
However, you can cover any unused hole with an accessory if you want a different model. The installation process is basically the same regardless of the brand or type you choose. All you have to do is ensure that you secure the tap on the sink or counter and the hot and cold tubes are correctly connected.
Tools And Supplies Needed For Kitchen Tap Replacement
If you intend to change your kitchen tap by yourself, you need to know all the tools required for the replacement process. If you lack the necessary tools, you should purchase them from a nearby store beforehand. Having said this, here are the tools that you will need:
- Washing bowl
- Basin wrench
- Cleaning cloth
- Open-ended spanner
- Adjustable pliers
- Limescale remover
- Pipe cutter
- PTFE tape
- Back nut box spanner
- Masking tape
- Check valves
- Drip pan
- Eye protection
- A pair of pliers
- Penetrating oil
- Joint compound
- Plumber’s putty
- New tap
Important Terms To Know Before Changing Your Tap
- Plumber’s putty: This is a soft earthy material that plumbers use to seal around the taps.
- Thread seal tape: It is a plumber’s tape, also known as Teflon tape. It is white and seals thread fittings.
- Pipe joint compound: It is a sealant used to seal the threaded pipe. It is in paste form and used as a thread tape.
- Compressed fitting: It is the action of attaching copper tubes to stop control valves.
- Deck-mounted tap: It is a tap attached to the counter or kitchen sink through two holes.
- Flexible supply line: They are flexible pipes that connect cold and hot valves.
Things To Know Before Replacing Your Kitchen Tap
Whether your tap is outdated or leaking water, replacing it may sound like an easy DIY task. Unfortunately, it is not. Swapping an old tap with a new and trendier nickel finish is not simple. You may manage to replace your tap, but because of the complexity of the tap configurations, you will run into one or two snags during the installation process.
With an idea of what to expect and what can go wrong, you can avoid many pitfalls and also know when to give in and call a plumber. Before you start tearing apart your kitchen sink area to replace the old faucet with a flashy one, here are some important factors for you to consider.
Temporarily shut off the main water supply
Before you begin your work, you need to shut off the water using the on and off valve with your fingers. If your tap is a few years old, it may not budge easily. You can, however, apply heat to loosen the valve to close it if it is not budging.
Alternatively, use a pair of pliers to coax it from its position but do not use excessive pressure as you can break the supply line that can result in flooding. For this sole reason, it is crucial to turn off the water main. Additionally, if you miss the valve, turn off the meter using pliers.
Removing an old tap is tricky
Once your water supply is off, loosen the nuts holding your tap, then remove it from the hole. Unfortunately, this step is not that easy. Most of the time, the space under kitchen sinks is narrow and dark. For that, you will need an adjustable wrench and a floodlight when working.
If you find that the nuts holding your faucet are rusted or stuck, brush the corrosion away with a wire brush and spray penetration oil to dissolve the corrosion. Allow it to rest for around 30 minutes, and try to loosen the nuts again. If they do not budge, you should cut them using a hacksaw or call a plumber.
Use scrap plywood for your back
All repairs at home or work are uncomfortable, especially if you are trying to wiggle into a small space under your sink. Apart from crawling on the small area under the sink, you will also lie across an uneven floor, so your back suffers. A small piece of plywood will come in hand to ease the discomfort.
Since the plywood is narrow, it will fit easily on the opening of your cabinet. You should also ensure that it is wide and long for you to lay on to support your rear end and back. You can also support the plywood with eight cans of paint to get a flat surface to lie on while working.
Know your limits
Sometimes the job can escalate from a two-hour tap replacement job to an entire weekend of plumbing work. If you lack plumbing experience, it is better to engage a reliable plumber to replace the tap.
Choose the right replacement tap
Before you can choose a tap based on its model and finish, you should know your sink’s hardware. The best way to do this is to remove the kitchen tap and note down the number of holes and the space between the far-right hole and the far-left one. This is known as measuring the OC (on centre).
Once that is in order, get a mixer tap that fits the same configurations from your local hardware store. Alternatively, to avoid making any mistakes, you can carry your old tap with you to get the exact match from your hardware. A typical mixer tap goes on a three-hole surface.
If you want to update your old three-hole kitchen tap with a stylish one-hole tap, you can do so. However, you will need to get a base plate similar to your kitchen tap to finish and cover the two holes left out.
If you reverse the situation and need two holes where you had one, you will drill two more holes to fix the faucet. In this case, you will need a countertop contractor to drill the holes without cracking your countertop.
Bring in a plumber
Taps directly attached to the wall are very involved and making a switch to them from a sink mounted tap is a complex job that requires the services of a plumber. If the job is challenging, delegate it to the experts.
How To Remove A Kitchen Tap
Most people in Sydney use the space below the sink for storage. If you are one of them, you should remove the items before you begin the job to access pipe connectors.
Step One: Turn off the water supply
You need to locate the water supply system valve and switch it off. Check it on the outputs of the hoses. Once you have it in hand, turn it 90° to turn off the water. Ensure you try to run the water to confirm that it is actually off. If your water system does not have isolation valves, check the main stopcock to turn off the water supply. Once the water supply is off, you can proceed to step two.
Step Two: Gather your instruments and prepare your workspace
Proceed to gather all your tools and wear protective gear. Now prepare all the instruments you need to use and lay the towel below the sink. If you still have your old tap’s manual, keep it close. You may need it when removing the old tap.
Step Three: Tap disconnection and removal
Whether you have a flexible or standard hose system, you need to disconnect your tap. For a flexible hose system, unfasten the nuts at the main connection valves using adjustable pliers. If you have the standard hose system, loosen the screws with an open-handed spanner.
Now loosen the nuts that fix the tap to the surface of the sink. Grab the tap as you unscrew the nuts and detach it together with the hoses. Be careful as you remove the hoses. After that, clean the residue from the pipes under the sink. There, you did it! You have successfully removed your tap.
If you find the process tedious or complex and cannot finish it, you can engage a professional plumber to install the new tap for you. However, you can always take a short break then finish off what you started. It does not have to be a day’s job.
Fixing A New Kitchen Tap
Now that you have successfully removed your old tap, it is time to fix a new one. The market is full of different types and models of kitchen taps for your interior, ensure you get the best. Remember to carry your old tap with you to the store if you are unsure of the model to get. Here is the procedure to fix your new tap:
Step One: Clean the surface
Clean the surface where you removed the old tap. It may not be an easy job due to a lot of dirt build-up. Therefore, take your time and ensure that your surface is completely clean.
Step Two: Mount your new tap
Did you know that installing a kitchen tap is more straightforward than removing it? Well, now you do. If you have a standard individual pillar, apply five layers of PTFE tape and wrap it in a clockwise direction. Once you do that, you can fix the tap. If the tap model comes with pre-fitted hoses, well and good; if not, use your tap’s user manual to connect them.
The next step is to feed the main hoses to the hole where you had the last tap. Hold the faucet in place and screw the nuts tightly with adjustable pliers. If you notice that the new unit is too heavy for your sink, purchase a tap brace and install it for added support.
Step Three: Connect the main supply
You are almost through. The next thing is to reconnect your system’s mains connectors. Proceed to screw the connector nuts to fix the isolated valves and tighten them with your adjustable open-ended spanner. Be careful and ensure that you tighten the nuts one last time to ensure that they are tightly in place.
Step Four: Turn on the water supply
After installing everything in its right place, you need to ensure your new tap is working correctly. You only have one thing left to do. Turn on the water supply. Adjust the isolating valve and turn on the water supply.
If you find that everything is working correctly, congratulations, you just outdid yourself and seamlessly did a plumber’s job. However, if you find that the installation process was not as successful as you had hoped, you still have the option to reach out to a reliable plumber near you.
What Causes Taps To Malfunction?
Hard water is one of the greatest causes of malfunctioning taps. Luckily, in Sydney, the water is soft with a hardness level of 50 mg/l. Replacing your mixer taps is an easy job that only requires a manual, patience and the right tools. How long will it take you to replace your tap?
Replacing your tap depends on your DIY handyman skills. If you are seasoned at changing taps or any other plumbing tasks, it can take you as little as an hour to complete the whole process as long as you have all your tools. However, if you are a newbie at this and cannot even differentiate between a wrench and pliers, it can take you a day or more.
Regardless, the instructions provided above are bound to have you DIY-ing like a pro if followed to a Tee. However, if you do not trust your DIY skills, you can always engage the services of a trustworthy plumber near you to do the job for you.