How To: Faucets

At Advocate Master Plumbing we’ve performed thousands of faucet repair and installations. Our friends and neighbors in Lee’s Summit and all of Jackson county Missouri have called on us to help with their kitchen faucets, bathroom sink faucets and wall faucets. They are constantly changing and being improved and we continue to study our industry to keep up with new models. If you find you need a kitchen or bathroom sink faucet repair or installation please give us a call.

While we work on all models of faucets we try to recommend the Moen and Delta brand faucets. They are well built, a good value and come with a lifetime warranty. We’re grateful to our customers support and patronage. So we’d like to share some step by step faucet repair instructions of some of the more common faucet types to assist our DIY customers. We hope that you’ll consider us for any other plumbing repairs you may need in the future.

Feel free to jump ahead to your particular faucet repair needs by clicking one of the links below.

How do you install a Delta faucet with pop up assembly?

Faucet installation is a common household plumbing repair. It demands a minimal level of plumbing skills and few tools. Because of the wide range of designs in faucets it would be impossible to cover them all. And the step by step instructions would be overwhelming. So watch the video below and it will give you an overall view of the process. You can go to the faucet manufacturers website and click on their YouTube link. They often have faucet installation instructions for your particular faucet model.

How do you install a Moen faucet?

I’ve separated faucet installations by brand to give you a little variety in faucet styles. The Moen faucet installation video is for a two handle faucet. It doesn’t show the pop up assembly installation like the Delta faucet installation video. But concentrates on the faucet.

Faucet repair

Faucet repair is a plumbing repair that most home owners will have to face. Hiring a plumber near you is usually the smartest move. But sometimes finances define the smartest move. If you’re trying to save a few bucks and feel you have the mechanical ability for this plumbing repair, read on.

How do you clean a faucet aerator or shower head?

If you’ve noticed your faucet water stream being uneven or having a low flow you may need to clean the aerator. The faucet aerator is the part at the very tip of the faucet spout. It injects air into the water to soften the water stream. This prevents splashing. It also dissipates built up gases in the water. Lastly, it helps with water conservation.

Your shower head is very similar. It has built-in flow restrictors and screens for softening the water, dissipating built up gases in the water and water conservation. To see how to clean either your faucet aerator or shower head watch this video from Delta faucets.

Why is my faucet leaking?

A leaking faucet can be caused by many different things. The most common is age. The seals in a faucet stem or cartridge are usually rubber. The chemicals in our water break down those seals over time. And sometimes the water itself is the problem. Mineral build up inside the faucet can create faucet leaks. Excessive water pressure can overwhelm your faucet and create faucet leaks. A cracked faucet housing or manufacturer’s defect can cause leaky faucets as well.

How do you perform a Delta faucet repair?

Faucet repair instructions are specific to the particular faucet make and model. Delta faucets are one of the most common models. In the video below you’ll find step by step faucet repair instructions.

How do you perform a Moen faucet repair?

The Moen faucet repair can be a bit more complicated than the Delta because you may need to purchase a specialty tool called the Moen cartridge puller. It’s very easy to use. And you can get the Moen cartridge pulling tool at most hardware stores and home stores.

The Moen faucet cartridge pulling tool

This particular faucet repair is relatively simple. But you will need a special tool for it. This is the only faucet I know of that needs a specialty tool. But don’t worry. It’s still very doable. It can be difficult to pull the old cartridge out of a Moen faucet. Hard water deposits will seize it to the inside housing of the faucet. This tool works similarly to a gear puller for automotive repair. I always have one with me.

Moen kitchen and bathroom sink faucet repair

One of the most common types of faucets is the single lever Moen. Because it needs a specialty tool to remove the cartridge the average homeowner can be intimidated by this basic plumbing repair. Continue reading to learn this standard kitchen or bathroom sink faucet repair.

Get your Moen faucet cartridge

Stop! Don’t buy any parts! Moen has a wonderful lifetime warranty. There’s no need to prove you’re the original purchaser either. Just call Moen at 1 (800) 289-6636. They’ll send you a part within 5 to 10 business days. That’s part of the reason they’re such a good value. But if you can’t wait your local hardware store will have it in stock. These are common faucets and the parts are generally pretty inexpensive.

Buy a Moen faucet cartridge pulling tool

Be sure to purchase a Moen cartridge pulling tool in the plumbing department of your favorite home store. It shouldn’t cost more than 10 bucks or so unless you buy high-end tools. The design of Moen kitchen faucets are very simple and clean. But the cartridges can get seized inside the faucet housing due to hard water build up and the rubber seals binding when pulling it out. The other tools you’ll need are a Phillips head screw driver, a multi Allen wrench and a pair of pump house pliers or channel locks. My favorite brand of pliers is Wilde. They have the smoothest action and last forever. For screwdrivers look in the electrical department at your local home store. Electricians have the best screwdrivers. A simple 6 way multi screwdriver is a good tool to have at all times. Allen wrenches are generally a dime a dozen.

Check your faucet water shut-offs

Confirm that you have functional quarter turn water shut offs under your faucet. Quarter turn means they only turn 90 degrees on and off. If you have the older multi turn style then just go downstairs and turn off the water to the whole house. If you attempt to shut off the old multi turn style water shut offs you’re very likely going to crush the old rubber seals inside. This could result in a faucet that still has water flow when you pull it apart or even worse little pieces of rubber clogging your faucet when turned back on. Bypassing the faucet shut offs and turning off the whole house is an inconvenience but worth it. Either way, shut the water off. If you turned off the whole house be sure to turn on a hose connection and then turn on the faucet. This will depressurize and drain the faucet. If you have the nicer quarter turn shut offs under the sink just turn the faucet on to depressurize it.

Remove the faucet handle and bonnet nut

All faucets are a little different but usually there’s an Allen screw holding the handle on. A 7/64-inch Allen wrench should be what you need. I usually just shuffle through my multi Allen wrench until I find what I need. But sometimes there’s a simple Phillips screw holding everything together. Anyway, remove the handle. This should give you access to a cap that will either pop off or unscrew. Now you have access to the kitchen faucet stem. It’s the thing you’re actually turning when you manipulate the handle during use.

Remove the old faucet cartridge

Remove the Moen 1225 cartridge. To do this you pull the stem retainer clip. Be careful not to damage it. They’re pretty flimsy but vital. Then take your Moen cartridge puller tool and turn the little “dog ears” at the end of the tool until they fall into the grooves at the top of the faucet stem. Then screw the Phillips head in the tool into the tip of the stem. Thread it all the way without over tightening it. Then thread the large nut on the shaft of the tool clockwise until you make contact with the top of the faucet housing. Now hold onto the T handle of the Moen tool and, using your pliers, turn the large nut on the Moen tool clockwise again. This will start pulling the cartridge out of the faucet. Once it’s bottomed out, you’re going to have to man up and twist and pull until the cartridge is out.

Install the new cartridge

Inspect the inside of the faucet for calcium build up or rubber debris. I usually just clean it out with my finger. Fight the urge to chisel hard water deposits off with your screwdriver. It could damage the faucet. Fingernails work best. But a Scotch brite pad will work too. Don’t lubricate the faucet housing or cartridge before replacing it. I’ve seen water pressure push open a faucet that’s been over lubricated. And be aware that the 1225 cartridge can go in backwards or forward & still work. That means that if your hot & cold water is reversed after your repair, simply turn the stem 180 degrees (without removing it) & it’ll switch them back.

What is a wall hydrant?

One of the problems in the plumbing industry is terminology. This is an industry of men. We tend to name things in odd and even sexist ways. Short pieces of threaded pipe are called nipples. A gas shut off valve is called a gas cock. There’s a male and female threaded fitting. This is why my customers rarely know what I’m saying when I tell them they need a new wall hydrant.

A wall hydrant is your garden hose water connection on the exterior of your home. The reason why it’s so important is it’s difficult to have a faucet exposed to the elements in a cold climate. The water piping it’s attached to tends to freeze and burst in winter. The wall hydrant is essentially a faucet that is mounted on the side of your home. It’s attached to your water pipes and is mounted to the siding of your home. When you turn it on water comes out. When you turn it off the water is shut off inside the conditioned space of your home. It also drains itself when you turn it off so no water is near the cold air. The important part is that the hydrant drains all the water out away from the freezing temperatures.

A burst wall hydrant

Do you remember when you were young and you put your finger over the end of your soda straw before pulling it out of your drink? The purpose was to hold some soda in your straw and defy gravity. That’s a vacuum holding the soda in the straw. This is a problem for wall hydrants. They can’t drain themselves without air being introduced inside. That round cap above the handle is a vacuum breaker. It’s basically a hole in the faucet with a little bead floating freely. When you turn the water on the bead is forced up to cover an air inlet. When you shut off the wall hydrant the bead falls and air is drawn in through the hole as water drains out.

The key to this vacuum breaker working is your garden hose needs to be removed to allow all the water to drain. If you forget and leave the hose on during the winter, the water is allowed to stay in the housing of the wall hydrant around the long faucet stem. Then it freezes.

When water changes state from liquid to solid a tremendous amount of force is exerted. Over 100,000 pounds per square inch to be exact. I’ve seen huge industrial valves that look like a mortar shell penetrated them. The water freezes slowly and builds pressure in the still liquid water to the breaking point bursting the valve from the inside out.



Why is there water in my basement?!

The tricky part of a burst wall hydrant is that it won’t leak until you turn it on. So you think you got away with something when you forgot to remove your garden hose and nothing happened. But then spring comes and you decide to wash your car. It usually only leaks inside the house. So you’re outside while the water is raining down inside your basement. You turn off the wall hydrant and it stops. Then you go downstairs to find the mess.

Wall hydrant repair

The only way to fix the oops is a wall hydrant replacement. This is an involved procedure that involves shutting off your home water supply, draining it, removing the old wall hydrant and installing a new one. That means accessing the old one. If you have a finished basement the drywall will have to be cut. The old wall hydrant is cut and removed. The new wall hydrant is installed with new mounting screws and soldered to your water pipes.

What does a wall hydrant repair cost?

This depends on how difficult it is to access the old wall hydrant, how big a hurry you’re in, what type of valve you want to replace it with and who you call; but mainly who you call. I prefer to install a burst resistant wall hydrant. No need for a repeat of the problem. I’m also a one man plumbing company. That means you’re not going to pay for the huge marketing budget of the large corporate entities you see on television. A range is 250 – 350 on average. And it doesn’t usually take more than half an hour. But you may be left with a hole in your wall.

Lee’s Summit faucet repairs with a warranty

Many of the faucet repairs discussed in this DIY page can be considered advanced plumbing. Do not attempt these if you aren’t experienced. Always remember to do your home repairs during the week when you can get parts and an emergency plumber. Are you interested in paying after hours and weekend rates. And remember that you’re good at what you do. Let us be good at what we do. We’ll do it at an affordable rate and give you a warranty to boot.