When replacing a faucet, one of the most difficult steps is removing the existing faucet. The steps for removing a faucet are not difficult, but the cramped space and stuck-in-place components can pose a challenge. The following are instructions for removing a faucet and tips for dealing with unexpected problems.
- Start by shutting off the water to the faucet by turning off the water supply valves at the faucet or the main water supply to the house. Check that the water is turned off by turning on the faucet. This also allows the faucet to drain any water that is still in the fixture and it releases any pressure built up in the line.
- Remove the water supply lines from the valve. It is always better to change the water supply flex lines when installing a new faucet unless the existing ones are fairly new. Use two sets of pliers to disconnect the water lines; one to hold the valve steady and the other to unscrew the water line.
- There are two types of faucets so there are two ways of removing a faucet. Top mounted faucets are removed from under the sink and bottom mounted faucets from the top.
Bottom Mount Faucet
To remove a bottom mount faucet the first thing to do is to remove the handles and escutcheon. Look for a hidden screw that holds the handle or handles in place. With the handles out of the way you should see the lock nuts that fasten the faucet to the sink. Use a wrench or pliers to remove the lock nuts. Do the same for the spout lock nut. The faucet can then be removed from under the sink.
Top Mounted Faucet
Removing a top-mount faucet is a little more difficult simply because it is more difficult to reach the lock nuts. The lock nuts are under the sink just below the faucet location. The small space behind the sink doesn’t allow room for a wrench. Pliers can be used to reach the lock nut, although this is a little awkward. The easiest way to remove those hard to reach lock nuts is with a basin wrench. Remove the water lines and the lock nuts from the faucet. After the lock nuts are removed the faucet can be lifted out from above the sink. If the faucet is held in place with putty or caulking, use a putty knife to carefully break the seal.
This is a good time to clean the sink and remove any old putty or hard water buildup from the old faucet. Take care not to damage the surface while cleaning it.
- If it is too difficult to reach behind the drain lines it may be easier to take the drain apart so you have more room to work.
- When the lock nuts will not come off, apply penetrating oil and allow it to sit for a few minutes, then try again.
- If the lock nuts are stripped, it may be necessary to cut them off. This can be done with a hacksaw or a specialty tool.