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How to Remove Kitchen Faucet Without a Basin Wrench

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A kitchen faucet is a staple fixture in any kitchen; useful for all kitchen activities, including washing dishes as well as offering a convenient water supply. 

There may be a few reasons why you may want or need to remove a kitchen faucet, however. They can often cause numerous plumbing issues such as leaks, low water pressure, and over time they can require a replacement. 

A basin wrench or a sink wrench is a popular tool designed to remove faucets easily and efficiently, but not everyone has a basin wrench, and not everyone is skilled in using plumbing tools.

Other accessible tools can get the job done just as easily and successfully, namely a socket wrench as it’s the closest match to a basin wrench.

In this article, we give you the rundown on how you can remove a kitchen faucet without a basin wrench, as well as a handy, easy-to-follow guide.

Alternative Tools Required

1. Socket Wrench

A socket wrench works most similar to a basin wrench, and just as effectively – simply use the socket wrench to loosen the faucet nuts.

Pros:

The best alternative – If you don’t have a basin wrench, a socket wrench is the next best thing as it offers the same functionality.

Works effectively – Socket wrenches allow you to tighten and remove nuts easier and faster than other conventional wrenches thanks to their ratcheting mechanism, which is particularly handy for cramped spaces such as a kitchen sink.

Adjustable – A socket wrench typically comes with multiple sockets, so you don’t need separate wrenches for different sized fasteners.

Cons:

Additional costs – You may need to purchase a socket wrench if it’s not already a part of your toolbox.


2. Coins

Who knew money could be helpful in this context?

You can simply use 2 large coins on either side of a faucet nut, grip them between your fingers, and twist to loosen the faucet nuts. 

Pros:

Accessible – You’ll definitely have some change lying around, making it a perfectly handy and simple alternative tool.

Simple to use – You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience in using plumbing tools; it’s a great DIY method that anyone can use.

Cons:

Non-sustainable – Coins are, of course, not intended for plumbing, and whilst they’re a great alternative method, they can prove to be difficult to use, and are not a sustainable solution as they don’t provide a good enough grip compared to professional tools.


3. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a fantastic multi-purpose material and is sturdy enough to provide a solid grip. Simply cut the tape into multiple strips and stick them together for reinforcement, then attach the tape to the faucet nuts, leaving a section of tape to pull on to loosen them.

Pros:

Effective solution – Duct tape is a popular material often used to open tight jars and patch holes thanks to its immense tensile strength, which makes it a great alternative device to effectively and easily provide a grip to loosen faucet nuts.

Cons:

Non-reliable – Whilst duct tape is sturdy, there is still a chance of it ripping and not working as effectively as a professional tool.

Non-compatible with rusty fasteners – If you encounter rusty fasteners when removing your faucet, you may struggle to attach the tape to them.


4. Cable Fastener

A cable fastener, also known as zip-ties, can be used similarly to duct tape.

Simply locate the faucet nut and wrap the cable fastener around it as tight as possible to provide a strong enough grip. Then, pull on the tail end, and it should help loosen the nut in order to remove the faucet.

Pros:

Multi-purpose tool – Cable fasteners are a great alternative and a popular tool that can be used for a DIY project. If you don’t have any duct tape, for example, a cable fastener is a handy alternative that provides a good grip.

Cons:

Potentially dangerous – Cable fasteners whilst sturdy could break when pulled, and they could cut off your circulation if they are tightened too much, hurt your hand, or easily slip out of your grip.


5. Screwdriver

If your kitchen faucet is secured together by screws instead of nuts, a screwdriver is a perfect tool. First, identify the faucet caps and remove them with a flat-head screwdriver, then use the screwdriver to loosen the screws and remove the faucet.

Pros:

Effective – A screwdriver is an apparatus designed for this exact purpose, and it will get the job done.

Cons:

Non-essential – A screwdriver is not always necessarily needed as a socket wrench, for example, can also complete a faucet removal, and not all faucets are secured together with screws.


6. Channel-lock pliers

Channel-lock pliers can be used the same way as a wrench, as they can be locked tightly into place to provide a strong grip to help loosen nuts and bolts.

Pros:

Multi-purpose tool – A channel lock plier can be used for multiple steps in a faucet removal; you can use pliers to disconnect the water lines and loosen the kitchen faucet nuts.

Adjustable – Most pliers are adjustable, making them a great alternative apparatus to loosen nuts and bolts that can vary in size depending on the fixture.

Cons:

Not beginner-friendly – You may need prior knowledge of using plumbing tools safely and properly, so this may not be a viable option for everyone.


Step by Step Guide

Once you have the right improvised tools for you, you’re ready to begin the process of disassembling your kitchen faucet.

1. Shut off the flow of water

First and foremost, the most crucial step is to shut off your water flow before beginning the process to ensure your kitchen counter does not overflow.

To disconnect the water supply lines, you must locate the hot and cold water valves – generally found under the sink – and rotate the valves clockwise.

2. Make sure the water is shut off

Test to make sure the water supply lines are completely disconnected to ensure you can do your job successfully without the risk of flooding.

You may find there is residual water stored in the faucet, so it’s best to open both handles for a few minutes to allow all the water pressure and air pressure inside the faucet to flow out.

3. Put a container under the faucet

To prevent any messes, place a small bucket beneath the sink and the faucet to catch the remaining water whilst you’re working.

4. Remove the faucet mounting nuts

Mounting nuts are what keep a kitchen faucet attached to a sink. To detach the faucet you can use a socket wrench instead of a basin wrench to loosen the nuts.

If the mounting nuts move with minimal effort, this is a sign they’re in good condition and can be preserved and re-used; if they hardly move after applying constant pressure, they may be stuck and will require grease for them to open up easily.

5. Clean and assess everything

Take a step back and use a clean cloth and cleaning tools to wipe down the faucet and sink so you can properly assess everything – have you loosened the faucet nuts properly? Are the sink and the faucet in good condition, or do they need to be replaced?

6. Remove the faucet

Once you’ve removed all of the mounting nuts found in the faucet joints, the simplest step in the process is next – simply detach the faucet from the water hose, making it free to carefully lift and remove completely.

Then, you’re ready to install a new faucet!

Final Thoughts

Most people say it’s impossible to successfully remove a kitchen faucet without a basin wrench.

Basin wrenches are a popular, albeit inaccessible, tool proven to help remove kitchen faucets effectively and productively, but the right tools for you may not always be the “proper tools.”

You’ll find that other non-conventional tools can still do the trick.

FAQs

How do you unscrew a tight faucet?

Using grease is a sure-fire way to help unscrew an overly tight kitchen faucet; if the nuts and bolts are particularly jammed, leaving them greased overnight or for a longer period can help loosen them.

If grease proves useless, tapping the nut joints lightly with a hammer can help detach them from the bolt. Using heat is also a viable option as the metal will expand, loosening it in the process.

Are there any alternatives to grease?

WD-40 is a commonly used lubricant spray used to loosen nuts and bolts, but there are also homemade methods such as vinegar, baking soda, and salt to help remove rust which will in turn help loosen any tight nuts.

What kind of tool can I use to tighten a faucet bolt in a tight place?

Socket wrenches are the best tools to lock and tighten a kitchen faucet bolt in a cramped place.

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