We all know that removing and installing a faucet is difficult, especially if you don't have the right tool for it. Plumbers usually use basin wrenches to remove and install faucets without damaging them. However, most homeowners don't have access to this type of wrench, which means they need to buy one or hire a professional plumber who will charge them extra money.
You can save yourself time and money by reading this guide on using a basin wrench. explains what you need to do in order to effectively use this tool so that you'll be able to handle any plumbing job around your house. Keep reading.
What Is a Basin Wrench?
A basin wrench is a specialized tool for installing or removing kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. Its long shaft is specifically designed to reach up into the tight space underneath the sink and loosen or tighten the mounting nuts that are very hard to get to with other tools like standard wrenches or pliers.
It also features a T bar handle that allows you to operate the tool with the leverage below. And the key to the basin wrench is a claw head that can grab onto the mounting nuts. Depending on whether you want to loosen or tighten the nuts, the head can be adjusted to rotate in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions.
The Guide on Using a Basin Wrench
Set Up the Basin Wrench
First, you need to set up the wrench properly. The wrench is made of two parts: black and silver. The silver part is the handle, and the black part is the wrench. The wrench claw swivels around the handle and can be positioned at many different angles, enabling you to access hard-to-reach places.
To put them together, line up the claw-shaped head so that it straddles the nut and then slides it down over the top of the bolt. Make sure the wrench is in the correct operation before using it.
If you're trying to remove a faucet, the opening of the claw should be facing right. When you attach it to the nut, then you'll be turning the wrench counterclockwise. On the other hand, if you're installing a new faucet or tightening up an existing one, the basin wrench claw head will be facing the left, and you'll be turning the wrench clockwise.
So, position the claw head perpendicular to the shaft facing the correct position for either tightening or loosening the nut. This way, you’ll know if you’ve positioned the wrench correctly when the wrench grips the nut as you rotate it in the desired direction and comes loose as you rotate it in the opposite direction.
Apply Lubricant to Mounting Nut
If the bolt is stuck, it's possible that some mineral deposits or rusty water has built up around the threads. You can help loosen things up by applying a small amount of lubricant to the nut before you turn on the wrench. A preliminary spray with a penetrating oil can help you handle the frozen or corroded bolt.
A spray can of oil with an extension straw is ideal for applying a small burst of oil onto the threads of the mounting bolt. Wait a few minutes for the oil to penetrate before loosening the nut.
Fit the Wrench on the Mounting Nut
Most basin wrenches have a right-handed thread, meaning they are meant to be turned clockwise. When you place the wrench over the nut, the arrow on the handle should point toward the faucet. Reach the basin wrench up to the bottom of the sink and position it around the mounting nut.
The claw head should be gripping the notches of the nut. You can also reposition the claw at any time to put yourself in a more comfortable position with the best leverage.
Check the Position of the Mounting Nut
Before you start to tighten or loosen the nut, it's important that you're familiar with its position. Has it already been loosened? If so, this could help save time, but make sure you don't keep turning the wrench in the same direction if the mounting nut is already loose. This will only cause more problems.
Once your wrench is in the position, test to see if the claw has gripped the nut on the faucet. If the claw easily grabs onto the faucet nut, you have the position correct, and if the claw seems to slip or slide off, then you may have things backward. If you notice a plastic nut, be very careful. If it's metal but still a stubborn nut, make sure you don't strip it.
Loosen or Tighten the Kitchen Faucet
Once your wrench is in the position, test to see if the claw has gripped the nut on the faucet by trying to turn it. If you're tightening, push up and away from the sink while turning right. If you're loosening, push down towards the sink while turning left.
Fit the head of the wrench around the faucet mounting nut, so the ridged jaws of the claw grip the notches or edges of the nut. Use the T bar at the end of the basin wrench to turn the shaft and loosen or tighten the kitchen faucet nut. If you're loosening a stubborn nut, it may require some coaxing to get it loose. In this case, try spraying penetration oil to loosen it up a bit. Use a pipe or the back end of an adjustable wrench to increase your leverage on a T bar for removing stubborn nuts.
If the claws of the basin wrench won't grip the nut, it's time to apply a little mechanical leverage. Rotate the handle of the basin wrench 180 degrees so you can get at least two of your knuckles behind it. Lean back and put some muscle into pulling up on the T bar. This should add enough force that you'll have no problem loosening the nut.
If you find your basin wrench getting stuck on rusty nuts, it's time to add a little more muscle. What you need is a pipe wrench. Grab the head of the wrench and attach it to the threaded shaft at or near the joint. Then rotate the wrench handle while keeping it firmly seated on the pipe. You'll have that nut off in no time at all.
FAQs on How to Use a Basin Wrench
How do you choose a basin wrench?
Choosing a basin wrench is not that difficult because almost all of the basin wrenches are the same, with the exception of the size. Some basin wrenches are longer for certain jobs, and some even have a telescoping handle.
Final Thought on How to Use a Basin Wrench
As you can see, a basin wrench requires some practice to successfully loosen or tighten the faucet's mounting nut. But once you get it right, it can be a very useful tool when it comes to your home plumbing projects.