How to Disconnect a Kitchen Sink (Step-by-Step)

Kitchen sinks are one of the most-used household fixtures.

As a result, they tend to deteriorate faster than other fixtures. Thus, you will have to replace it with a new one.

Before you do that, though, you will need to disconnect your kitchen sink before you can replace it. Here’s a guide on how to do that.

Steps to Disconnect a Kitchen Sink

Replacing your sink is not the reason you may need to disconnect your kitchen sink. You may also need to do that when you’re renovating your kitchen.

Moreover, make sure to consult your local building authorities before you start a project. Moving water supply typically requires a work permit.

You should note that disconnecting sinks with garbage disposals can be more challenging than those without one.

Step 1. Determine the Type of Kitchen Sink You Have

There are 2 basic types of kitchen sinks. These include a drop-in kitchen sink and an under-mounted kitchen sink.

A drop-kitchen sink is one in which you can drop the sink into an opening on your countertop.

On the other hand, an under-mounted sink requires you to attach it to the countertop from underneath.

It’s important to know which kitchen sink type you have because it’ll help facilitate the removal process.

Also read: How to Organize Under Kitchen Sink 

Step 2. Clear out the Cabinet Under Your Kitchen Sink

You will have to do all of your work in the cabinet under your kitchen sink. Therefore, you must remove all items from the cabinet and keep them elsewhere temporarily.

Clearing out space will provide you with enough room to move around and work more effectively.

In addition to that, you’ll also have space to place your tools and a bucket to catch water.

Step 3. Wear Appropriate Protective Gear

You must keep yourself protected while you work on your kitchen sink. For that, you must wear appropriate protective gear.

None of the items are expensive, so don’t make compromises on your safety. Such gear can keep you away from potential injury or pain in the long term.

Wear Rubber Gloves

You should wear a pair of latex gloves to ensure that your hands don’t get messy.

You’re bound to find some dirt within your kitchen sink pipes.

Wear a Protective Eyewear

Make sure to get protective eyewear that has a shield on the sides of your eyes as well.

You’ll be right under your sink when you’re disconnecting it. So, small particles can fall into your eyes.

Moreover, a pipe or other components can slip from your hands while you’re working. So, the eyewear will keep your eyes from getting injured.

Step 4. Unplug Your Garbage Disposal

You should make sure that your garbage disposal is not operational while you’re unplugging the drain.

The garbage disposal uses electricity, so there’s a high risk of electric shock.

In addition to unplugging your garbage disposal, turn off the circuit that you use for the garbage disposal.

You can do so by turning off that outlet’s circuit breaker in your home’s fuse box.

This step will also prevent you from getting injured if the garbage disposal accidentally comes on.

Step 5. Turn Off Your Kitchen Sink’s Water Supply

Turning off your kitchen sink’s water supply will ensure that you don’t flood your kitchen. You can find the valves under the kitchen sink.

In some cases, you may struggle to locate the water supply valves because they may be further down the pipes.

So, you should continue to trace the water supply lines to find the valves.

If you still can’t find the valves, you can turn off your home’s main water supply.

You can find the valve in a meter vault at the curb or within your home.

Here’s what you must know if you do find the valves.

Turning off just the kitchen water supply will allow you to still use the bathrooms and other parts of your home that have a supply of water.

Turn Off Both Water Supply Valves

Your kitchen sink will most likely have two separate water supply valves. One of these valves is for hot water and the other for cold water.

Some kitchen valves may be color-coded based on whether it’s for hot or cold water. The hot water valve should be red and the cold water valve should be blue.

That said, many sink designs don’t include color-coded valves.

You can turn off the valves by turning them clockwise. Keep turning it until it can’t go further. Your water supply should be off after that.

Test If the Water Supply Is Off

You should test if the water supply is off before you disconnect your kitchen sink to reduce spills.

Turn on the faucet in the kitchen sink.

If there’s no water flow, you have successfully turned off the water supply. A few drops of water from the tap are fine.  

This process will also drain whatever little water is stuck in the drain pipes.

Therefore, you should make sure that you turn both cold and hot taps on the faucet.

What to Do If the Water Supply Does Not Shut Off

Your water supply valves may be faulty if they don’t shut off the kitchen water supply.

In that case, you may have to hire a professional plumber to replace the valves.

You can also perform the change yourself if you know what you’re doing.

Step 6. Disconnect Your Water Supply Line

Your water supply line is present right underneath the faucet.

So, it’ll be right at the back of the sink. Therefore, you will have to get in the cabinet to reach it properly.

You can identify the water supply line by looking for flexible plastic tubing.

The pipes are connected to the water shut-off valve and the sink.

Remove the Nuts with the Appropriate Tools

It will contain metal nuts on both ends.

Therefore, you’ll require either an open-ended wrench, adjustable wrench, or channel locks to remove the metal nut on the water supply line.

Place a Bucket Under the Drain

Before you can turn on the tap, make sure you place a bucket or large pan under the drain.

This bucket will catch whatever little water is stuck in the drain pipes and prevent any spillage.

Step 7. Disconnect the Drain pipe from the Sink

You’ll find your sink drainpipe at the bottom of the kitchen sink strainer.

A coupling nut or slip nut will connect the metal sink strainer to the plastic drain piping.

Remove the Nut with the Appropriate Tool

Use an adjustable wrench or channel locks to remove the nut that attaches the drainpipe to the strainer.

Don’t apply too much force with these tools because the nut is typically made of plastic. You may break it if you do.

You can also consider using your hands to remove the nut. You’ll need to put in a bit of force in that case.

Remove the Nut on the P-Trap Before Pulling the Connection Apart

When the plastic nut is loose, do not try to remove the connection yet. You’ll also need to remove the nut that’s on one end of the P-trap.

After that, you can remove the entire piping without damaging it.

Some water may spill when you remove this piping. So, make sure that there’s a bucket underneath it.

Remove Additional Piping for Under-Mounted Kitchen Sinks

You must note that you will need to remove the drainpipe further past the P-trap if you plan to remove an under-mounted kitchen sink.

This step will ensure the sink has enough room to be removed without damage.

Step 8. Disconnect the Garbage Disposal

You can disconnect the garbage disposal by removing the drain pipe from the disposal.

Use a screwdriver to unscrew the drainpipe and the garbage disposal.

If your drain line is also connected to your dishwasher through the garbage disposal, remove it from the garbage disposal as well.

You can remove this fixture with a wrench or screwdriver depending on its construction.

Step 9. Remove the Garbage Disposal

You can safely remove a kitchen sink after you remove the garbage disposal.

Some garbage disposal models include an Alien wrench that you must use to remove the garbage disposal.

Thus, you can remove such garbage disposals by turning the wrench counterclockwise. Make sure to hold the garbage disposal from below with your other hand.

If your garbage disposal doesn’t have an Alien wrench, it will most likely have snap rings to hold it in place.

One ring should be present on the garbage disposal and the other at the bottom of the sink.

Screws will hold the rings in place.

Loosen the screws and remove the garbage disposal. Make sure to hold the disposal tightly so that it doesn’t fall.

Last Few Words

Removing the garbage disposal will also ensure that you can move or remove the sink freely.

The process is relatively simple. Just make sure that you use the correct tools.

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