If you can hear the sound of water dripping, you may have a leaky kitchen sink drain.
The sink drain (also referred to as a sink strainer) is a funnel-shaped piece of metal that pressure seals the sink from below and above.
Thus, you should remove the kitchen drain when it starts to leak or loses its color. This guide will show you how to do that.
Steps on How to Remove Kitchen Drain
Removing and installing a kitchen drain is a relatively simple process. You won’t have to hire a plumber for this process.
So, you can save money and still ensure the drain is functional.
Make sure to clear the cabinet under your kitchen sink before you begin working. It will give you space to work, allowing you to work more effectively.
Next, follow these steps.
Step 1. Loosen the Coupling Nut Connecting the Drain and Drainpipe
You must first remove the drainpipe and then move it onto the kitchen drain.
First, loosen the coupling nut that connects your kitchen drain and drain pipe.
Use the Correct Tools Based on the Nut Material
Your kitchen drainpipe will most likely be made of PVC while the drain will be metal. So the coupling nut may be either metal or PVC.
You will need an adjustable wrench or a pipe wrench for a metal coupling nut.
On the other hand, you can loosen a PVC coupling nut with your hand. Make sure to place a towel over it for additional grip.
Consider Disconnecting the Drainpipe from the P-Trap
You can give yourself more room under the sink by disconnecting the drainpipe at the top of the P-trap.
The P-trap is a pipe that has a U-shaped bend.
Step 2. Stabilize a Spinning Drain
In some cases, you’ll notice the kitchen drain spins as you try to loosen the coupling nut.
If that happens, you’ll need a pair of needle-nose pliers to keep it stable.
Use Needle-Nose Pliers for this Process
Insert the pair of pliers in the sink strainer. Pinch the strainer grate with the pliers. Also, make sure you don’t grip the removable strainer basket.
Doing so will prevent the strainer from spinning in place.
You should be able to loosen the nut under the sink while holding the plier in place. If you can’t reach it, ask a family member to help you out.
Step 3. Identify the Type of Kitchen Drain You Have
There are three types of kitchen sink drains. These include a locknut drain, a locknut drain with screw attachments, and a bell-washer drain.
Locknut drains have a locking nut that passes to the threads outside of the drain. Thus, it presses a gasket and washer against the sink’s underside.
Locknut drains are the most common in modern households. You can identify one by the threads around the drain’s widest section.
Locknut drains with screw attachments have 3 to 4 screws. These screws hold the locknut in place against the underside of the kitchen sink.
Bell washer drains have an outer shell that looks like a bell. This shell fits over the drain. The bell housing is pressed against the underside of the sink by a nut.
The nut is situated above the connecting nut between the drainpipe and drain.
Step 4. Remove the Locknut Drain
You will need different tools and methods to remove the different types of locknut drains.
Here’s what you must do for each type of drain.
Remove the Locknut Drain with Screws
You will need to remove the screws on the locknut drain to remove it completely. This step is only for those who have screws on the locknut drain.
You can skip this step if you have the other drain type.
Use an appropriate screwdriver to remove the screws.
Typically, you’ll need a Philips head screwdriver. However, some companies use different screws, so do your research.
Remove the Locknut After Removing the Screws
After removing the screws, loosen the locknut with your hands. Turn the locknut counter-clockwise.
It should come off the threading and slide down the drain after a few turns.
The entire drain may spin while turning the nut. So, you should follow Step 2 to keep it immobilized.
However, this time, you’re removing the locknut and not the coupling nut connecting the drainpipe and drain.
Apply WD40 on Rusty or Hard-to-Turn Screws
In some cases, you may find the screws are hard to turn.
This tends to happen due to the high amounts of moisture and rust under the sink.
Thus, apply some WD40 on the screws and leave it for 5 minutes.
The screws should turn with greater ease after that.
Remove the Traditional Locknut Drain
You will require a specialized locknut wrench to remove the nut on a traditional locknut strainer.
If you have don’t have such a wrench, you can use a large pipe wrench.
Loosen the locknut counterclockwise with the appropriate wrench.
When it’s loose, use your fingers to remove it completely from the sink drain.
Slice Through the Locknut If It Won’t Loosen
If you haven’t removed your sink in a while, the locknut may rust in place.
In that case, it will be a challenge to remove it even with a lot of effort on your part.
However, you can fix that by slicing through the locknut. Use the cutting wheel attachment on your rotary multi-tool for this.
After that, use a mallet and chisel to split the locknut apart.
You won’t need this nut because your new drain may have one. That said, if you’re unsure about this step, hire a plumber to take care of it.
Remove the Bell Washer Drain
Use the same wrench you did for the coupling nut connecting the drainpipe and the strainer to remove the nut pushing the bell housing.
After the nut is off the threading, remove the bell housing too.
Use a Screwdriver to Remove Bell Housing That Is Stuck
The bell housing may prove a challenge to remove.
If that’s the case, wedge any flat head screwdriver in the gasket that’s between the sink’s underside and the bell.
Move the screwdriver up and down to loosen the bell housing and remove it.
Step 5. Remove the Kitchen Drain
Now that all connectors are loose, you can remove the kitchen drain with ease.
You will need to twist and wiggle the drain a bit from the bottom and top.
Doing so will break the seal between the rim of the top of the sink and the drain’s upper lip.
After that, you must push the strainer upward from the bottom so that it comes up. You can only remove the drain from the top.
Thus, make sure your second hand is ready to pull the drain from the top.
If you can’t reach it, ask a family member to help you.
Use a Mallet to Remove a Drain That’s Stuck
If your drain won’t move from its place, you’ll need a mallet. Gently hit the bottom of the drain with a mallet.
Make sure not to hit too hard. Doing so can severely damage your kitchen sink.
In that case, you’ll have to spend a lot of time and money on repairs and replacements.
You will also most likely have to hire a plumber if you damage your sink.
Call a plumber to remove the kitchen drain if it won’t budge. The process won’t take them long, so the charges will be relatively low.
Remove Dried Putty and Gink at the Rim of the Sink
If you’re installing a new drain after removing your current one, you must remove the dried putty at the rim of the sink.
If you don’t clean it, the new strainer may not sit in place properly.
Use a Plastic Putty Knife to Prevent Scratches
Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off the old dried putty.
This tool will prevent scratches on the stainless steel finish on your sink.
Use Paper Towel to Remove Gunk
In addition to dried putty, there may be a buildup of gunk over time.
Thus, you can remove that with a paper towel and your fingers. You can dampen the paper towel to remove stubborn gunk.
Last Few Words
This guide would be too long if it included instructions to install a new kitchen drain.
That said, you prepare for the process by following the 5 steps mentioned above.
Make sure to check if there are any leaks whenever you install a new kitchen drain. You should do this even if a plumber installs it for you.
You can check for leaks by filling water in the sink. Then, place a paper towel over the connection between the sink and the locknut to see if it gets damp.
It’s best to hire a plumber for the installation because it can be a tricky process to get right.
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