How to Disconnect & Reconnect Your Kitchen Sink

by Nicole on August 8, 2013

Posted in: House,Kitchen

So far, our granite countertops, undermount sink, and faucet have cost us $1425.00.  It would have cost us an additional $800 to have someone come out and disconnect/reconnect our kitchen plumbing (just the sink/disposal) … and an additional $175 for the granite guys to tear out and dispose of our old countertops (here’s a tutorial to yank those out yourself … SO easy, don’t pay someone to do that either).

I’m usually the guy who opts to pay for convenience … but you’ll have to pry $800 out of my cold, dead hands before I pay someone that much money to disconnect and reconnect a kitchen sink. It’s not rocket science, people … and you can do it yourself (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise).

eah_howtosink

My dad taught me all this … and whenever I’m in a homeowner pinch, he’s one FaceTime call away (thank you Apple, for FaceTime).

So, to disconnect your sink/disposal:

  • Turn the water off (for good measure, also turn off the water to your dishwasher … that’s that third random knob at the bottom of my cabinet–see pics below). If you don’t turn the water off, you’ll have some serious regrets–and a huge mess to clean up. So … turn off the water.
  • Disconnect the water supply to the faucet. Un-screw the hoses that connect your hot/cold knobs on your faucet to the water supply (they screw right into where your knobs are). Hint: you’ll probably want to put a pan or something under there in case stuff leaks … protect your cabinets/floor.
  • Get under your sink, remove screws. There should be 5-7 of them under there. You just have to loosen the screws, and they’ll literally fall off. They look like this:

eah_sink-screws

  • Now, for the disposal. This is the most daunting part (and is kinda gross), but it’s not all that bad. It’s scarier than it looks.
    • Your disposal is going to be connected both to your sink (via the drain, hanging) and your dishwasher (that hose that goes into the back of the disposal) … be careful not to disconnect (or damage the connection) the dishwasher hose.
    • Here’s the gross part. You’re going to have to disconnect all that PVC pipe. It might stink (this is where all your food goes when you put it down the drain, brace yourself) … but it’s worth saving $800, amiright!? You’ll see that the white pipe screws onto the pipe coming out of the disposal cannister and also onto the piece of pipe coming out of the wall. You’ll want to unscrew both connectors and take that piece out all together (keep that pan under there for leakage).  I suggest putting it somewhere far away so you can’t smell it.
    • The disposal cannister (I don’t know if that’s the right term, but that’s what we’re going to call that big jug/cannister lookin’ thing) is attached to the sink drain via a triangular plate, a washer, a spring ring, and some screws. Below all that, there’s a ring with some looped metal (see the picture below).  Take a hammer and gently tap one of those metal loops and turn (unscrew) it toward you … this is hard to explain, but you’ll want to tap from the back, toward your face (please don’t hammer your face accidentally).  That piece of metal will turn counter-clockwise, and when it does, the disposal cannister will come off.

eah_disposalconnection

    • Next step, once you have your disposal removed (and sitting somewhere in your cabinet, so you don’t tug on the dishwasher hose) is to unscrew all those screws (save them) with a flat-head screwdriver. That triangular plate will come off, as will a fibrous (almost like a felt/cardboard material) washer.  The last thing you’ll need to save is a little ring (looks like a bracelet) that has one split in it, so it can be stretched a bit (not pictured, sorry).

eah_disconnectwater

  • Pull that sucker out! Now that your disposal is removed, and your faucet is disconnected from the water supply, it’s time to pry out and remove the sink. Take a sharp box cutter and cut around the seal (overmount sinks will be sealed on top of the counter, undermount obviously underneath) … then, take a flat-head screwdriver and pry it out. It’ll take some serious yanking, but it should come right out.

eah_sinkout(obviously, this picture was taken after we’d taken both the sink AND countertop out)

Now, to re-install.

You basically do the reverse of what you did to take it out.

If you’re getting an undermount like we did, whoever installs your countertops should install the sink basin. Our guys just glued it to the underside of the countertop and installed new screws to hold it up.  But, even though you have a basin, you’re going to have to replace your faucet and reconnect it, and reinstall your disposal.

  • You’ll want to start with your faucet. Drop it into the hole drilled by your counter guys (or whatever hole is there, if you’re just doing a quick switcheroo) and follow the directions that came with the fixture … we bought a Kohler faucet and the directions were super clear and easy.
    • Drop it in, screw it on, connect the water.
    • If you have a pull-down hose (like we do), you’ll have to put a weight on the hose (under the sink). Easy peasy, your instructions will walk you through it all.
  • Get your new drain ready. Make sure you bought the one that works with a disposal … otherwise, I see a trip to the hardware store in your future for an exchange. All this part is is that ring that you see in your sink.  It extends below the sink a couple inches, so you can connect your disposal.

eah_sinkdrain

  • Grab your plumber’s putty. You’ll want to use a blob about the size of a golf ball, and roll it out into a snake (not pictured … I was antsy and my hands were sticky), then wrap it around the lip of your sink drain (so, the part that’ll be sticking to your sink … this stuff creates a seal), then press your sink drain into the open hole until the putty squishes out.  Under your sink, you’ll see just the silver tube sticking out, and some putty spooging out … it’s fine to leave it there.
  • Put everything back on the same way you took it off. Reconnect the PVC pipe (we had to cut ours with a saw and get a new screw piece … since we upgraded to a deeper sink, the PVC pipe that was originally in there was too tall to fit), put the fiber washer, the triangular plate, and the screws back in place, then carefully screw the disposal back on and use a hammer to tighten (just like you did to loosen) that big ring.  You’ll still want your pan under there in case anything leaks.
  • Scrape the putty out of the top of the sink. Make sure that the drain is pressed down in there tight (and likewise, the screws underneath won’t budge), and use your fingers to remove any squished out plumbers putty.
  • Turn the water back on. This is the moment of truth.  Put the drain stopper in the drain and turn the water (under the sink) on … then turn on the faucet.  Let the sink fill up a bit as you watch everything under the sink. If something leaks, it’s not tightened enough.  If nothing leaks–GOOD JOB!–time to pull out the stopper and see if it drains ok.  If something leaks, it’s not tightened enough (same deal).

eah_reinstallsink

You should be good to go! And you just saved yourself $800. It’s not the easiest process, but it’s surely not worth spending almost a grand to have someone spend an hour doing it when you could do it yourself in just a bit longer.

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