Help me fix my faucet
August 19, 2010 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Fixing my faucet: I'm trying to fix a leaky faucet, but I can't disassemble the handle. There's a picture inside. Any advice on what to do, or which forums to post to for advice, would be much appreciated!

The set up in my bathroom looks a lot like this:

I'm now trying to undo the bottom part of the right hand faucet. I believe it may be called a bonnet or collar, it's gold coloured in the picture and shaped like a bell, but it's stuck from what might be limescale. I've tried using a wrench, but because the collar is so round, I couldn't get a good grip.

I'm extremely unhandy and would appreciate any advice on how to disassemble this faucet so that I can replace it.

I've already unscrewed the white handle part, and it came off okay.

Thanks for your help!
posted by surenoproblem to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it the flange that is stuck? Have you tried running a knife around the underside to free it from the basin before trying to unscrew it?

IANAPlumber. But these guys are. Maybe they can help.

Good luck!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2010

You don't unscrew faucets like this from the top. They're anchored from underneath the counter. Take a look underneath the sink with a flashlight, because that's where to find what you'll need to unscrew. Then a slight tap with the grip end of a hammer should free it.

Don't forget to turn off the water to the faucets before disconnecting anything
posted by mhoye at 8:15 PM on August 19, 2010

you shouldn't need to remove the faucet to fix a drip. I suspect that there is a cap on the top on the handle that is hiding a screw that will allow you to get to a washer. Can you use a knife to pry a cap off?
posted by HuronBob at 8:27 PM on August 19, 2010

Thanks to everyone so far. Yes, it is a flange that I'm having trouble moving.

I'm not trying to remove the entire faucet, but I need to get the flange off in order to get at the ceramic disc mechanism that needs to be replaced.

Any other ideas are extremely welcome.
posted by surenoproblem at 8:39 PM on August 19, 2010

The handles are usually put together in variations of the same way. There is a cap on top - this can be pried off in a variety of ways, revealing a screw, which you take out, which lets you take the handle off. Then you can get at the valve.

To pry off the cap, try a screwdriver, but be careful because it's easy to slip. Sometimes you can grab onto it with vise grips, but they're chew up the part, so you might need to pad the jaws with a piece of rubber like an inner tube or some such thing.

If you've got lime scale, use a lime scale cleaner on it first, then try again after you've dried it.
posted by plinth at 8:41 PM on August 19, 2010

If Ask A Plumber doesn't do it for you, I have gotten help from Terry Love Plumbing :

Some faucet manufacturers have on-line diagrams and tech support.

There are pliers available with nylon inserts for gripping and turning without scratching. Bicycle inner tubes, and other things can be used to improvise.

Vinegar and tapping will free some parts frozen by mineral deposits.
posted by llc at 8:50 PM on August 19, 2010

I agree with mhoye, usually these types of faucets are fastened from below.

Sometimes these things are attached with what is called a "set screw." Look around the circumference of the flange and see if there is a small screw somewhere inset along the base. Usually these screws are made for allen wrenches, but sometimes they are flat head. Turn it a half or a full turn out until the flange loosens. (Not too much though! these screws are tiny and could easily get lost down the drain.)

If you do need to get a grip on the top collar bell, wrap a hand towel or wash cloth around the teeth of your pliers to avoid scratching the finish.
posted by at the crossroads at 8:56 PM on August 19, 2010

Thanks, guys. I've looked all around both the flange and underneath the basin, and there are no screws anywhere.

I'm going to give the vinegar and tapping a try.
posted by surenoproblem at 9:11 PM on August 19, 2010

Thirding mhoye.

Don't think it's held in place by a set screw, but rather by a threaded, large diameter but very thin nut that goes around the entire faucet assembly, which should be threaded on the outside as you feel it from underneath. The nut should be snug up against large washer which is up against the sink itself when viewed from underneath.

To unscrew it you'll need a pair of expandable-jawed pliers like the black Knipex's in this picture.
posted by jamjam at 11:57 PM on August 19, 2010

Have you tried unscrewing the handle? Take the handle in your hand and turn it anticlockwise.

If this is the case there'll be a screw in the hole where the handle was screwed in. Remove this and it's flange removal time.
posted by i_cola at 12:34 AM on August 20, 2010

You'll need a faucet wrench. They're kind of un-wieldy. You'll unscrew the nut that jamjam mentions, and when it's a little loose, you should be able to unscrew the 'bell-shaped' flange on the top side.
Also, a ceramic disk cartridge should be good pretty much forever. If it has broken you'll need to swap it out entirely - it might be easier/ as cheap to just get a new faucet. (Something to bear in mind.)

Best of luck!
posted by From Bklyn at 2:39 AM on August 20, 2010

It would help a lot of you took a picture of your faucet with the handle off from the top and also a picture from the bottom. When I need to get at our faucets, I tend to get at the disk from lifting the cartridge out from the top. I take off the handle and then there's this little piece I pull out and then I lift the entire cartridge out the top. The flange stays attached to the sink.
posted by advicepig at 7:32 AM on August 20, 2010

Do you have a brand name and model number?
posted by TedW at 9:28 AM on August 20, 2010

The way I suggested things might be arranged above is very unlikely to be the case because it doesn't take certain factors into account that it would be tedious and pointless to try to describe.

Subsequent advice is much better.
posted by jamjam at 10:37 AM on August 20, 2010

Just to update: I ended up calling a plumber.

He gripped the flange with a tool he called a multigrip, and turned it anti-clockwise. There were no screws or nuts holding it in place.

He told me I could buy a multigrip from a hardware store.
posted by surenoproblem at 6:10 AM on August 28, 2010

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