How to Disconnect Drain Plumbing

Whatever type of plumbing fixture you are removing, one of the most essential parts of the job is removing the drain plumbing. These days, plumbing fixtures are very standardized and use standard connectors. Because of this, they are generally easier to remove then older plumbing. The parts are generally connected by large slip nuts which are either made from plastic or metal and are easy to remove using an adjustable spanner wrench.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Hacksaw

Disconnecting a Sink Drain

Locate the slip nut that connects the bottom of the tailpiece to the drain. Turn this counterclockwise using a pair of adjustable pliers or a wrench. Disconnect the faucet and the stopper actuating rod and lift the sink upward a little to completely disconnect it from the drain. If you are working with a double kitchen sink, loosen both of the slip nuts found on the bottoms of the two tailpieces.

Disconnecting a Bathtub Drain

Disconnecting a bathtub drain is a lot more complicated and time-consuming than removing the drain from either a bathroom or kitchen skin. First you will need to access the drain. In most cases, this will require removing the bathtub surround so that you can access it. If you have a traditional style bath on legs, this is, naturally, much easier.

As with a sink, turn the nut at the bottom of bottom of the tailpiece until it is completely loosened. This component is called the overflow tube and it will come straight down from the bathtub overflow hole. The plug hole will be attached to the tub drain which will be connected to the overflow drain. Both parts of the connection will need to be removed. The other slip nut that you will need to loosen will be located in the area where the overflow drain connects to the tub drain.

Disconnecting a Shower Drain

Disconnecting a shower drain is even harder since you will need to remove the rest of the shower unit beforehand. First, you will need to remove the drain cover. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry it upwards. In some installations, you can simply unscrew the drain cover. If you see any gasket material, pry this up from out of the space between the pipes. Lift up the shower base to disconnect it from the drain.

If you find that the PVC pipe of the shower is welded to the drain, you will need to physically cut it off to disconnect it. Once you are able to get access to the underside of the shower, you will need to disconnect the drain by cutting it with a hacksaw.

Disconnecting a Toilet Drain

A toilet drain needs to be disconnected where the drain pipe comes into the closet flange. The flange is the part which the toilet is bolted to the floor. Remove the plastic covers to access the bolts on each side if the toilet’s base. Before doing this, make sure that the water supply is disconnected and the toilet tank and bowl are drained.