A basin wrench (also known as a sink wrench) is a plumbing tool with a long shaft that enables you to reach the tight or recessed spaces under the sink to loosen or tighten the threading nuts on a faucet, which can be very difficult to access with regular pliers or wrench. The basin wrench allows you to reach behind the sink from below, grip the mounting nuts tightly and loosen or tighten them.
A basin wrench essentially is equipped with a small, claw head, which is spring loaded and a long shaft. And, as you turn the shaft, the claw head tightens onto the nut. The head swivels 180 degrees to the clockwise or counter-clockwise directions, setting it up to tighten or loosen the nuts.
The shaft has a sliding T-bar at the end that allows you to turn it. Since the basin wrench is designed to be used to loosen or tighten only faucet mounting nuts, the uses of the tool are quite limited. Here are the steps of how to use a basin wrench properly:
You need to ensure that the basin is positioned correctly before you begin using it to loosen or tighten the nuts and you should do this before getting under the sink. Firstly, hold the basin wrench upright such that the head is on the top.
If you’re installing a faucet or tightening one, then the claw head of the basin wrench will face left and you will be turning the tool clockwise. Whereas, if you’re removing the faucet, the claw opening should face to the right and the tool should be turned counter-clockwise.
To do this, you will have to get under the sink, which can be rather cramped. Position the basin wrench around the mounting nut after reaching it up the bottom of the sink and ensure that the claw head is gripping the grooves of the nut tightly and ensure that you have good leverage.
Using both your hands, turn the basin wrench by using the T-bar i.e., the bar at the bottom of the basin wrench, which is perpendicular to the tool’s shaft. For more room, you can slide the T-bar so that it is on the other side of the shaft.
A basin wrench is a specialty tool that is extremely useful for all plumbing projects. While it is designed only for installing or removing faucets; however, the basin wrench does this better than any other tool available. And, if you get a hang of how to use it, it is sure to become a vital part of your toolkit.