If your shower or sink faucet is leaking, you may have to take it apart to find the source of the problem. The more complicated portion of this involves removing the faucet bonnet or collar. This large nut holds the faucet stem in place, and taking it off can be challenging. It will also vary slightly depending on the type of faucet you have.
Shut Off Valves and Prep
As with any plumbing project, you will first need to shut off the water valves in the room in which you will be working or shut off the home's main water valve. Bathroom and kitchen sinks have shutoff valves underneath on their pipes, and these are closed by turning the valves clockwise.
If the faucet is in a tub or shower, turn off the main water valve, which is usually found by the water meter. If you are not sure where your water meter is, check your utility room or basement.
Now, lift up the handle to allow any residual water in the pipes to drain out. Once the faucet is empty, stuff a cloth into the sink drain to stop any small parts from dropping into it. To remove the bonnet, you will need a flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, and a wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers.
How to Remove a Faucet Bonnet
Look at the faucet handle and you should see a decorative cap. Take the appropriate screwdriver and unscrew it. Using your hands, carefully rock the loose handle back and forth until it can be pulled off.
You should be able to see into the faucet assembly and locate the bonnet nut, which looks like a brass ring. This bonnet nut is the top part of the compression valve assembly. Its other end should be tight up next to the valve seat; it functions to keep the valve and stem in place.
Use your wrench or padded slip-joint pliers to turn the bonnet nut counterclockwise until it is off the valve's threads. Then, you can lift it up and off the valve.
Remove Stuck Faucet Bonnet Nuts
Removing a faucet bonnet can be challenging if it is stubbornly stuck in place. You can first try tightening it with your tool and then turning it the other way back and forth until it loosens. Another method is to apply heat with a hair dryer or heat gun; this can expand the metal.
If this does not work, you may also try placing a center punch on the nut and hitting gently with a hammer, avoiding the surrounding threads. Rusted bonnet nuts may be loosened by first scrubbing off the rust with a wire brush and drying it. A penetrating oil can be applied to the threads and be allowed to soak in for 24 hours; several applications may be needed.
Sometimes, bonnet nuts are covered with lime deposits, which are whitish in color. Scrape this off with the wire brush and use vinegar to remove it. If none of these solutions are effective, you will need to cut straight up through the threaded part of the stem and nut with a reciprocating saw; while making this cut, you should wear safety goggles. Now, you should be able to take the bonnet out.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).