If you’re a homeowner, you’ve run across a kitchen sink that required plumbing help. That’s why we’ve created this article (and a troubleshooting guide) on kitchen sink plumbing to give you an overview of the most common problems and solutions.
The Basics of Kitchen Sink Plumbing
Most modern kitchen sinks are made of stainless steel or enabled steel. They usually have two basins draining into a trap that blocks sewer gas from entering the house. A trap arm joins the trap to the drainpipe at the wall.
Under a single sink is a one-piece fixed or swivel trap, consisting of a trap connected to a trap arm. If you also have a dishwasher, one of its drain hoses is attached to an air gap — a simple device that prevents back-siphoning. The second drain hose will attach to either the garbage disposal if you have one or the sink tailpiece if you don’t.
Common Kitchen Sink Plumbing Problems
The three problems (or projects) that most frequently plague kitchen sinks are clogged drains, leaky supply pipes, and the need to remove or replace a sink trap. The good news is that all of these can be handled with basic plumbing tools.
1. Clogged Drains
Firstly, you can avoid clogs by placing strainer baskets in the drain openings and not pouring grease, coffee grounds, or other sticky objects down the drain. If a sink does back up, a plunger or auger will break up most clogs. There are also natural remedies you can try. (See Related Resources below).
We encourage you to never use harsh, toxic chemical drain cleaners. They don’t always work, are unsafe to skin and eyes, and can cause more damage to your kitchen sink plumbing. If you feel compelled to use one, be extra careful. Wear gloves and safety glasses, and only use them in an enamel or stainless-steel sink. They will damage the finish.
In addition, serious blockages can be cleared by opening the trap below the sink or by probing the drainpipe behind the wall.
If you’re experiencing a leak under the sink, you might only need to tighten a loose slip nut on the drain assembly to stop it. If this doesn’t work, remove that part of the trap nearest the leak and install a new washer under the connecting slip nut.
Keep an assortment of washers on hand. Whenever you disassemble a trap, it’s wise to replace all the washers. A worn washer is the cause of many leaks and is so inexpensive and easy to replace.
3. Removing a Trap
When you remove part of a trap, whether it’s the trap bend (the P- or U-shaped part) or the trap arm (the part that connects to the wall), you might decide that the piece is too corroded to reinstall.
Don’t worry. You can easily replace the damaged trap part with a metal or PVC plastic equivalent. Because it is light and easy to work with, plastic suits for do-it-yourself plumbers. Heck, even professional plumbers use PVC.
Kitchen Sink Plumbing: Troubleshooting Guide
None of the solutions in this troubleshooting guide are complex. Nor should they take much time (unless you’re replacing an entire sink).
In conclusion, the clogs, leaks, and worn parts related to a kitchen sink’s plumbing are usually quick and easy to repair or replace. Of course, if you find more complex work, you can always call a trusted local plumber.
- Why is my kitchen sink clogged?
- Everything to know about a sink trap
- Learn how to fix a double kitchen sink (with and without garbage disposal)
- How do faucets work (5 types)?
- How to clean a faucet aerator
- Why is my faucet leaking?
- How to fix a leaky faucet: ultimate troubleshooting guide
- How to unclog a kitchen sink sprayer
- Here’s how to replace a kitchen sink strainer
- How to save water in the kitchen
1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.