Probably the most commonly aggravating of all kitchen sink problems is a stinky, slow moving drain. If you employ a common sense, no nonsense approach to prevention, it is possible to keep your sink smelling fresh and the drain pipes moving. In this kitchen sink plumbing section we have compiled some insightful tips to help keep the plumbing healthy and help you avoid costly repairs.
Many homeowners notice an odor emanating from the sink. Is the smell coming from sewer gas or just the breakdown of organic material that is built up in the drain? Most likely you will find the problem is your drain trap. The drain trap in your kitchen sink is designed to hold a small amount of water, which prevents a sewer smell from coming up through the pipe into your kitchen. If your drain trap runs dry for any reason – a leak, improper fitting or otherwise – it may account for a foul odor from your sink.
Grease, food particles and minerals in water build-up inside of the drain pipes and the inside diameter of the pipe becomes congested. This is evident when you experience a slow moving drain. When the drain refuses to flow, the cause is almost always a clog at the sink strainer or inside the trap.
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Simple Solutions to 5 Common Kitchen Sink Plumbing Problems
The most common areas where there will likely be plumbing issues relates to the kitchen sink. Mainly because it can be used so often, it is likely to cause a range of discouraging problems. Kitchen sink problems aren't just an inconvenience, some can cause serious damage to your home. The following are some issues related to the kitchen sink to help you troubleshoot:
- Is your problem low water pressure at the kitchen sink? If the answer is yes, chances are that the problem is nothing more serious than a clogged aerator, (the screen at the end of the faucet responsible for mixing air and water). Water contains minerals like calcium, lime and magnesium. These minerals accumulate at the aerator screen. Remove the aerator and use a small wire brush or small pick to clean out any debris and replace it.
- Is your problem a leaky kitchen faucet? Some leaking faucet issues require a repair or replacement. If the faucet leaks from the base of the spout whenever you use it, the culprit may be a worn O-ring, (a simple gasket that can be purchased in a faucet repair kit). Make sure to turn the water off to the faucet. You can access the O-ring, by removing the faucet handle at the coupling nut.
- Is your problem a clogged or leaking kitchen sink? Your kitchen sink is equipped with a P-shaped trap that's designed to keep sewer gases and odors from entering your home. Debris like grease and soap scum can build up in the trap, obstructing the flow of water which can cause a leak. Place a bucket under the trap and use your fingers to loosen the slip nuts at each end. Pliers are normally not necessary to remove the trap.
- Is your problem a malfunction with the garbage disposal? It was not designed to handle materials like grease and bones. Even potato peels, rice and other fibrous foods like the inside of a pumpkin can cause the disposal to jam. If it stops working, press the reset button to get it up and running again. To prevent future problems, run cold water down the drain for around 15 seconds before using it and for around 30 seconds afterwards.
- Is your problem a dishwasher leak? A broken float switch will allow water to fill the tub until it overflows. Damaged spray arms can also cause leaks and a leaky door gasket can be easily replaced. Leaks where the drain hose connects to your sink drain or garbage disposal can often be corrected by tightening the hose clamp screws.
To summarize, a clogged drain or blocked drain will probably end up being the absolute most common problem with regards to kitchen sinks, particularly if you have one with a garbage disposal unit. Remember to put food traps, (screens) in your sink when doing dishes to avoid food particles from entering the drain. Never pour grease or fat down your drain because it will congeal and trap food.
A leaky faucet dripping sound can keep you up at night. Often, leaky faucets are caused by an obstructed aerator. To quiet the dripping noise silent until the leak is fixed, tie a length of string to the end of the faucet. The water will run down the string silently instead of clanging into the basin all night. If the faucet still leaks, there may be a bad washer, gasket or loose fitting somewhere further down the line.