Did you know that not all kitchen sink leaks originate from the water supply lines going to the faucet? It’s true! Sometimes a clog may form at the P-trap restricting water to flow through the drain as it should. Once the trap becomes congested with grease and food particles it becomes heavy. The additional weight can cause the connections before or after the trap to weaken and separate which causes the leak. If the bottom of the sink base is wet check the supply lines by drying them well and then use a paper towel to see if you can find the drip. Now you know not to rule out the drain pipe connections when troubleshooting a leak under the kitchen sink!
Kitchen’s have three basic plumbing fixtures that are usually all connected together: the sink, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. Double-bowel sinks share a single drain and if water is not draining properly one side of the sink may go down but fill up into the other side. Usually, clearing the clog in one basin will clear drainage from both basins, if the problem isn’t further down the drain.
With all kitchen sink setups, standing water in your sink is the first indications that there is plumbing problem. It could be as simple as build up at the sink strainer, a blocked disposal, a blockage in the in the trap or something more serious down the drain pipe. In this kitchen plumbing series will focus on the issues with the fixtures, slow moving or clogged drains and some insight on plumbing leaks.
Is It Possible to Prevent Kitchen Plumbing Clogs?
Boiling water poured down the drain weekly can help minimize the chance of developing a kitchen sink clog, and if you notice a sluggish drain, don’t waste time, slow moving drains become clogged drains rather quickly. If you are strict about what you allow to go down the drain or garbage disposal, and religious in scraping and rinsing dishes before they go into the dishwasher, the answer to the question about preventing kitchen sink clogs is yes, it is possible to keep the drains moving.
Place strainer baskets in the drain openings do not pour grease, cooking oils or allow food to enter the drain. If a sink does back up, a plunger or manual auger will break up most clogs. Using a chemical drain cleaner down the drain if a garbage disposal is connected could deteriorate the grinding chamber and it isn’t recommended because these chemicals contain lye, an organic acid that is very harsh.
Below you will find some helpful tips to keep the fixtures in your kitchen clog-free and working smoothly. Also, consider having a yearly drain inspection or cleaning. It can keep your whole-house plumbing system healthy.
Caring for Your Kitchen Plumbing Fixtures to Prevent Clogs
The most common areas where there will likely be plumbing issues relates to the kitchen sink. Mainly because this place can be used so often, it is likely to cause a range of discouraging problems unless managed to a high standard. Probably the most commonly aggravating of all kitchen sink problems is the clogged drain. Kitchen sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher drain problems are avoidable if you employ a common sense, no nonsense approach to prevention! In this section we have compiled some insightful tips to help keep the kitchen plumbing healthy and help you avoid costly repairs.
- Kitchen Sink Care: A clogged drain or blocked drain will probably end up being the absolute most common problem with sinks. 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 drains, as it will congeal and can trap food bits. Kitchen sink drain clogs happen when cooking grease or oil cake onto drain pipe walls and this can shut a drain down completely. Add detergent soap scum and un-dissolved food particles (such as rice which expands in water), and you've got a stubborn clog.
Are you experiencing a kitchen sink problems? Visit our page dedicated to specific problems related to the kitchen sink to diagnose the issue. A professional plumber can visit your home if the problem is beyond the scope of normal homeowner maintenance. Call us today!
- Garbage Disposal Care: Turkey skin, string from a rolled rump roast, ham and other stringy meats, bones, potato peels, celery, corn husks, pumpkin, seeds or any other fibrous food waste can seize up the garbage disposal and jam the chopping blades. Once the garbage disposal jams there is nothing going to pass through the drain until it is repaired. To practice prevention is the best solution and by simply grinding some ice cubes periodically can keep the blades sharp. Lemon rinds help keep the garbage disposal drain smelling fresh. Always run cold water for at least 15 seconds before starting the disposer and for about 30 seconds after to insure everything has been rinsed down the drain thoroughly.
If you think your plumbing issue may be due to garbage disposal problem visit our page dedicated to this specific issue. Have you had your drains cleaned lately? Call us!
- Dishwasher Care: Load dishes according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use only the recommended amount and type of dishwasher detergent in your machine. Adding extra soap can cause your dishwasher to leak water from the door all over your floor. Remember to clean the screen in the bottom of your dishwasher regularly as food, labels from jars or other items can block the water from draining out of the machine. If you hear noise after the dishwasher starts a cycle, pause the machine and open the door to investigate. Loose silverware could damage the machine if it gets trapped between the rack and the path of the turning spray arms.
If dishwasher plumbing issues have you stumped please find helpful information on that page to help you discover what might be going on. We have an answer that just might help!
Finding and Repairing Kitchen Plumbing Leaks!
If you happen to find water under your kitchen sink check the dishwasher hose clamp to see if it has come loose from vibration or if it has just worn out. Make sure the dishwasher hose has not become worn or kinked. You might have a leak where the sink strainer joins the bottom of the sink. Check the tail piece connection, as well as, the trap and drain washers to see if they are worn. Garbage disposers also have washers within the drainpipe system that can become worn and fail.
- A leak at the kitchen sink is often discovered by finding a water-soaked cabinet or floor. If the leak is coming from a water supply line, you should see a spray of water. If the leak is coming from a drain pipe you will notice it when you use the sink. If the leak presents itself only when the basin is full and you open the drain to let the water out, the problem could be a faulty seal around the sink drain. Most of the time the leak is just above the dampness or standing water, but finding the exact location could be daunting.
- A common source of a leak comes from water in the faucet supply hose because the water is under pressure. The water will tend to spray or drip from a loose connection or defective pipe, and commonly at the shut-off valves with compression fittings that aren't as tight as they should be. The best way to tighten them is to hold the valve with one wrench while you turn the compression nut with another. Leaks coming from faucet connections are difficult to tighten because they are located in cramped spaces behind or under the sink. Tighten these types of leaks with adjustable or locking pliers.
- Leaks from a P-trap can be the result of a loose connection, a blockage in the drainpipe or, in the case of a metal trap, corrosion. If the trap leaks after you've tightened all the compression nuts remove it and give it a good cleaning. You can usually tighten compression nuts on plastic P-traps by hand, but you usually need pliers for metal traps. If the nuts on a metal trap are hard to turn, they may be corroded, and it's probably time to replace the trap.
If you have trouble finding the source of the leak remember that usually a faucet leaks above the sink but sometimes water flows down the back of the faucet and the drip will seem like it is coming from underneath the sink. The procedure for fixing a leaking faucet depends on the type of faucet you have. It usually involves disassembly and replacement of one or two gaskets or washers.
Are you experiencing a kitchen plumbing emergency? Leaks and clogs can cause severe damage to your home and that’s where we come in. Our experienced Santa Cruz plumbers have the knowledge and skill to open your kitchen sink drain and get things back in order, quickly. Call for a free plumbing inspection 24/7, including weekends and holidays. There is never an overtime charge or a trip fee to visit your home. Call today!