Kitchen Sink Plumbing 101: 4 Common Problems and How to Solve Them

When it comes to plumbing a kitchen sink, most of us feel hopeless, and we tend to seek help from experienced plumbers. Even though sometimes this is the only solution, there are certain kitchen sink plumbing problems that you can solve by yourself.

The Most Common Kitchen Sink Plumbing Issues

1. Low Water Pressure

A weak stream of water means that your skin is experiencing a low water pressure. Usually, the main cause is a clogged aerator. This usually happens because of dissolved minerals like calcium building up in the small openings in the aerator. If you have hard water or water with a high mineral count you run the risk of having a continuous clogged aerator.

Remove the aerator and place in a small plastic container filled with white vinegar for 6 hours or so. Remove and reinstall. Your aerator should work like new. Your water pressure may also be poor due to low pressure in your home or clogged water piping due to debris in the water lines. In both the latter cases contact your local plumbing professional for advice.

2. Leaky Kitchen Faucet

It is true that a leaky kitchen faucet might require a professional’s solution. However, feel free to check to see if the cause is a simple common problem before calling a plumber. Discover where the leaking comes from. For example, if it begins near the spout’s base, it might be a damaged O-ring seal. This kitchen sink plumbing issue has an increased appearance rate when the sink is old or worn out. Whenever you check your sink or water lines for different malfunctions, remember to turn off the water first.

running faucet above a sink

3. Clogged Kitchen Sink

Every kitchen sink has a trap in the shape of the letter P or more commonly knows as a p-trap. This prevents odors and sewer gasses from entering your kitchen. It works due to gravity force. Because of its particular shape, this trap can get filled with soap and grease which will eventually clog the sink or create leaking issues. You can easily check the trap by placing a bucket under it. Then, loosen the slip nuts with the help of channel locks or a small pipe wrench.

4. Clogged Drain Lines

This is another common issue when it comes to your kitchen sink plumbing. If you have a garbage disposal you are much more prone to clogged drain lines connected to your kitchen sink. Most homeowners do not use adequate water to flush waste down the garbage disposal so food pieces can easily build up in the pipe under the sink. This will prevent water from draining properly. Although you should seek a professional’s help and call an experienced plumber, sometimes, you can solve this issue on your own.

Use a plunger or even a chemical drain cleaner solution. These tools might work effectively in dislodging the obstruction. As a final resort, you can contact a plumber. Please note, although chemical cleaners can be effective use with extreme caution and only if you are experiencing a slow draining sink. If the sink is completely clogged do not use a chemical drain opener. If the opener doesn’t work you have a sink filled with water and a dangerous chemical.

How to Solve Simple Kitchen Sink Plumbing Problems

kitchen sink plumbing

Unblock Kitchen Sink Traps

Traps are one of the most common areas where kitchen sink plumbing issues happen. The easiest way to unblock them is by using a snake tool. However, sinks must be dismantled if you want to remove the blockage completely. You will need the following tools: a bowl, a bucket, replacement washers, and an old toothbrush. Follow the following guidelines if you want to unblock your sink:

  • Undo the sink trap.
  • Place the bowl underneath it to avoid water dripping.
  • Remove debris and residues. Then, clean the trap using water and a bucket. Use the old toothbrush to clean the area thoroughly.
  • Replace the trap with new washers. If your trap was worn out, it is best to replace it to prevent future leaks.

How to Plumb a Kitchen Sink

a woman plumber installing a sink

If you want to install a new kitchen sink by yourself, you need to follow certain steps and guidelines. Before you begin the installation process, you should carefully read the instructions from the manufacturer’s manual. Let’s face it! The safest and quickest way to install a kitchen sink or any sink is by calling a professional plumber. However, if you have already decided that you want to do this on your own, here are the necessary steps.

#1.Measure your current sink and decide whether or not you want to replace the faucet too. In the case in which the new kitchen sink is bigger than the old one, you are required to make enough room for it. This means you should modify the kitchen sink plumbing or the countertop opening.

Pro Tip: replacing all the additional components such as faucets, soap dispenser, water filter, and more, is easier to do when you install a new sink.  You should always wear protective clothing and glasses when you work under the sink.

#2. Now it is time to remove the old sink. But first take a picture of the original plumbing configuration. This way, it will be easier for you to reassemble it later. Turn off both water supply lines. You can find these below the sink,  usually in the cabinet under the sink. If not, look for them in the basement. As a final resort, you can turn off your house’s entire water line.

Final Steps

#3. Once the water line is closed, you can turn on the sink’s faucet to relieve the lines’ water pressure. To disconnect the faucet’s water supply lines, you need to use adjustable wrenches. It is wise to place a bucket under them so that the excess water won’t drip on the floor. For those of you who have garbage disposer I must state the following thing: turn off the circuit and unplug it. Then you can remove the drain line from the disposal and the waste from the dishwasher if you have one.

#4.Unscrew the metal clips under the sink and cut the caulk that surrounds the sink with a knife. The best way to do it is by using a utility knife. Lift the sink away and begin installing the new kitchen sink. Attach its clips to the countertop and install all the additional components.

#5. Before placing the drain strainer, you should apply some plumber’s putty around it. Use a towel to remove all the excess putty. Make sure that the drain strainer is firmly fixed. To seal the whole thing, it is best to apply a thin layer of silicone on the basin’s edge. Check to see if all water lines and connections are tightened and reinstall the dishwasher drain. All you have left to do is to turn on the water line and verify if there are any leaks.

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