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Kitchen Sink Plumbing: DIY Guide For Handy Homeowners

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Homeownership can sometimes feel like an endless cycle of repairs and adjustments. Sometimes you need to call a professional to repair your kitchen sink, but there are several simple fixes you can do by yourself. Read on to learn about how you can fix your kitchen sink yourself with this kitchen sink guide.   

Key parts of kitchen sink plumbing

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To properly fix your kitchen sink, you should know all the components and how they interact. While it can seem like there are many components, once you understand how everything fits together, you can see a kitchen sink is quite simple.  

  • Faucet- A faucet is the portion of the sink that releases water. It consists of several elements, including the spout, aerators, and gaskets. You will only need to worry about the particular anatomy of your faucet if it is leaking. Water lines connect to a faucet. 
  • Water lines- The water lines supply the water to the faucet. One provides cold water, while the other offers hot water. Each line attaches to its corresponding control handle. 
  • Handles- A kitchen sink can have one or two handles. If there is one, then the direction you turn dictates the temperature of the water. With two separate handles, each controls a different temperature. 
  • Drain- The drain of your sink is where the water flows from your basin into the tailpiece drain pipe, p-trap, and onward through the drain lines to the sewer. 
  • Basin- The basin makes up most of the visible body of your sink. It holds the water from the faucet and can be made of many materials, including stainless steel, enameled cast iron, copper, porcelain, and enameled steel. The drain will connect to the floor of the basin.  
  • Tailpiece- The tailpiece is a pipe your drain attaches to that water flows through after leaving the basin.  
  • P-trap- The P-trap consists of two pipe components in the general shape of the letter “P.” That unique shape makes it difficult for gasses from the sewer to enter your home. Some other trap types may be in older homes, such as an S-trap.   
  • Cleanout- A cleanout fitting will attach to the trap which assists in clog clearing.  
  • Shut-off valve- A shut-off valve, also known as a stop, is a handle that lets you turn off the water supply to your sink. Always turn this handle before engaging in any DIY plumbing
  • Garbage disposal- Some kitchen sinks may have a garbage disposal. This device will connect to the trap and grinds food waste with a switch flip.  
  • Spray head- Some kitchen sinks may have a detachable head, in addition to the faucet. It will attach to the water supply with a hose that lets you maneuver your water. 

Common problems and their solutions

There are a few common kitchen sink issues to look out for that you can fix yourself. 

Need a new faucet

kitchen sink plumbing upgrading faucet

Whether your faucet is broken or not the style you want, it is easy to install a new faucet or even a new sink. Remove the old faucet using an Allenwrench to loosen the Allenscrew, remove the cap with pliers, and remove the ball, seats, and springs. Next, add everything back in reverse order from your new faucet. If a faucet continues to leak, there may be an issue beyond the faucet.    

Broken P trap

A trap can fail to work properly in a few ways. They can leak, get clogged, or fall apart after years of use. 

At that point, it is easiest to install a new P-trap. First, determine what material and size of P-trap you need. Next, turn off the water supply and ensure you have a towel on-hand to collect any water. Remove the old trap slowly and gently before replacing it with the new one.    

Clogged drain

A clogged sink drain is usually one of the simplest issues to fix in your home. In the kitchen, you will likely only have food waste in your sink. As a result, it is easier to clean than a hair-filled bathroom drain.  

While you can use products specifically designed to unclog your drain, you should use natural solutions. The same chemicals that clear drains can damage your pipes. For a natural option, try pouring a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar, before flushing it with hot water.   

You may need to call a professional if the clog persists after you take unclogging measures. 

General tips and tricks

kitchen sink plumbing tightening screws
  • Always be careful to not over-tighten any screws or pipes when you fix a plumbing problem. Doing so may warp the pipe, and lead to breakage. 
  • You can prevent plumbing headaches by not pouring harmful materials, like fats into your kitchen sink drain. Over time, grease may build up within your pipes, leading to eventual problems with plumbing throughout your home and the sewer. Instead, compost or throw away any oils or fats. 
  • Putting a strainer in your sink drain is an effective way to prevent food particles from getting into your plumbing system. 

When to call a plumber

While it can be satisfying to care for your kitchen plumbing issues alone, there is nothing wrong with calling a professional when you need one. If you are unsure about any element of home repair, call someone instead of risking damage to your home. 

There are some obvious times you will need a plumber, such as with a full kitchen remodel. Some issues may seem small, but are not problems you should tackle alone. For example, if you think a pipe is broken, frozen, or leaking, pick up the phone before you pick up a wrench. 

A leaking refrigerator or dishwasher can come from the plumbing or appliance. A professional can determine the issue and fix it if the plumbing is the culprit. You should also call a plumber if your sink has low water pressure or is not producing hot water. Those issues indicate a deeper underlying problem in your plumbing system.  

Final thoughts

Now that you know how to fix everything and the kitchen sink, you can take care of your home and save money. Look out for warning signs, including leaks and odd smells to know if you need to fix your kitchen sink. Then use this kitchen sink guide to repair anything you need.

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