Three Common Kitchen Plumbing Repairs
Kitchen plumbing can make or break one of the most important parts of the house – the kitchen. This network of pipes and water fixtures connecting a variety of kitchen appliances and other devices in the kitchen must be maintained in top condition at all times. Problems may arise especially if regular maintenance has not been performed.
Nevertheless, the effect of normal wear and tear can create a host of problems for the plumbing system in the kitchen.
Here are three of the most common sources of plumbing issues in the kitchen that may require repairs.
Leaky Kitchen Faucets
A leaking kitchen faucet can be caused by several things:
- It can mean that the washer inside the faucet is worn out and needs replacing. If the kitchen faucet does not have a washer, then other types of mechanical seals may be at fault such as the outlet or inlet seals.
- If you have a cartridge kitchen faucet it may be that the cartridge itself is already worn out and already requires replacing. It is also possible that excessively high water pressure may cause leaks especially if you notice the leak occurs only at certain times of the day.
- A relatively uncommon cause of kitchen faucet leaks is broken plumbing. In such cases, you can inspect it yourself or you can have a professional do it for you and make the needed repairs.
In order to fix your leaky kitchen faucet, it may be necessary to disassemble the faucet. You will first need to close the water shutoff valve under the sink so that you will not flood your kitchen. When disassembling the faucet it often helps to remember exactly how you disassembled it because re-assembly will require the exact same steps – but in reverse. Taking pictures with a smartphone is the easiest and quickest way to do this.
Remove all the parts and look for the washer or the packing nut (if you have a ball faucet) or the O-ring and cartridge (if you have a cartridge faucet) or the ceramic cartridge seals (if you have ceramic faucet). Replace these if they seem worn out or damaged. If you are not sure, you can bring them to your plumbing hardware store so they can check which parts need to be replaced.
Once replaced, reassemble your kitchen faucet and you should be good to go. Turn on the water supply valves, check for any leaks under the sink and then turn on the faucet to make sure it operates properly. Keep an eye out for any leaks for the next 24 hours.
If the problem can only be solved by replacing your entire faucet, then follow these steps:
- Shut off the water valves under the sink. If that is not possible, turn off the main water line to your home.
- Remove the hot and cold water supply lines connected to the faucet.
- Remove the nuts that hold the base of the faucet to the underside of the sink.
- Clean the area where the faucet was sitting and install the new faucet per the instructions provided.
This task might be beyond the ability of many people, so it’s always a good idea to seek out a professional plumber to do this for you.
If you want to try and replace the faucet yourself, but are not sure what brands to buy, call Staggs Plumbing, and we’ll give you a few recommendations and some places where they can be purchased.
Staggs Plumbing has decades of experience with problematic faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Most of these jobs can be performed by someone with some degree of DIY plumbing skills. However, if you are not sure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call in the expert plumbers and save yourself from a potentially huge and expensive repair bill.
The waste disposal unit, also known as the garbage disposal unit, is a very important part of the kitchen sink which serves to shred food wastes into smaller pieces so that these do not clog your pipes and create bigger problems. Some of the smelliest kitchen plumbing repairs come from the garbage disposal unit.
Garbage disposals frequently get stuck for a variety of reasons. If you turn on the disposal unit and it just hums rather than spinning around chopping up food, it’s likely to be caused by one of the following issues:
- A large object is stuck in the blades and prevents the blades from turning around
- The motor is old and is wearing out.
- Seals inside the motor have worn out, allowing water to rust out the electrical and mechanical parts.
- The motor was tripped due to an electrical issue (for example, it go too hot or some problem with the power). In this case, the unit would not turn on or make any noise.
To fix a garbage disposal unit that is stuck:
- Unplug it from its power source or you can simply switch off the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel to prevent any risks of electrical shock.
- Look for a reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit. Use this to reset the power to your garbage disposal unit, turn the power back on and test.
- If there’s no reset button, check if there is a hexagonal hole on the bottom of the disposal unit. Insert a hex wrench into the hole and wiggle it back and forth to free the impellers inside the unit.
- If there’s no hex hole try inserting a stick into the unit and force the stick against one of the impeller blades. Use this to rotate the impeller. If there is debris inside the unit, remove these using a pair of pliers or even tongs.
If this still does not work, then you may have to remove the entire garbage disposal unit. This can be a DIY job for some people, and you can buy a new unit at your local hardware store. They typically cost around $90 and up, depending on horsepower rating, noise level and material used in its construction.
These units can be quite heavy, especially when working in the confines under a sink. Some people have actually used a small scissor jack to raise up the unit in order to easily connect everything back together.
Again, if this is something that you feel is beyond your skill level, call Staggs Plumbing, as many of your neighbors have done, and we’ll take care of it quickly and cleanly.
If you have to replace your garbage disposal unit, you need to choose one that has stainless steel blades because these are more durable and are sturdier and sharper. You will also need to choose a disposal unit that is appropriately powered for your needs. If you live alone, 1/3 horsepower should be sufficient. If you have a family, maybe a ½ horsepower unit is better. If you happen to have a dishwasher, then you also might want to consider choosing a garbage disposal unit that has a connection for attaching to your dishwasher drain hose.
There are quite a handful of reasons why dishwashers can leak. It can be caused by overfilling with water, a faulty door, a worn-out gasket, a defective tub, a defective pump, a misaligned dishwasher, or even loose water connections. In some cases, even the use of hand dishwashing liquid can bring about dishwasher leaks. Like any other plumbing in the kitchen, it is important to isolate and accurately identify the source of the problem so that more appropriate measures can be taken.
Fixing dishwasher leaks often depend on the cause of the problem.
- If it is because of loose fittings, then tightening them up will solve the problem.
- If the dishwasher is not level, adjusting the height of one of the adjustable feet may fix the issue.
- If the problem is a leaking door, then you may need to replace the gasket or simply adjust the door latch to make a tight seal.
- If there is a problem in the water connections, then tightening screws on hose clamps as well as other nuts in connections will often solve the problem.
- You can also replace the inlet valve as well as the pump seal.
- If the pump body itself is cracked or damaged, you will need to replace this.
Sometimes the cost of replacing items such as a dishwasher motor assembly (including parts and labor) might be close to the price of a new dishwasher. We have seen dishwashers lasting about ten years before major repairs are needed. Depending on the cost of repairs, you might want to consider replacing rather than repairing.
Since it takes about the same time (or less) to remove an old dishwasher and install the new one as it does to repair the existing unit, if your appliance is around ten years old, consider replacing rather than fixing.
Here’s a tip that many of our customers have used in the past when buying a new dishwasher: Most of the big hardware stores have “open box” or “scratch and dent” sales. Units that have been on the store floor for demonstration purposes (never actually being used) or last year’s model often can be bought for a significant discount. They still carry the full manufacturer’s warranty as well. “Scratch and dent” models will have some cosmetic damage to them and often come with a significant discount. If it’s something you can live with, repair, or if it’s not visible when the door of the dishwasher is closed, then consider buying an “almost new” dishwasher.
Many of these plumbing repairs in the kitchen can be done on a DIY basis. However, for best results, it is often advisable to seek the services of a kitchen plumbing expert like Staggs Plumbing.
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