The constant drip from a leaky faucet or finding a pool of water below your kitchen sink days later is never fun. Discovering you have a plumbing leak can be a major inconvenience, and if not fixed in a timely manner, can become be quite expensive. The good news is, they’re usually easy to pinpoint and fix. Here’s some basic kitchen faucet troubleshooting tips to help you save time and costly service calls.
The Best Way to Fix a Kitchen Leaky Faucet
The Most Common Causes of Kitchen Plumbing Leaks
The first step is going to be to identify your problem. You will want to clear any items or chemicals from under your sink, so you will have a good view and plenty of work area. A leaky faucet and plumbing leaks can be caused from many sources.
There are a few reasons why you may be seeing water around or under your sink:
- Leaky faucets
- Sink rim leaks
- Loose/Cracked pipes
- Drain leaks
- Supply leaks
- Garbage disposal issues
Identifying and Repairing Your Leaky Faucet
Determine if leaky faucets are the cause:
Many times, this type of leak will be very noticeable. Water standing around the back of the sink is the first clue, but occasionally, the leak will be on the underside of the sink. These leaks are usually caused by worn cartridges, washers, O-rings or valve seats.
The procedure used will depend on the type of faucet you own, but it is normally a quick fix. You may decide to just replace the entire faucet altogether. Before you begin the project, make sure water supply is cut off. It is imperative to remember the order you remove each part, so there is no confusion during reassembly.
Are you having a kitchen sink rim leak?
These types of leaks can take a while before being noticed. Water will seep under the edge of the sink, remaining undetected. Unfortunately, this can cause significant water damage, including rotten wood and mold growth.
Some things to look out for are missing caulk around the sink, dampness inside the cabinet, loose faucet or damage to laminate countertops. Inspecting the underside of the counter can usually help you pinpoint the spot of the leak. If you are unable to tell, you may squeeze water around the rim of the sink and then inspect for leaks.
Before attempting to rectify the problem, you must inspect your kitchen cabinets. If the damage is too severe, cabinets and/or countertops will need replacing. If there is only slight damage, you should start by making sure the faucet is good and tight. Then, check the sink mounting brackets to make sure they are secure. Lastly, you should remove all old caulking from around faucet and sink rim, then recaulk.
Could your kitchen plumbing issue be loose or cracked pipes?
If you are unsure, the first thing you need to do is find the exact location of the leak. The easiest way to do this is by making sure the pipe is completely dry, then run a small amount of water down the drain, while watching for dripping water.
More often than not, the water will be escaping from a loose joint or connector. This will usually only require tightening with a pipe wrench. If this doesn’t seem to work, you will need to check for blockages next. Some chemicals can do the trick for this, but an auger works even better.
After trying these two steps to no avail, the leak is most likely due to cracks or corrosion in the trap. In this case, P-trap should be removed and replaced.
Kitchen drain leak:
This is pretty easy to diagnose. Just fill the sink and wipe around the drain basket under the sink to check for the presence of water.
The basket is usually held in place by a lock nut that will need to be removed first. Once you have the strainer basket out, you will need to scrape away all the old remaining putty. Then replace the basket with the new one and seal with fresh putty or silicone, depending on your sink requirements. If you still can’t fix the leaky faucet you may need to call a plumbing professional.
Water supply leak detection:
A leaky faucet could be the issue or a water supply leak could also be the problem. Here’s a leak detection trick to try. If one of your supply lines somehow manages to get a hole in it, you will know it immediately. These lines are constantly under high pressure, so if they get punctured water will be spraying from the hole uncontrollably.
If it is a slow leak, you will need to turn on each temperature knob, one at a time, to determine which one of your lines are leaking. Once you find which line is faulty, you will need to remove it. You will unscrew each connecting end with a crescent wrench to unhook the line. It is recommended to place a bucket under your work area to avoid a mess from any remaining water in the lines.
Make sure you remove the old Teflon tape from the connector and replace with 3-4 new layers. You will install the new water supply line just like you removed the old one. Once you are done, turn on each line full pressure, one at a time, making sure there are no longer any leaks.
Kitchen plumbing or garbage disposal problem?
You may find that water pooling under your sink is coming from your garbage disposal. This may be somewhat intimidating, but it can still be a relatively easy fix.
There are four areas where your garbage disposal may spring a leak:
- The dishwasher hose. This is the hose that connects the dishwasher to the garbage disposal.
- The sink flange. This is the area directly under the sink where the disposal connects to the strainer basket area of the sink.
- The drain. The is where the drainage pipe connects to the side of the garbage disposal.
- The bottom of the appliance. You may see water leaking directly from the bottom of the garbage disposal.
To find your leak, you will need to fill your sink with a small amount of water. While it is still plugged, check to see if there is any visible water around disposal. If there is, then you know your issue is with the sink flange. Oftentimes, this can be resolved by unhooking the disposal from the sink, removing old putty, and resealing.
If there is no water present, unplug sink and observe the other areas for seeping water. When the water is coming from the drain or hose, it is usually due to a faulty seal. This is generally an easy fix, depending on your disposal model. The last place you want to see water coming from is the bottom of the disposal. If this occurs, it is your best bet just to replace the entire unit.
For more kitchen and bathroom ideas on Stagetecture, take a look at our archives.