How to Prevent Kitchen Sink Plumbing Problems

Do you use your kitchen sink daily? Most people do! When issues arise, they’re likely to cause a major household inconvenience. Luckily, you can take some simple steps to avoid most problems with your kitchen sink plumbing.

Find out how to keep your faucet, garbage disposal and drain running smoothly, as well as what to try when issues arise. Make sure you never find yourself rinsing dirty dishes in the bathtub by following these three tips.

1. Keep your faucet flowing

Faucets are fairly easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis — cleaning with water and a mild soap, followed by a buff with a soft cloth, often does the trick. Always use non-abrasive cleaners to avoid scratching the finish of your sink accessories.

On occasion you may need to remove the buildup of mineral deposits — soaking the parts with some warm vinegar works well to ease the particles off. Don’t forget to remove the screen on the end of your faucet and dislodge any buildup, which will affect the flow of your water.

How to troubleshoot 

If you have a low-flowing faucet, try first checking for mineral buildup. If you have some skills with tools, you can take apart your faucet and check the O-ring and washer inside your valve and replace them, if needed. Check for degraded seals or other loose parts that may be causing your leak.  

When to call a pro 

If a simple DIY fix fails to solve your problem, it’s time to find a plumber. They have licenses for a reason! You may need to replace some part of your kitchen sink plumbing due to degradation or corrosion of parts, and they can identify your issue.

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2. Protect your garbage disposal

A couple of easy habits help maintain the smooth operation of your garbage disposal. Run water to lubricate the blades before flipping on the switch, and let the faucet continue to run for 15 seconds after food has been disintegrated.

Avoid putting fibrous or fatty foods down the disposal and only throw malleable, easy-to-dissolve organic waste into the unit. Clean your disposal about once a week using vinegar.

You can also throw ice cubes down the drain and run the disposal with cold water to knock stubborn food particles off the blades. Another trick for combatting any unpleasant odors that develop is to run a small slice of citrus peel through the system.

How to troubleshoot 

Always keep hair, clothing and appendages clear of the disposal when troubleshooting or cleaning the unit. First, make sure nothing is caught in the unit using tongs or another grasping tool to avoid putting your hands near the blades. Try the reset button.

If that doesn’t work, look for a hex-shaped hole at the bottom of the disposal and turn a hex wrench back and forth to free up a jam. Important note: Disconnect power to the unit before trying this method.

When to call a pro

If your efforts to clean and reset your disposal fail, hire a qualified plumber to evaluate the situation. You might be in need of a replacement.

Tips for fixing a clogged garbage disposal

3. Maintain your drain

If your drain is running slowly, backing up water and waste or just smells bad, it’s a real hassle — and you could’ve prevented this. Avoid putting food scraps, grease or other non-organic waste down the drain. This will prevent buildup on the inside of your kitchen sink plumbing.

Maintain your disposal using the tips above. Clear food scraps from the drain screen as needed and clean the drain regularly using a coarse brush.

How to troubleshoot 

Some easy DIY methods for cleaning a clogged drain include flushing it with boiling water, pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down or using a snake. Try a plunger for more stubborn clogs (if it’s a double sink, close off the second drain opening before plunging).

Feeling handy? Get out the toolbox and get under the sink. Remove the P- trap to see if you can dislodge debris that’s creating a clog. Don’t forget to put a bucket under the trap when unscrewing it! If a leak is your problem, you can try tightening the valves or pipe nuts under the sink.

When to call a pro

Call a plumber if you’ve tried the DIY methods with which you’re comfortable and the drain still isn’t running free. If stinky wastewater is backing up through your drain, that may indicate a major obstruction in your sewer line. And always, if a backup or leak is causing damage to other parts of your house, don’t let the problem escalate into something needing a more expensive fix.

Kitchen sink plumbing service

If your kitchen sink problems have gotten too big to handle yourself, call John C. Flood to get it back in working order. We’re trusted by customers all over the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia metro area to fix and maintain their home HVAC and plumbing systems. We’re happy to help you, too. If your plumbing issues has you considering a full kitchen remodel, call 703-214-5611!

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