Troubleshooting Common Kitchen Sink Plumbing Problems

For many people, the kitchen sink is the most frequently used plumbing utility in the home. Few things are more frustrating than a problem with the kitchen sink as it will tie up all kitchen activities. Here are some of the most common kitchen sink plumbing problems and what you can do to fix them.

Clogged Kitchen Sink

Clog, No Garbage Disposal:

When water pools up in your kitchen sink – one without a garbage disposal – the first thing to try is to see if using a plunger will dislodge the clog. Make sure you have enough standing water in the sink so that when you work the plunger up and down, you are forcing water down into the pipe to clear the jam.

If this doesn’t get the result you want, the next step is to check the sink trap beneath. Open the doors under the sink. The trap, commonly in the shape of a “P”, prevents odors and sewer gasses from entering the home. This P trap can get filled up with soap, grease and food particles and bind into a solid mess that is hard to clear from above. You’ll need to remove the trap and clean it out, but you need to get organized first.

Locate the P trap. It is connected to the drain that comes directly out of the bottom of the sink. Put a bucket under this trap and loosen the slip nuts on either side of the trap. You will then be able to shake out any accumulated gunk from that trap. Then secure the trap back in place and check to see that your sink drain is now passing water through without pooling.

If the problem still exists, your drain lines may be the issue and you should call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for a fast and affordable drain cleaning.

Kitchen Sink Clog, With Garbage Disposal:

As handy as a garbage disposal is, it can also be a major source of sink clogs. The primary reasons for these clogs include:

  • Lack of adequate water used to flush down the solids put into the disposal.
  • Putting items into the disposal that are not designed to be put down the drain. Paper towels, grease, large amounts of fibrous plant matter, sand, dirt, fabric and foreign objects fallen into the drain (spoons, bottle caps, plastics, etc.).
  • An old or malfunctioning garbage disposal.

Your best bet is to call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing as disposals can be difficult to work on if you don’t already have experience with them. If the disposal is humming but not grinding, do not attempt to fix the problem, call our team. We will diagnose the disposal and determine if it is repairable, and if not, what replacement options are most appropriate. However, there are some DIY tricks you can try first.

  • If the disposal just isn’t working at all, push the reset button on the bottom of disposal. Run water and try again.
  • Make sure the disposal is still plugged in and that the circuit breaker for that unit is not tripped.
  • There is a hex shaped hole in the bottom of the disposal. Usually there is a hex wrench clamped to the side of the disposal. If not, you will need to get one that fits. Most disposals have the same size wrench (1/4-inch hex wrench). Crank the disposal in both directions to free up the impellers and expel the jam. Alternately, you can turn off the power to the disposal and push a short broomstick down against one of the blades and try to move it back and forth, but this poses a risk of dislodging the unit if too much pressure is applied.

Low Pressure Kitchen Faucet

The common culprit is a clogged aerator. This is a small circular screen at the end of the faucet that strains out minerals in the water. This is especially true for homes with hard water or water that is highly mineralized. Simply unscrew this filter and clean it out. Inspect the screen to see if it is so worn that it needs to be replaced. You can get replacement screens at most hardware stores.

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you need to call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing because the problem may need to be traced back through the water lines in your house for debris or for low pressure coming into the house.

Leaky Kitchen Faucet

Generally, leaky kitchen faucets are due to worn seals. This is not an expensive fix, but it is usually better to call a professional plumber who will know the way around your specific faucet fixture and should have the proper replacement seals with them.

Clogged Drain Lines

In many cases, the issue is that not enough water was used to flush down solids and/or materials were improperly allowed to go down the drain rather than disposed of correctly. If your clog is a simple one, it should resolve with one of the following:

  • Make sure you have the kind that tapers down at the business end and not the old traditional ones that look like a suction cup.
  • Hot water and soap poured down the drain. Wait for 20 minutes. This may loosen up the clog so that the plunger is now effective.
  • Commercial drain cleaning solutions. Follow directions on the bottle – unfortunately, these products are rarely effective and should be avoided as they are highly toxic.
  • Use a “snake” or auger, a thin cable that unwinds and can be snaked down through the clog to break it up and free the flow of water. You will have to invest in the tool, but it may come in handy in the future.

Many plumbing issues come about after time has caused buildup in the pipes, worn fixture malfunctions or weaknesses in the original plumbing system. It is always wise to give Benjamin Franklin plumbing a call. Our highly skilled plumbers have seen it all and their experience-based diagnosis can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

You have more important things to do than be frustrated by kitchen plumbing problems, right?