One simple truth about plumbing is that there are no good leaks. If water is escaping from somewhere in your plumbing system, you’ve got a leak—and that’s a problem. Leaks can damage surrounding areas in your home that aren’t supposed to get wet, and they can really run up the cost of your monthly water bill.
Now, in general, we can put these leaks into two distinct categories: the type you can see and the type you can’t. It might not seem like it at the time, but the type you can see is always going to be preferable—trust me on this one. Not only do they tend to be easier to fix, but chances are, you’ll spot them before much damage is done.
One of the most common and noticeable leaks homeowners have is a kitchen sink drain pipe leaking at the connection. That’s why today I’m going to teach you what to do when you spot a kitchen drain pipe leak.
How to Spot a Kitchen Sink Drain Pipe Leaking at the Connection
Having done plumbing repairs in many, many homes, I know that most homeowners use the cabinet under their kitchen sink for storage. Unfortunately, having stuff piled high under the drain pipe can sometimes make it a bit tricky to spot a sink drain pipe leak. Sometimes, though, it can actually make it easier. One client of mine discovered a leak in his drain pipe because he noticed the box he kept his stash of garbage bags in was totally soaked when he went to put a fresh bag in the garbage. This is the telltale sign of a kitchen sink drain pipe leak: whatever is underneath the sink is soaking wet.
If there’s nothing under the sink, you’re more likely to see water pooling on the bottom of the cabinet or the floor. If the leak has been there for a while, though, you could see water stains under the sink.
What Causes a Kitchen Sink Drain Pipe to Leak at the Connection
Now, after you’ve wiped up the water or dried off your wet belongings, you’ll probably be wondering what caused the leak in the first place. Well, there are a few things that could be the culprit behind this kind of leak.
Here are some of the most common causes of kitchen sink drain pipe leaks:
- The compression nut is loose: This is probably one of the most common reasons for a leaky drain pipe at the connection. Sometimes the reason for the leaky drainpipe is simply that the compression nut is a little loose—simple as that. It’s worth trying to tighten it yourself if you’re comfortable doing so and seeing if that takes care of the leak before calling a plumber.
- The compression nut is worn: If tightening the compression nut doesn’t seem to take care of the leak, it’s possible that the nut is cracked or has broken or worn-down threads. If this is the case, water can easily escape at the point of connection, and there’s your leak.
- A clog in your P-trap: Clogs in your drain pipe can put pressure on the pipe, causing it to eventually crack and spring a leak. If your sink isn’t draining well and also seems to be leaking, this could be what’s going on.
- Your pipes are the wrong length: I’ve seen a lot of wacky drain pipes that just aren’t the appropriate size for the sink and don’t quite fit into each other. If your drain pipes aren’t the right size, there may be too much pressure at the joint where the connection is, causing it to leak.
What to Do Once You Spot a Leak Under the Kitchen Sink
Now that you’ve spotted the leak and have an understanding of what could be causing it, it’s time to call a plumbing pro to have a look at it and sort out what is going on. Really, the only thing you could try before calling a plumber is tightening the compression nut, but sometimes even doing this can make things worse, depending on what the problem really is. Fiddling about under your sink trying to fix the leak if you aren’t able to properly diagnose the problem can do more harm than good. Plus, things can get messy pretty quickly.
Calling a plumbing pro, like the friendly folks at Bell Brothers, will save you from playing the guessing game as to what is causing the leak at the connection because they have the equipment and experience needed to inspect your drain pipe and really see what’s going on. Once they determine what it is, they can address the problem at its root, and fix it before it turns into something bigger—and more expensive.
The best part about calling a plumbing pro to fix your kitchen sink drain pipe leak is that you can use it as an opportunity to have your whole system inspected, not just your connections. The folks at Bell Brothers would be happy to do a full inspection of your plumbing system to make sure that you don’t have any of those sneaky little invisible leaks that cause damage to your home and run up your water bill. Plus, they can give you some tips to make your plumbing system more efficient, like installing low-flow plumbing, for instance. That way, you can rest assured that your sink drain pipe is working just like new—and your whole plumbing system is working optimally too.
At Bell Brothers, our trained plumbing professionals would be happy to fix your leaking kitchen sink drain pipe and talk to you about your home’s water efficiency. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
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Image courtesy Kasia Bialasiewicz