Kitchen Plumbing Problems: What to Do When Things Go Wrong

by | Jul 25, 2023 | DIY Tips

The kitchen is often the heart of a home, but this heavy-use area is also prone to plumbing problems. Leaks, clogged drains, and appliance issues in the kitchen can quickly derail life and disrupt your household routine. When something goes wrong with your kitchen plumbing, it’s important to assess the problem correctly and take appropriate action to restore full function. Here is a guide to navigating the most common kitchen plumbing woes.

Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain

A sluggish or clogged kitchen sink is one of the most annoying plumbing issues you can face. Dirty water backs up and you lose the use of an essential cleaning area. Several techniques can unclog a kitchen drain:

  1. Try a plunger first. Seal it completely over the drain and plunge vigorously several times to pressurize the clog and dislodge it.
  2. Use a zip-it style drain cleaning tool to grab hair and gunk from the drain. Slowly pull out trapped debris.
  3. Pour 1⁄2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1⁄2 cup vinegar—the chemical reaction can break down organic matter. Flush with hot water.
  4. For a more powerful approach, use a liquid drain cleaner or gel formula. Follow product instructions carefully.
  5. If other methods fail, remove the P-trap under the sink to check for and remove the clog manually.

Prevention is also key. Use drain screens to catch food and hair. Pour grease into a jar instead of the sink. Use a little hot water and baking soda regularly to keep drains clear.

Leaky Faucet

That constant drip-drip-drip from a leaky kitchen faucet causes more than just annoyance—it also wastes gallons of water over time.

  1. First, identify the faucet type and cause of the leak:
  2. Dripping at the spout when the faucet is off indicates worn washers or seats which require replacing.
  3. Leakage coming from the faucet base points to damaged gaskets or O-rings.
  4. Leaks at the swivel joint mean worn valve cartridges.
  5. Shut off water supply lines.
  6. Take the faucet apart using a basin wrench.
  7. Examine pieces and replace worn rubber washers, O-rings, cartridges or other parts as needed.
  8. Reassemble carefully.

If repairs are beyond your skill level, call a plumber. Prevent leaks by replacing washers and O-rings routinely.

Noisy Pipes

Hearing banging or hissing from hidden pipes when water is run frequently signals a bigger issue needing attention. Possible causes include:

  1. Loose pipes—as vibrations travel through unsecured pipes, it amplifies noise. Have braces and hangers inspected and secure loose spots.
  2. Water pressure too high—intense pressure leads to turbulence and hammering sounds. Install a pressure regulator to prevent damage.
  3. Mineral buildup and corrosion—scale inside pipes causes water to forcefully squeeze through the narrow space, increasing volume. Seek drain cleaning.
  4. Worn washers—leaking connection points create noise. Replace faulty washers.

Catching and addressing the root issue will eliminate unwanted sounds.

Running Toilet

The constant sound of a toilet cycling and refilling when nothing is wrong with the tank lever or flapper likely means a leaky toilet. Causes include deterioration of the seal between the tank and bowl, cracks, and mineral deposits preventing proper seating. Replacing the spud washer where the tank and bowl come together often fixes the issue. For other leaks, replacing the toilet may be required. Taking quick action conserves gallons of wasted water.

Clogged Garbage Disposal

When the garbage disposal hums but won’t grind, the cause is likely something stuck in the unit or a jammed impeller blade.

  1. First unplug the disposal.
  2. Check inside for foreign items like silverware, bottle caps or small toys and remove them.
  3. Use an Allen wrench in the bottom of the disposal to turn the motor back and forth to release stuck impeller blades.
  4. Reset the circuit breaker if needed.

Avoid putting stringy vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and other items prone to clogging down the disposer.

No Hot Water

Lack of hot water in the kitchen sink affects cleaning ability and tasks like safely washing hands. The issue may just be a pilot light that needs relighting on a gas water heater. With electric heaters, thermostats and heating elements may require replacement. For tankless hot water heaters, obstructions in filters or pipes reduce flow. Descale and clean out sediment. If repairs are complex, seek professional assistance to restore hot water supply.

Low Water Pressure

Weak water flow from faucets and showers throughout the house may originate from kitchen plumbing. Clogged faucet aerators are common culprits—unscrew and clean out mineral deposits trapped in the aerator screen. Partially closed shut-off valves under sinks can also restrict pressure—open valves fully. If accessible, check the home’s main shut-off valve to ensure it’s fully open. Low pressure may also indicate larger supply line problems needing professional attention.

Leaking Under the Sink

Water pooling under the kitchen sink comes from leaks in supply lines, slip joints, connections and the drain. Visually inspect all pipes, hoses and joints. Feel for moisture. Tighten any loose joints. Replace damaged, corroded or cracked parts. Consider installing leakage alarms in case of hard-to-find microscopic leaks. Take quick action to avoid damage to cabinets and floors.

Appliance Leaks or Clogs

Kitchen appliances all connect to plumbing and can develop issues. Refrigerator water dispensers clog and ice makers leak. Dishwashers can leak from worn door seals, overflow or drain line backups. Washing machine drain lines also sometimes clog and leak. Consulting appliance troubleshooting manuals or repair professionals is the best solution for appliance plumbing issues.

Know When to Call a Pro

Some kitchen plumbing headaches can be successfully tackled by homeowners in a DIY fashion. But certain issues absolutely require a professional plumber’s skills:

  • Main sewer clogs or tree root invasions
  • Major drain line blockages
  • Leaks requiring pipe or valve replacement behind walls/under foundation
  • Appliance installation or repairs involving connections
  • Gas line leaks
  • Insufficient water flow throughout home

Don’t take chances on complex repairs. Calling a knowledgeable plumber at the first sign of trouble can prevent damage or dangerous conditions.

Who to Call

When tackling plumbing issues during a kitchen remodel or kitchen extension project, rely on the experts at 2nd City Gas Plumbing and Heating. Their licensed, insured plumbers have the skills to handle all aspects of kitchen plumbing for remodels and additions.

Whether you need to move or replace pipes, hook up a new sink, install appliances, or enhance gas lines for a kitchen expansion, 2nd City Gas can do the job right while avoiding any interruption to your existing kitchen plumbing during construction.

Their technicians stay current on all codes and permitting requirements while having extensive experience specifically with kitchen plumbing in home additions and renovations. With 2nd City Gas Plumbing & Heating, you can trust your kitchen extension project will include reliable, quality plumbing that enhances the functionality and looks great. Visit their website:

Taking Action

Kitchen plumbing troubles not only hamper meal prep but can also lead to expensive property damage. Stay proactive with preventative maintenance. Learn to recognize the signs of common problems and quickly attempt fixes within your skill level. But know when to call in a professional plumber to safely handle any issues inside walls or below floors. With the right blend of DIY solutions and expert assistance, you can tackle kitchen plumbing repairs and keep this vital space functioning smoothly.

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