How to Troubleshoot The Most Common Kitchen Plumbing Problems

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. The kitchen also has a lot of plumbing fixtures; including the kitchen sink, garbage di...

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. The kitchen also has a lot of plumbing fixtures; including the kitchen sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher. All three are very important to any home’s kitchen, so proper maintenance should be a priority.

But problems do arise. Luckily, most kitchen plumbing problems are very common and easy to troubleshoot. Whether or not you can repair it yourself is a different question. The following are some common issues you might find in your own kitchen, and some tips on how to repair them.

The Dishwasher

Without your dishwasher you’d be stuck washing everything by hand. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it? So when a problem with the dishwasher pops up, it can be a big pain. The most common problems you’ll experience with a dishwasher are it won’t fill, drain or run. While those problems seem pretty simple on the surface (and many times are), they can still get complicated fast.

For example, if your dishwasher doesn’t run at all, it might be a problem like a tripped breaker or loose electrical connection. With some basic knowledge, many homeowners can fix this themselves. But sometimes the problem is on the circuit board that controls the dishwasher. If this is the case, a dishwasher repair technician will need to come out to make the repair.

Another common problem is when the dishwasher doesn’t drain properly. This can be as simple as a clogged filter at the bottom of the tub. This issue can be resolved by cleaning out the filter (additionally, regularly cleaning the filter will prevent future clogs). If the drain tube is clogged, then it will need to be disconnected so the clog can be cleared out.

Garbage Disposal

Most of us throw food scraps down the garbage disposal every day without giving it much thought. But when it stops working, or a funky odor begins coming from it, the garbage disposal will suddenly become a very big priority.

A foul odor is one of the most common garbage disposal problems most homeowners have to deal with. All those food scraps thrown down the drain will eventually come back to haunt you. Luckily, the solution is pretty easy. You can get rid of odors in a few ways:

  • Clean the area where the rubber flaps and the metal part of the sink meet. Food particles get stuck in there which can promote bacterial growth.
  • Drop small chunks of lemons down the drain and run the disposal until they are chopped up and pushed through the pipes.
  • Use baking soda and vinegar. Run hot water first, then pour vinegar down the drain followed by some baking soda. 

If your garbage disposal is not running at all, then you’ll need to troubleshoot the problem. It can be everything from a tripped circuit breaker to the motor itself being broke. There’s also a reset button on the underside of the disposal casing itself. Sometimes pushing that reset button will resolve the issue.

Kitchen Sink

Like most sinks, the most common problem people run into is a clogged kitchen sink. You’ll know you have a problem when water drains slowly, or worse, not at all. Generally, this is an easy problem to fix. You can either snake the drain with a simple tool you can buy at any hardware store, or you can use commercial drain cleaner that will dissolve the clog. However, be careful with drain cleaners. Some cleaners are very caustic and can actually do more damage than good over time.

Another way to clear the sink drain is to take apart the U-shaped pipe assembly underneath the sink. Have a bucket ready to catch the water and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Other common kitchen sink problems include leaks and loss of water pressure. For more serious problems like those, it’s better to call a licensed plumber because the repair may not be as simple as it seems.

Prevention Is Your Best Tool 

While most of today’s kitchen appliances are well-made and don’t require a lot of maintenance, there are a few things you can do to prevent problems from popping up in the first place. For example, cleaning out the dishwasher filter every few months can keep it from clogging. 

Further, regularly cleaning the garbage disposal (especially where the rubber flaps meet the sink) can prevent foul odors. And simply being careful about what you throw down the sink can prevent a lot of clogs. A plumber or appliance repair technician can also give you guidance on more preventative maintenance you can perform to keep your kitchen in good working order.

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