Most people don’t give their sinks much thought until something starts to go wrong. While sinks tend to work well and last for a long time, there are a few common problems that people have with them.
My Sink Stopper is Stuck
Every once in a while, you may notice that you can’t drain your sink very easily. You press on the lever to raise the stopper, but it stays in place. Fortunately, these problems are usually relatively easy to fix.
You will need to manually pull out your stopper, if you can, and you may need to disassemble part of the plumbing underneath the sink, too. Most stoppers are a pop-up plug attached to a vertical rod by a horizontal lever.
Sometimes, the clip that attaches the lever to the rod comes undone or pops off. This is easy to fix. Simply replace it, and your stopper should work again.
Other times, you will find that your horizontal lever has rusted through. This happens because it is made of steel, which does not mix well with water. While you can usually get a new lever from the manufacturer, you may just want to replace the whole assembly with a brass one. Brass does much better with water, so you won’t have to worry about this happening again.
Finally, the end of that plug itself could be broken. Most of the time, this means that you need to replace the whole pop-up plug assembly. Do yourself a favor and get a brass one, for the reasons mentioned above.
My Sink Won’t Drain
Most people know that, when their kitchen sink won’t drain, the first step is to take apart the p-trap, clean it, and maybe clean out as much pipe as you can. When that doesn’t work, though, what can you do next?
If your sink has two sides and only one won’t drain, try plunging the stopped up side while holding a plug or cover down on the other side. This should move the clog, and covering the other side means that you won’t get splashed or sprayed in the process.
Plunging may not work, depending on the size and location of your clog. Before you go any farther, remove the water from the sink with a bucket and sponge, or with a wet vac. You will also want to lay down cloths under the sink, because the next part can get messy.
When your sink is prepared, get a bucket ready. Then, find your p-trap and remove it. Slip joint pliers are an easy way to do this. Put your bucket under the p-trap, because water may come pouring out. If water does NOT come pouring out the top side, that is good news.
Next, look for the tee fitting, which connects the two sides of your sink together. Remove this, and look inside. Many ties, this plastic fitting has a baffle inside of it. This can create a blockage if someone tried to put too much waste down the disposal at once. You can usually tap the blockage out, or use a screwdriver to remove it. If you remove a blockage, put the sink back together and test the drain to see if this was the problem.
If there’s not a blockage or this doesn’t solve the problem, remove the p-trap again. Run a ¼” or a ½” cable snake into your pipe. Feed it slowly, so it is less likely to get stuck. You should feel when it hits a blockage. Move it back and forth and in and out slowly, so the cable doesn’t bind. You may feel the blockage free itself, or you may be able to latch onto it and pull it out with the cable.
Whether you know if the blockage is free or not, don’t use a snake for more than 10-12 feet, or it may get stuck in your drain. Even if you didn’t feel anything move, put your sink back together after you get the snake out and try it again. You could have dislodged a clog without knowing it, and your sink may be as good as new.
If you can’t get your sink to drain by this point, it’s time to call a plumber in Sarasota. At Wimpy’s Plumbing, we’d be happy to come out and figure out what’s going wrong with your sink. Call us at (941) 322-1911 or schedule an appointment online.
My Sink Leaks
If your sink is leaking, you may not notice until you check the cabinet underneath it for something. When you find out everything is wet, you’ll know you have a problem.
In a bathroom sink, the problem is usually with one of the joints between the pipes. Clean up the water in the sink and put down some cloths to soak up any more leaking. Then, turn on the water and use a flashlight to help you figure out where the leaks are coming from. If you can see them and you feel confident doing some basic plumbing work, head to the hardware store to get what you need to fix the problem. Otherwise, you can always call a plumber to do it for you.
With a kitchen sink, the problem can be a little more complicated. It may still be that a joint is leaking, but it may also be a problem with your garbage disposal. No matter what the problem is, the first steps are the same. Dry everything off, turn on the water, and try to figure out where the leak is coming from.
Your garbage disposal is usually held in place by a mounting bracket, which needs to be installed tightly to keep the system from leaking. If it seems loose, tighten it. Sometimes, an installer will forget to use plumber’s putty on the bottom or the disposal’s strainer, or the putty used will need to be replaced. If the leak is coming from that area, try removing it and replacing the putty.
If your dishwasher discharge feeds into your disposal, check to see that this line is intact. Occasionally, it can experience corrosion or cracks. If this is your problem, your best bet is to replace the line entirely.
The seal on the inside of the disposal can also leak, causing water to come out of the bottom of the unit. This usually happens if the disposal is old or if someone got a corrosive cleaner inside of it. Unfortunately, if this is the problem, you will have to replace the entire disposal.
If you have to get a new disposal, make sure it has at least a ¾ horsepower motor that reverses with every use. A unit with stainless steel shredding will also last longer than any other kind.
Finally, if your pipe joints are intact and your disposal is working, check your p-trap. This can corrode and cause leaks under your sink, too. If you need to replace this, be sure to replace the rubber washers with new ones, too. This will give you even more protection against leaks.
If you try all of these ideas and you still have a leak, give us a call. Wimpy’s plumbers are leak experts, and we’re always happy to solve your sink puzzles for you. Schedule an appointment by calling (941) 322-1911 or do it online, and we’ll see you soon.