Being able to maintain your kitchen sink may seem like a daunting task that only a pro should worry about. However, it’s much easier to do repairs on the plumbing under kitchen sinks than you may realize. Here are a few handy how to’s so you can keep your kitchen sink in working order without having to call a plumber each time you need a repair.

How to Install a Kitchen Sink Drain

Supplies Needed:

  • Tape measure
  • Kitchen drain trap kit
  • Channel-type pliers
  • PVC tubing cutter
  • Marker
  1. Before buying a new kitchen sink or completely replacing kitchen sink plumbing, check the height of the trap arm of the old sink, measuring from the floor, or base of the cabinet to the center of the trap arm. If the drain opening isn’t low enough for your new sink, you will need to open the wall and lower the position of the sanitary tee connecting the drainpipe to the wall.

  2. The first thing you need to do to install a kitchen sink drain is to install the garbage disposal onto the desired side of the sink. Now install the basket strainer onto the opposite side of the sink basin. If you have a water filter or hot water dispenser, install those now.

  3. Now you will install the tailpiece and continuous waste pipe. Connect the tailpiece on the sink strainer with a slip nut and washer (this is just temporary). Then connect the curved end of the waste pipe to the disposal’s drain outlet with another slip nut and washer (also temporarily). Let the straight end of the pipe go past the tailpiece. While holding the tee fitting up to the waste pipe and tailpiece, mark both pipes where they will need to be cut so they can fit into the tee fitting. Cut the pipes. Now you can reinstall both pieces along with the tee, making sure to leave the connections hand-tight. Secure the slip nuts with your pliers.

  4. To connect the drain trap, assemble the U-shaped trap and J-shaped trap arm temporarily with a slip nut and washer. Gently push the trap bend into the tee fitting on the tailpiece while also sliding the trap arm into the sanitary tee. Adjust as needed to ensure a direct path from the sink to the wall tee. The trap arm should have a slight downward angle toward the wall tee. Mark and cut the trap arm as needed and then tighten all slip nuts with your pliers. Don’t over tighten. Double-check that everything is tight enough, and that the waste pipe and trap arm both slope slightly downward in the direction of the flow of water.

  5. Run water on both sides of the sink basin to check for leaks and tighten any loose connections.

How to Clear a Clogged Drain

  1. If you have a garbage disposal, check to make sure nothing is lodged in there. If there is, grab a plunger, and just as you would with your toilet, dislodge the clog by plunging the sink drain.

  2. If plunging the kitchen sink drain doesn’t work, try cleaning the P-trap.

  3. Another great method for clearing a clogged drain is to use a plumbers’ snake and snake the drain.

  4. Cleaning chemicals are also a great help for a simple clog. If you want to skip the chemicals, use a bit of baking soda and pour white vinegar over it to cause a bubbling reaction that will break up some clogs.

  5. If all else fails, it may be time to call a plumber.

How to Replace a Sink Trap

Supplies Needed:

  • Pipe putty
  • Hand saw
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Bucket
  • Sink trap
  • Lubricant or grease
  1. Place a bucket underneath the sink in case any water is still in the drain trap. Remove your old drain assembly starting from the top down, allowing any standing water to go into the bucket. Hold onto these parts to help size the new drain pieces.

  2. Place the tailpiece washer into the flared end of the tailpiece, then attach it by screwing the slip nut onto the sink strainer.

  3. If your sink has two basins, use a T-fitting to join the tailpieces, attaching the fitting with slip washers and nuts. If you need to, apply lubricant to the slip washer to make it easier to ensure a tight fit.

  4. Now, attach the trap arm to the drain stub-out using a slip washer and nut. Make sure the beveled side of the washer faces the threaded drain stub-out. Cut the trap arm to fit if needed.

  5. Finally, you can attach the trap bend to the trap arm with the slip washers and nuts. Again, the beveled side of the washers should face the trap bend. Using the slip joint pliers, tighten all of the nuts. Be sure to not over tighten the slip nuts, otherwise, they’ll crack.

How to Replace Kitchen Sink Pipes

Supplies Needed:

  • Bucket
  • Adjustable pliers
  • New pipes (PVC)
  • Tape measure
  • Hacksaw
  1. Start by turning off your water valves and placing a bucket under the sink to catch any standing water. Take a picture of the configuration to help with reinstallation and take measurements of the pipes or pull up a kitchen sink plumbing diagram so you can buy the right components and know what size to cut the pipes down to. Now, remove your old pipes by gently grasping each nut with your hand. Pull the traps away from the connections and be sure to tip them upside down so they drain into the bucket. Remove the common tee and disassemble any other pipes. If the drain tailpieces are corroded or too short, remove these too as they can cause leaks.

  2. Screw in your new tailpieces, making sure they’re long enough to extend to the same level as the top of the drainpipe in the wall. If your drainpipe is in the floor, the tailpiece should extend to about 2 feet above the bottom of the cabinet. Use a hacksaw to cut the tailpiece as needed.

  3. Cut all of your new pipes with a hacksaw to match up with the ones you’ve removed. Measure carefully to ensure correct lengths.

  4. Assemble the new pipes with the compression fittings and by tightening the nuts by hand. Now slide each trap up onto its respective tailpiece. Tighten the nut, the swivel it to meet up with the pipe going to the drain. Next, assemble that end of the trap and tighten the nut by hand.

  5. Fill up the sink to check for any leaks, and tighten any leaky connections with your adjustable pliers.

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