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Five Common Kitchen Plumbing Problems and Solutions

By Karin Mangan
Five Common Kitchen Plumbing Problems and Solutions

Kitchens have a lot of potential plumbing problems: faucets, hot and cold-water supplies, waste pipes from the sink, garbage disposer, dishwasher hookups, or icemaker. Sometimes you really need to call a plumber when you have kitchen plumbing problems. Other times, you may be able to fix the problem yourself.

Simple Solutions to Five Common Kitchen Plumbing Problems

  • Problems with faucets are usually solved by disassembling the faucet or part of it and replacing parts such as seals or washers. If you have the faucet installed as part of a new kitchen, for example, keep the instruction manual so that you can see what kind of faucet it is and how to disassemble it. You can get a faucet repair kit from most hardware stores or home centers.
  • If water is not flowing properly through your faucet, the problem is likely to be with the aerator, which is the device that mixes air and water. The aerator can become blocked with a build-up of minerals from the water. You can unscrew the aerator and clean it with a brush or toothpick, or replace it.
  • Garbage disposal problems are usually quite simple. If it cannot be easily fixed, you may be better off getting a new unit. The most likely cause of a garbage disposal problem is something in the unit that shouldn't be there. Metal, rubber, corn husks, bones, glass--all can stop the garbage disposal from functioning. Never put your hand in. Use pliers or tongs to pull the object out. If a build-up of debris or sludge is causing a problem, fill the garbage disposal with ice cubes and a cup of rock salt then run it for about five seconds. Adding warm water and lemon should get rid of any bad odors. If the garbage disposal has an electrical problem, call an electrician.
  • A noisy dishwasher could have a faulty part. To be sure it isn't something simpler, check that you are loading the dishes in accordance with the manual's instructions, check for any hard debris such as bones or silverware loose inside the machine, and make sure the dishwasher is sitting level. Adjust its feet if necessary. If the noise is a thumping or chattering sound during the filling cycle, it could be that the inlet valve needs to be replaced. This is a job for an appliance repairperson.
  • If your dishwasher is leaking, remove the lower front panel and check the hoses to see if one is loose or leaky. Other possible causes include using too much detergent or loading the dishes incorrectly. Check that the dishwasher is sitting level and that the door fits tightly. If the problem persists, it could be a defective pump seal and you might want to call an appliance repairperson.

Just because you aren't a plumbing expert, don't assume that you won't be able to fix your own kitchen plumbing problems--some are simpler than you might think.

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