5 Common Under-Sink Plumbing Issues and How to Fix Them

Our Expert Tips

If you have a problem with your bathroom or kitchen sink, it could have many different sources. Unless you can access a source of the clog, such as in the pipes connected to the drain, you might need expert help. Pride Services has a stellar reputation as premier plumbing technicians in Long Beach, NY.

This article is a guide to the potential problems you might have with your under-sink plumbing and what to do about them. If you find a problem that you can’t easily solve by yourself, don’t risk making the problem worse. Call Pride Services for help.

Problem #1: Leaky Pipes

One of the most common problems we find at Pride Services is a leak in the under-sink pipes. Leaks usually occur because of corrosion and obstruction that stresses the pipe surface. Leaks often occur at the joints between pipes. The joints are often the weakest part of the pipe, especially if problems occurred when the plumber first installed them.

The threads that allow pipes to screw into one another can become corroded or stripped so that they do not fit together well, allowing water to seep through. Changes in temperature over the years, perhaps due to inadequate climate control, cause the metal in pipes to expand and contract.

Your plumber can fix the leak by identifying the source and replacing the section of pipe that has sprung a leak. The plumber might install compression fittings at connection sites. Compression fittings use a metal ring called a ferrule that fits between the pipe and the connecting pieces. It presses against the pipe, which prevents water from leaking out between the threads of the screw.

Problem #2: Sinks that Take Forever to Drain or Don’t Drain At All

Many sinks have partial clogs made of hair, grease, and other debris that slow the passage of water through the pipe, like a filter or a sieve. Water can pass through the obstruction, but at a slow drip or greatly reduced flow rate. If you try to use your sink for anything that requires a reasonable amount of water, it will quickly overflow, damaging your floor and rugs.

Avoid Harsh Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners can remove partial clogs by dissolving the materials within them and letting the remnants wash away into the sewer system. However, they can start to dissolve the pipes themselves. When this happens, corrosion can lead to leaks. At worst, holes develop in the pipes. Entire sections of pipe can fall off.

Check the Pop-up

Some clogs occur in the pop-up in the drain that allows you to close the drain when you want to fill the sink. The pop-up is a bottleneck for water flow and can clog easily.

You can tell if only the pop-up has a clog by letting water flow through the overflow drain. The overflow drain is usually a hole in the sink basin near the top. If the sink water level stops rising at the overflow level, fixing the pop-up should fix the leak.

Check the Trap

If fixing the pop-up doesn’t work, check the trap. The trap is a curved section of pipe underneath the sink that prevents air and sewer gas from rising into your bathroom. Because of its curved shape, it can sometimes trap debris as well. Emptying the trap and removing any clogs could restore your water flow.

Plunge or Snake Your Under Sink Plumbing

Both plungers and snakes work by mechanically forcing clogs out of your pipes. Plunging a sink or toilet can release waste particles into the air, so be sure to take safety precautions and clean properly when plunging a clogged drain.

To plunge your sink, be sure you have a plunger that is the right size for your drain and meant for sink drains and not toilets. Press down on the plunger to get a good seal, push down on the plunger and pull up, maintaining that seal. The vacuum pulling on the water in the pipe should dislodge the obstruction.

The snake works its way through the pipes. Once you insert the snake, rotate the auger to dislodge obstructions.

Call a professional plumber if plunging and snaking the pipe does not remove the obstruction. A qualified and well-stocked plumber will have diagnostic tools to identify the source and remove it without harming the pipe.

Problem #3: Corrosion

As mentioned above, harsh drain cleaners damage pipes. Other sources of pipe corrosion include:

  • water flowing through the pipes at too high a speed
  • acidity in water or other materials flushed down the sink
  • minerals like the ones found in hard water
  • metals dissolved in water

Sometimes you will be able to see corrosion on the pipes, but it affects pipe elements like threads on the connectors, which you might not be able to see easily. Catching it before it has the chance to cause a leak saves you on emergency repairs.

An experienced plumber will be able to identify signs and risk factors of corrosion. Using quality pipes that resist corrosion, professional plumbers can fix the problem and make it less likely to occur in the future. 

Problem #4: A Stuck Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals must accommodate a variety of food items. Objects like silverware get caught in them frequently. It is not surprising that they can break down over time and cause damage to the under-sink plumbing system.

If you have a clogged sink that you think is due to a clog in the garbage disposal, you could try a home remedy. Add baking soda and vinegar to your garbage disposal. Give them a chance to fizz and flush the disposal with water.

You might also need a garbage disposal repair if you notice strange noises or vibrations when it is running. Using a broken garbage disposal increases the chance of future clogs and pipe damage.

Problem #5: Frozen Pipes

If your house has consistent heating, you might be able to prevent damage to your pipes inside the house. However, disruptions to heating can cause interior pipes to freeze.

Frozen pipes cause problems in several ways. When water turns to ice and expands, it can push outward on the pipe, causing it to deform, leak, or burst. Cold can cause clogs of damp hair to freeze as well. Any clog material can become more rigid and obstruct the flow of water.

Lastly, ice causes the pipe to contract. If this creates a small gap between the threads that connect the pipes, water might seep between them and freeze, causing damage to pipes and valves.

Pipes connect to the outside world, so the pipe metal and any water within them can act as heat sinks. They draw heat away and can lead them to freeze. Disconnect any hoses and blow out any sprinkler systems you have before winter.

For Professional Plumbing You Can Trust, Choose Pride Services

A problem with your under-sink plumbing doesn’t have to be an emergency or a disaster. Acting quickly to have a professional inspect your pipes is the best way to safeguard your family’s health, protect your investment in your home, and let you enjoy living and cooking at home again.

Don’t wait for plumbing problems to worsen in your bathroom or kitchen.  Learn more about the causes of main sewer line clogs and trust us to repair and maintain your under-sink plumbing. Call Pride Services at 516-528-3432 to schedule a plumbing service call today.

Published: May 09, 2022

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