When plumbing problems arise, most people tend to feel a sense of helpless panic. If the issue lies in the kitchen, you may find yourself wondering if your dishwasher or disposal will have to be replaced. Before you resign yourself to replacing expensive appliances or enduring costly repairs, take a few small measures to see if the problem is less serious than it seems. The Roto-Rooter experts are always happy to help you, but it can get pricey to call a plumber for every minor leak. Follow these tips, and save the phone number of your local plumber for the more dire situations.
Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Never confuse a garbage disposal with a garbage can. Treating it with the care it deserves will prolong its life and maintain its function. Fibrous food, such as celery or vegetable peels, or items that are hard to grind, like nuts, should not be introduced to your disposal. Chicken skins and banana peels can wrap themselves around the blades, creating a clog and preventing the disposal from working the way it should. Remember to run water for fifteen seconds before and after flipping the switch, flushing the drain and suspending bits and debris as they float down the pipes. If you notice an odor coming from your kitchen sink’s drain, try running a handful of ice cubes through the disposal. This scours and sharpens the blade; pouring a small amount of dishwashing soap with them enhances the result and lends a fresh scent.
Examine the Leak
Get under your sink and take a look at the leak. The location will determine the kind of repair required, and will tell you if you can handle it on your own. If the leak is around the base of the spout, the culprit is likely a worn out O-ring. This can easily be replaced by drawing up on the spout and worming it free. The O-ring might take some grit to release, since it is liable to be wedged into place. If the leak looks like something beyond your ability to repair, call a professional before you take anything apart. You don’t want to pay them to fix your mistakes before they can begin to fix the leak.
Turn off the Water
Without confusing water pipes with gas lines, you will need to turn off the water supply. Generally there are 2 valves under the kitchen sink, supplying hot and cold water through separate controls. If there is nothing under the sink, the main supply to your home will need to be shut off. This step is critical for you or your plumber, saving you from a messy cleanup project following the repair.
Make Repairs Timely
To prevent the wood under your kitchen sink from warping, do not allow it to be exposed to water for a long period of time. Fix any leaks immediately. This will also avoid mold and mildew from developing, which present a foul odor as well as health hazards.
Know When to Bring in Backup
It may be difficult to admit when your plumbing has you beaten, but it is important to recognize when your skills and resources are inadequate to fix your problem. Call your Roto-Rooter experts if you find yourself fixing the same mess repeatedly, or if a few initial attempts do not alleviate the problem.