How to Fix a Leaking Sink

Posted by John on September 10th, 2012

So, last week as you may recall, we added a reverse osmosis system (ROS) to our kitchen sink.  How do we like it so far?  We love it.  The water tastes great and we don’t have anymore plastic water bottles collecting dust all over the house.  Wasn’t terribly difficult either, although there were a few tricky steps, like drilling through the stainless steel sink and adding a section of pipe for the drain.

Now, I’m generally a cautious guy.  Whenever I mess with plumbing, I usually keep an eye on it for a little while to make sure it doesn’t leak.  With the water supply lines, you usually don’t need to do that.  They are pressurized and they’ll either leak immediately when the water is turned on or not at all.  They CAN have a slow drip, but even those usually materialize sooner than later.IMG_4509-1024x682


The drain pipes on the other hand, can take a while.  They aren’t under any pressure and leaks can be painfully slow to develop.  The photo above is our kitchen sink the day after I installed the ROS.  See that paper towel and the water pail?  Yep.  We sprung a leak.  The entire left side under our sink had a nice puddle of water in it.  The culprit?  The right side p-trap.  What’s weird about that?  I modified the left side p-trap in our ROS install and didn’t even touch the right one.  Apparently, I must have bumped it or something when I was messing around with the left side.

How to Fix a Leaking Sink

After a close inspection, I was able to feel a lot of water around the topmost p-trap fitting.  So, the first thing I did to remedy this whole situation was to just put some muscle into that fitting and crank it down tight to see if that helped.  Since this is a slow drip, I put a dry piece of paper towel under the p-trap and left it alone for a couple minutes.  After a little while, I noticed the paper towel had some wet spots.  Crap.IMG_4510-1024x682


The only real option I have at this point is to replace the p-trap and the maybe the tall pipe that has the dishwasher port on it.  They readily sell these at home supply stores and they’re very inexpensive.  I paid under $10 for both of these parts.

I started the fix by removing the old p-trap.  It comes out very easy.  You just loosen the two nuts that hold it in place.  They’re almost always hand tight.  You don’t really need to use a wrench for any of this.IMG_4511-1024x682


That long pipe came out next.  Same deal as the p-trap.  Once it was out, I laid it next to the new one and marked the new one so it had the same length.  To cut it, I just used a pair of tubing cutters, but you can also use a hack saw.IMG_4512-1024x682


With the straight pipe cut to the correct length, it gets installed the same way the old one came out.IMG_4513-1024x682


With the straight pipe in place, the new p-trap is up next.  Very simply installation.IMG_4514-1024x682


So our finished photo looks identical to our first photo.  Only difference is this one doesn’t leak.  To be sure we corrected the problem, I left another piece of paper towel underneath the sink.  This time, I left it under there for a couple days.  No drips!

What was wrong with the old one?  Hard to tell.  It’s possible it got bumped and then maybe messed up one of the seals.  Who knows?  I’m not losing sleep over it.

So, that wasn’t very exciting, but hopefully you learned something about your sink!!  Fix ay problems at your place lately?

Posted in Fixes,Kitchen,Plumbing. Tagged in ,, , , ,

  • Kristen

    Gah – how annoying! Glad it was an easy fix!

  • lisaallen482

    Good post. Hope I don't have to refer to it in the near future. I do have a leaky faucet that's driving me crazy. Thank goodness for Google.

  • I hate boring stuff like this. Worst part of housework. We have to replace the hoses on our washing machine this weekend, yippee! 😉

    • John_OHFScratch

      You\’re right. It\’s terribly boring stuff, but you gotta do what ya gotta do. Then you gotta post on what you just did.

  • It’s nice to come across a blog that deals with the everyday things as we are not all in need of style features and elaborate contemporary designs. This blog deals with the DIY that the vast majority of us do and simple to understand, ideal for us dumb-dumbs that can’t even do the basics.

    When it comes to plumbing, I have a bad record so much so that I rarely attempt anything myself due to a few mishaps in the past. Since you have explained it in simple terms, it is a good confidence builder for an unconfident DIY person like me.

    I do resent having to call out a professional, as it’s hard to part with so much cash for what is sometimes a small job. Them call out fees set you back grossly.

    I don’t have need to do this job at the moment but it did show me I need not be overawed by such tasks and looking at your other posts, it seems they are a great guide for the likes of me.

    Keep up doing and showing us the simple everyday things that affect us all and I’m hoping that your site will help me save cash in the future.

    • John_OHFScratch

      Thanks for the kind words James! There are a lot of home skills that DIYers need to maintain and improve their home. Some are flashy and fun the rest are boring and unpleasant. We try to cover all of it. Btw, I was in Copenhagen in June. Great town and a beautiful country.