Some kitchen sink leaks are obvious, while others are hard to find and will drive you crazy as you try to hunt them down. Small leaks located underneath your sink can be some of the hardest to find, but they can still cause a lot of damage. Here are four common causes of leaks under and around your kitchen sink.
- Disposal Damage or Loose Connection
The kitchen sink disposal offers several potential points of failure where seals can fail and come loose. The first one is the flange where the top of the disposal connects to the inside of your sink. The bottom of the unit, where it connects to the main drain, is another connection that can come loose. And if the unit connects to the dishwasher drain, the unit can leak there too.
These connections can come unsealed over time or they can start out loose because of a poor installation job. If something physically bumps the unit hard enough, this can compromise the seals. Finally, the disposal can begin to leak if it has damage, such as a crack in the shell of the unit.
- Dishwasher Drain Problems
Dishwasher drains are required to have an air gap. If yours has an air gap device by the sink, you may be puzzled to see water squirt out of it. This can occur when there’s a problem with the drain line, such as a clog or kink. Another possibility is that a debris buildup has caused a blockage inside the air gap device itself.
- Faucet Component Malfunctions
One of the simplest, easiest, and most frequently needed faucet repairs is replacing the O-ring seal. This is made of plastic so it commonly fails much faster than the metal components of the sink. Other components that can fail and cause leaks include:
- The cartridge
- Other seals and gaskets
The handheld sprayer, though not technically a part of the faucet, also has similar seals and rings that can fail and cause leaks.
- Loose Pipe or Drain Connection
A quick glance under your sink will show several plumbing connections, which are more vulnerable to leaks than the rest of the piping. These include:
- The connections on either side of the P-trap
- The connections where supply lines emerge from the shutoff valves
- The shutoff valves themselves
- The connection between the sink and the drainpipe
- Other pipe joints and connections
If you have a very small leak, pinpointing exactly which one of these connections is responsible can be difficult. Don’t assume the problem has resolved itself just because you don’t see a stream of water emerging. Even a drip too slow to observe can encourage rot and mold under your sink.
These are some of the common reasons for a kitchen sink to leak. But if these causes aren’t the obvious culprit of your water damage, don’t despair. This is by no means a comprehensive list of possible leaks. The kitchen sink rim, the drainpipes themselves, and other components of the setup can fail and cause leakage as well.