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What to do when your kitchen sink's leaking

Read on to discover how to fix a leak under the sink in your kitchen with our simple guide.


By Cleanipedia Team

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Key steps

  • Clear out under the sink.
  • Identify the leak.
  • For a pressurised water hose leak turn the water off.
  • Tighten fittings.
  • For a drain line leak, tighten connections and unblock your sink.
  • For seal leaks, add new plumber’s putty.
  • Call a plumber if DIY fixes don’t work.

A leak under the sink needs attention as soon as possible but sometimes it's difficult to tell where the leak is coming from or how to fix it. Here you can find a step-by-step process for how to identify the source of a leak, which sorts of leaks are easy to fix yourself, and when it's time to call in a plumber instead.

You might think water doesn't leave stains behind, but it can – and there's a trick to removing them. Check out this article on cleaning up water stains after the leak is fixed.

How to fix a leak under the sink in your kitchen: a step-by-step guide

When you discover that you have a sink leaking it is important to get it sorted quickly before it causes too much damage. Whilst some situations require a plumber, there are some leaks which you can easily fix at home. Simply follow the guides below.  

If your kitchen sink is leaking underneath, you first need to identify what is causing the leak. There are a few steps for you to follow to do so:

  1. Clear out under the sink. We all keep a variety of items under our sinks, and it is important to make sure that it is empty so you can not only see the problem, but get access to fix it.
  2. If you have a constant spray, it is likely to be a pressurised water hose leak. This is likely to create a rather large mess due to its constant flow.
  3. If you turn your tap on and you have a leak as the water drains away, it is likely to be a leak in the drain line.
  4. If it is neither of the two above issues, it could be a faulty seal or drain gasket. The best way to check this is by filling the sink with water before allowing it to drain away.
  5. If you are still dealing with a leak that does not seem to be identifiable, it is time to call a plumber. They will be able to tell you where the leak is and what needs to be done to fix it.  

Next, it is time to fix the leak! Here are our top tips for fixing each of the three main leak types we have discussed above. For a pressurised water hose leak:

  1. Turn off the water. This leak is in the pipe which carries water to your tap, and so will continue to spray water for as long as the water is on!
  2. The main cause of these leaks are the fittings around shut of valves, so it should be a simple fix by tightening these up.
  3. Use a wrench the hold the valve.
  4. Tighten the compression nut with your hand.
  5. If it is still leaking when you turn the water back on, it could be the connection between the pipe and faucet.
  6. Use adjustable pliers to tighten this up.
  7. If these two methods don’t work, call a plumber.
  Found a leak in the drain line? Follow these steps:
  1. There are three reasons you could have a leak in the drain line: a blocked drain, a loose connection or corrosion.
  2. Firstly, use a wrench to make sure all the compression nuts and connections are fully tightened.
  3. Next, use this guide to make sure you unblock the sink.
  4. If you still have a leak, it is likely caused by corrosion. This means that part of the pipework beneath your sink will need replacing.
  5. It’s time to call the plumber!  

If your sink is leaking from a drain gasket, these steps will help you fix it:

  1. This is one of the easiest problems to fix, with some plumber’s putty!
  2. Unscrew the sink drain.
  3. Clean out old putty which may have previously sealed the gasket.
  4. Add a fresh layer.
  5. Screw the drain back together.
  6. Alternatively, if you can’t get hold of plumber’s putty try silicone caulk.
  7. If these steps don’t fix the leak, call a plumber.

With this simple step-by-step guide, you now know how to stop a kitchen sink leaking, and when it is time to call in the professionals.

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Originally published