How to Fix a Leak Under the Sink

Javi Calderon

How to Fix a Leak Under the Sink

Fixing a leak under the sink is typically a do-it-yourself operation. Though the mess left by the leak might lead you to believe the job will be complicated, it is actually quite simple and straight forward.

  1. The first step is simply to remove anything you have stored under the sink. Anything perishable or ruined, throw away. Anything you intend to keep, clean thoroughly and put aside for now.

  1. The next step is to identify the location of the leak. Close the drain and fill the sink basin with water. Then, look at the pipes underneath to identify where the leak is coming from. Once you have identified the leak, drain the sink and shut off your water supply.

  1. Using channel-type pliers, tighten the slip nuts (collar connecting two pipes) along the drain pipes. Turn on the water, and fill the sink again to see if your problem is solved. If not, turn off the water again.

  1. If the leak is coming from the drain, try replacing the strainer gaskets and washers. To do this, you will have to remove the final pipe, directly bellow the drain. This piece is known as the tailpipe. Do so by undoing the slip nuts that hold it in place.

  1. Then, you will be able to remove the strainer by unscrewing the locknut (the hexagonal collar that holds the drain under the sink) with a spud wrench. You will then be able to pull the strainer through the drain and into the sink.

  1. The leak is probably an indicator that either one of the washers, or the plumbers’ putty that hold the strainer in place needs to be replaced. Simply clean off the old plumber’s putty that connects the strainer to the drain opening and replace it with a healthy amount of new putty. Then, replace the washer at the top of the tailpipe and put the piece back in place.

  1. As you put your sink back together, thoroughly clean each individual piece and remove any residue from the inside of the pipes.

  1. As you reconnect your drain and strainer, make sure to tighten every junction as snuggly as possible. Follow the plumber’s putty directions as to how long you should wait before running water through the sink. Run the water to test your work, if the leak is gone, your problem is solved! If the leak persists, unfortunately you may have to call a contractor  or a plumber, as your problem is probably a more serious one.



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