You have to perform kitchen plumbing maintenance on schedule to get the most life from your kitchen, especially the most expensive appliances. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay significantly more for ordinary repairs that would have been far less expensive to pay upfront. What you do now to maintain your pipes, drains, and appliances can save you money down the line if you do it right.
But it only works well enough if you know the most common kitchen plumbing maintenance problems and where to turn for help when you don’t have the expertise to handle everything yourself.
Why do you need to keep up with kitchen plumbing maintenance?
So, the question is this: what causes kitchens to break down over time in the first place? Honestly, it boils down to the ordinary wear and tear of owning and living inside of a home for five years or more. Among other maintenance problems, some of the most common items that tend to break down in the kitchen include:
- Appliance-related plumbing problems
- Clogged sinks and drains
- Broken garbage disposals
- Leaking pipes under the sink
- Dripping faucets
- Low water pressure
- Worn out refrigerator water lines
- Clogged dishwasher lines
Now, let’s go over each one in more detail, so you know what to look for if you think you need repairs but don’t know where to start.
Appliance-related plumbing problems
Initially, you might assume that you’re dealing with a common plumbing problem, but it might be an appliance-related problem, which can be very hard to diagnose on your own. For instance, there’s no way to tell whether or not the condenser coil in your refrigerator needs cleaning unless you check it regularly – or when the fridge stops getting cold altogether.
Another appliance-related plumbing problem is when an improperly installed appliance begins to cause damage in strange and unexpected ways. You might have recently installed a brand new dishwasher, yet whenever you actually run it, water starts to back up from the drain even though everything appears connected well. It’s problems like this that you have to watch out for because new appliances might look great, but when they break, the issue can be more expensive as well as harder to diagnose what the actual cause might be.
Clogged sinks and drains
Appliance-related problems might be the most troublesome; however, most homeowners have to deal with clogged, slow, or blocked sinks more often. The problem could be a clogged pipe deeper into the plumbing, or it might be something like a broken garbage disposal that isn’t breaking down food enough to prevent the sink from stinking and backing up.
But one of the most egregious mistakes to make when owning a home is to pour hot grease and oil down the sink to dispose of them. You may not know that as soon as hot grease comes into contact with cool water and piping, it immediately starts to form a sticky, char-like substance that hardens and completely clogs a pipe over time if you repeatedly dispose of kitchen grease this way. Without a doubt, the problem is even more frustrating if the previous homeowner is the one who clogged the pipe, not you and your family.
Broken garbage disposals
Moving along our kitchen plumbing maintenance checklist, we come to broken garbage disposals, another pretty common problem for homeowners. The truth is that most of the time, garbage disposals simply break down over time because the mechanical parts inside burnout, break, or need replacing. But if the problem is too bad, you have no choice but to replace the entire garbage disposal; the catch is that it’s not necessarily an easy job if you have no clue how the garbage disposal needs to connect to the rest of the plumbing.
Sometimes, the garbage disposal may sound like it’s malfunctioning, but really there’s a problem with the filter inside of it. On the flip side, a faulty garbage disposal can smell terrible like rotting food after using it. That’s a pretty easy fix, but if it smells like sewage, you could have a serious problem further down the drain line, which means it’s an entirely different (expensive) repair job. In this case, most homeowners call an expert rather than try to fix both problems at one time.
Related: Water Softener or Water Filter: Which Do I Need?
Leaking pipes under the sink
You’d think that finding a leaking pipe under the sink would be easy, yet many homeowners have problems identifying where the leak is occurring. Is the problem faulty plumbing down the line, or is the pipe creating so much condensation that the pipe only looks like it’s leaking when it actually isn’t? It’s not good enough to touch the pipe and see whether or not it feels cool to the touch.
Besides, kitchen pipes can start leaking at any place, especially if the plumbing in the home is older and has been poorly maintained since the house was initially occupied. New homes don’t have to worry about leaking pipes because, most often, all you might need to do is replace a cracked PVC pipe somewhere, which can cost less than $20 if you know how to do it yourself. But if you can’t find the source of the leak after inspection, it’s always best to ask an expert rather than keep trying to fix something that isn’t failing.
Dripping faucets are arguably the most annoying kitchen plumbing problem you can have. The good news is that it’s absolutely the easiest to fix. The problem could be a clogged aerator at the tip of the spout, and replacement parts are relatively inexpensive compared to other kitchen faucet supplies.
So, what happens when you replace something, and the faucet keeps dripping 24 hours a day? Really, that’s when you should contact an expert because the problem could be with the faucet’s valves and seals. Sometimes, you don’t have to replace the entire faucet if the faucet simply needs resetting. Once again, the issue of plumbing in an older home rears its head because ordinary wear-and-tear is the most likely cause of dripping faucets. Thankfully, they’re relatively easy to repair, provided you buy the correct replacement parts.
Low water pressure
Along those lines, you might be experiencing low water pressure in your kitchen but not in any other part of the home. In this case, the problem could still be a malfunctioning aerator at the tip of the spout. If you live in a rural area with lower water pressure than usual, an adequately installed aerator can help with water flow. When the aerators break, the water pressure in the spout returns to normal.
On the other hand, if you live in an area that never has low water pressure, the problem could be a clogged aerator and not a broken aerator. Despite the best efforts of a municipal water supply company, a small amount of grit in minerals will still make it into the public water system. Your faucet’s aerator is what captures the tiny grains that build up and prevents them from flowing out, so eventually, any aerator’s screen will clog over time.
Worn out refrigerator water lines
Nowadays, the best refrigerators on the market come with digital displays and all sorts of other features that these appliances didn’t have only a few years ago. Still, ice makers have been around for quite some time, so it’s a fact that they’ll need maintenance as well. As long as the problem is with the refrigerator’s water line, it should be an easy fix, depending on the model and when the previous homeowner initially installed the fridge.
You can usually get by replacing the water filter if the ice maker lines keep clogging, but that’s not always the case. As mentioned above, new refrigerators come with updated technology, so the problem may not be mechanical at all but with the electronics and digital display. In this case, you’d be wasting your time but replacing refrigerator water lines that have no clogs.
Related: How to Extend the Lives of Your Appliances
Clogged dishwasher lines
Lastly, we come to clogged dishwasher lines, which most homeowners can’t repair on their own unless they have specific experience with kitchen plumbing and expensive appliances. You might not know that your dishwasher lines and your sink drain into the same place, so if one side clogs, you might need to repair the other as well. Unfortunately, a clogged dishwasher line can signify a severe problem deeper into the home’s plumbing.
Remember how we mentioned how bad it is to pour grease down a kitchen sink? Not only can oil clog sinks and garbage disposals, but it can also clog the drains that connect to the dishwasher lines. Not every kitchen has this type of design, yet it’s something that you need to account for if you’re not sure, especially if you live in an older home.
Sometimes you can get by running the dishwasher with a sanitizing agent; however, you shouldn’t count on something like that unclogging dishwasher lines. And if you let the problem go for too long, you could damage the dishwasher itself since dirty dishwater will back up into the machine.
Overall, those are the most common reasons you would need to call a professional for kitchen plumbing maintenance, but how much does it usually cost? Here’s a quick look at what the damage might be if you go with an independent contractor.
How much does it cost to fix kitchen plumbing with an independent contractor?
At best, you can expect to pay a plumber anywhere between $40 per hour for labor all the way up to $200 per hour, depending on the extent of the damage and business volume. That’s the bottom line about how expensive it is to fix kitchen plumbing once the problem gets too bad to repair on your own.
Not only that, but you have to take into account the cost of materials, too. Most independent contractors will charge a premium for materials rather than give you wholesale prices. Some may not even be able to offer wholesale prices at all if it’s a one-person operation.
Either way, the cost to fix an ordinary leak can be anywhere between $150 to about $700. It all depends on the unique circumstances of the job, and that’s why most homeowners choose to work with a company that can provide plumbing maintenance services on demand.
Find preventative maintenance services near you
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for shoddy, haphazard repairs when you work with our team of experts. Instead, we’ll assign you a dedicated home manager to be your go-to point of contact when you need help with kitchen plumbing.
Aside from on-call handyman services, we can also fix household items and appliances, such as:
- Washers and dryers
Not only that, but when you sign up for services, you’ll also get a semi-annual, 30-point preventative maintenance service included with your membership.
We’ll confirm that everything works as it should during that inspection, including oven lights and burners. If you need something as simple as a replacement bulb, we’ll provide the materials at the wholesale price rather than charge a premium. And to round out the preventative maintenance, we’ll even test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, which many homeowners overlook.
At PreFix, we eliminate all of the hassles that usually come along with homeownership, so you can finally enjoy what you’ve always wanted – a beautiful home that will look fantastic for years to come. Contact us for more information about our services.