By Amy DeYoung
Updated Jan 11, 2023
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for maintaining your home and making necessary repairs. Unfortunately, plumbing repairs can be expensive, with an average bill of $400. Plumbing repairs are also not something you can afford to put off because, without repairs, pipes can burst, water damage can occur, and toxic chemicals can emanate from your plumbing system.
However, this isn’t to say that homeowners can’t take on some easy DIY plumbing repairs to save money and fix a problem on the spot.
A clogged kitchen sink is one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. It’s happened to the best of us, even when we’re careful about what we put down the garbage disposal.
Many of us turn to chemical clog removers when the sink clogs. However, these chemicals are typically regarded as unsafe and may damage your pipes, porcelain fixtures, and seals. They’re also dangerous for humans and pets, so taking a different approach is better for your hardware and health.
Fortunately, you can fix most clogged sinks by cleaning out the sink trap. The sink trap is the J, P, or S-shaped pipe that connects two pipes beneath the sink basin. Typically, materials and clogs get stuck in this spot, so if you have a clogged sink or drop a valuable item, like a ring, down the sink, this is likely where it’s lodged.
Many small leaks are easy to fix and require only a few plumbing tools and hardware from your local hardware store.
Here are some of the most common leaks and how to address them:
When the plumber first installed your sink, they applied caulk around the edges to prevent water from seeping between the countertop and sink basin. However, the caulk will crumble or deteriorate over time, allowing water to slip through and cause water damage to stored items or mold growth.
Look for a tube of 100% silicone caulking that is transparent or matches the color of your sink or countertop. Then, scrape away the old caulk with a plastic putty knife. Never use a metal knife, as this may scratch the countertop or sink.
Next, wipe the seam between the countertop and sink with a clean cloth dampened with denatured alcohol to remove soap scum or grime. Let the sink and countertop dry entirely.
Apply a consistent, tiny bead of caulk around the sink to create a uniform look. We recommend approximately a one-eighth-inch diameter of caulking for this DIY project. If the caulk creases, wet your finger and gently run it along the caulk bead to make a smooth grove. Reference the tube of caulk for approximate drying times and allow it to dry completely before using the sink.
Nothing is more frustrating than turning on the shower or a faucet and having a weak trickle of hot water coming out. You can address most water flow issues with a bit of research and the following steps:
DIYers can take on many small plumbing projects with some research and recommendations from a home improvement store. However, it’s wise not to hesitate to call for professional plumbing work if you suspect a bigger issue. If you have a home warranty, check if it covers professional plumbing to save on this expense.
Other Maintenance Resources