The Number 1 Reason Why Kitchen Sink Plugs Fail

The Number 1 Reason Why Kitchen Sink Plugs Fail
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A plug that allows water to escape drain is not much of a plug. The good news is that you can fix most faulty plugs by yourself. 

A kitchen plug that cannot hold water in the sink usually has a faulty washer ring. This rubber ring seals the drain hole of the sink and also keeps the plug securely in place. When the washer malfunctions, the plug can lift too easily or allow water to drain while the plug is still in place.

The problem is annoying. But the fix is easy enough for experts and novices alike. Here is everything you need to know about repairing your kitchen sink plug.

The Reason Why Kitchen Sink Plugs Fail To Work

There are different types of kitchen sink plugs available. Some have a pop-up system where the plug is attached to the sink. Others are removable and look the same as the one you use in your bathtub. Whatever they look like, most kitchen sink plugs use rubber in their design to create a seal strong enough to keep water in the sink. 

When the plug is damaged or old, the rubber washer often fails. When this happens, some plugs lose their grip and sit loosely in the drainage hole. A simple knock of the hand while washing dishes can dislodge it. But the most annoying issue happens when the seal is so ineffective that water simply drains away even though the plug is still in place.

How To Deal With A Rubber Plug

A common plug that people use in the home is made entirely of rubber. This type is versatile enough to be used in kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, or the bathtub. Because it consists entirely out of rubber, you do not have to worry about replacing washers. But you probably already see the drawback too. If something goes wrong, you have to chuck the plug. There is no fixing it. 

How to fix this: Sometimes, there is nothing obviously wrong with the rubber plug in your kitchen sink. You know, there are no cracks or other damage. In this case, water could be draining because the plug is not securely fitted to the drainage hole. 

Try putting it in the drainage hole and pushing its top like a button a few times. If the plug is made of soft enough rubber, this will create enough suction to keep it securely in place and stop the water from draining.

Regrettably, other things in the house can leak too. Find out how to fix a thermos or find out why your mini-fridge is leaking.

How To Deal With A Leaking Sink Stopper

The Number 1 Reason Why Kitchen Sink Plugs Fail

Some sinks have a stopper plug system. These plugs are better designed than most and should keep water in the sink for years. But nothing is forever and if your stopper is already old, chances are that the rubber ring is failing. Dealing with this type of plug is not as easy as chucking it and buying a new ready-to-use stopper. 

You can always let a plumber deal with a leaking stopper. But if you want to try this yourself, there is a way to remove the stopper but once you do, it is best to buy and install a new one. You do not have to replace the rest of the pop-up drain assembly.

Step 1: If there is water in the sink, lift the stopper to drain the water completely. 

Step 2: There is a horizontal rod that holds the stopper in place. Remove the rod by pulling off the spring clip that connects it to the assembly. 

Step 3: There is also a nut that connects the horizontal rod to the stopper’s base. You need to remove it. If you cannot manage by hand, use a wrench.

Step 4: Pull the stopper from the sink.

Step 5: To replace it, you might want to get an expert’s opinion. Either a plumber or hardware store could have a look at the stopper and point out the correct replacement.

Need to check some plumbing in the attic? Pick the best attic ladder for the job.

How To Deal With A Leaking Basket Strainer Plug

A basket strainer plug is a great way to protect your pipes from clogs. The metal plug is shaped like a basket full of tiny gaps. The gaps or lines are big enough to allow water to pass through but not larger items that might later cause a blockage in the drain. You can also plug it to allow the sink to fill up with water.

The Number 1 Reason Why Kitchen Sink Plugs Fail

When a basket strainer plug starts to drain water when sealed, you have two choices:

  1. Fix the plug’s rubber ring.
  2. Install a new strainer basket.

How To Fix The Rubber Ring On A Basket Strainer Plug

Sometimes, you do not have to repair the entire basket. You can simply remove the plug at the top and inspect the rubber washer. If it needs to be replaced, there are likely clear signs like cracks or damaged edges. 

The best thing to do is to take the plug to a plumbing store and see if they have a replacement ring that fits the plug. If they don’t, the store might have a plug you can purchase to replace the old one with. If you get a washer seal, remove the old one carefully and manoeuvre the new ring into place. This should not be too difficult.

How To Install A New Strainer Basket

Regrettably, the leaking can also be caused by a malfunctioning basket. Then the whole thing needs to be replaced. Luckily, it is something that you can do at home if you have all the tools and items for the job.

  • A brand-new strainer basket.
  • Pliers.
  • Putty (the type used by plumbers).

Step 1: Turn off the main water supply. This step is optional but it can prevent accidents.

Step 2: Use the pliers to remove the slip nuts on all the pipes that are connected to the sink strainer. 

Step 3: Once loosened, separate the p-trap from the bottom of the strainer basket.

Step 4: Remove the strainer’s nut. You might need bigger pliers and some oil to loosen the nut. 

Step 5: Gently remove the old strainer. Be on the lookout for old putty and rust. You need to carefully loosen the strainer without damaging the sink.

Step 6: Now that the strainer is completely removed, clean and dry the area. 

Step 7: Apply a ring of putty to the base and underside of the basket’s lip. Push it gently into place so that the putty grips the sink, taking care to position the strainer correctly.

Step 8: Add the rubber washer, the metal washer and then the retainer. Screw them tightly into place (note: it’s a little too tight if the rubber washer squeezes outwards).

Step 9: Reinstall the pipes.

Step 10: Turn the water back on and check for leaks. If there is still a problem, consider calling a plumber.

A Quick Summary On Leaking Kitchen Plugs

  • Most leaking plugs have failing rubber washers.
  • Rubber washers mostly fail due to old age, wear and tear, or damage.
  • Fixing a leaking kitchen sink plug depends on the type of plug you are using.
  • A beginner to intermediate level of DIY skills is needed to fix most faulty plugs.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.