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Why Is My Kitchen Sink Leaking?

Why Is My Kitchen Sink Leaking/

A leaking kitchen sink can be more than just a minor inconvenience; it can lead to significant water damage and increased utility bills.

As a leading Calgary-based plumbing company, we know all about kitchen leaks, what causes them, and importantly how to fix it!

Understanding the root causes of why your kitchen sink is leaking can help you address the problem effectively and prevent future occurrences.

Common Causes of Kitchen Sink Leaks

Worn-Out Washers and O-Rings

One of the most common reasons for a leaking kitchen sink is worn-out washers and O-rings.

These small components are essential for creating a watertight seal in your faucet. Over time, the constant use and pressure can cause these parts to degrade, leading to leaks around the faucet base. If you notice water pooling around your faucet, it might be time to replace the washers and O-rings​.

Loose Pipe Connections

Another common cause of leaks is loose pipe connections. The pipes and fittings under your sink can become loose over time due to vibrations, water pressure changes, and the natural settling of your home.

Regularly checking and tightening these connections can help prevent leaks. If you notice water dripping from the joints, it’s a clear sign that the connections need attention.

Clogged or Damaged P-Trap

The P-trap, a curved section of pipe beneath your sink, is designed to hold water and prevent sewer gases from entering your home.

However, it can become clogged with food particles, grease, and other debris, leading to leaks.

In some cases, the P-trap can also corrode or crack, necessitating replacement. Regular cleaning and inspection can help keep your P-trap in good condition​​.

Faulty Garbage Disposal

If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, it can be a source of leaks if not properly maintained.

The seals and gaskets in the disposal can wear out over time, and the unit itself can develop cracks. If you notice water leaking from the bottom of your disposal, it may be time to replace the seals or the entire unit​.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure can put a strain on your plumbing system, leading to leaks in various components, including the sink. Using a water pressure gauge, you can check if your home’s water pressure is within the recommended range. Installing a pressure regulator can help maintain safe water pressure levels and prevent leaks​.

Detailed Diagnosis and Fixes

Inspecting for Faucet Leaks

To determine if your faucet is the source of the leak, start by inspecting the area around the faucet base and handles.

If you see water pooling or dripping, the washers or O-rings might be worn out. Replacing these components is usually a straightforward task that can significantly reduce leaks​.

Tightening Loose Connections

Loose pipe connections are another common source of leaks.

Examine all connections under your sink, including those between the faucet, P-trap, and garbage disposal. Use a wrench to tighten any loose nuts, and replace any corroded or damaged sections. Ensuring that all connections are secure can help prevent leaks and water damage.

Cleaning or Replacing the P-Trap

The P-trap can become clogged with debris over time, leading to leaks. To address this, remove the P-trap and clean out any accumulated gunk.

If the P-trap is corroded or cracked, replace it with a new one. Regular maintenance of the P-trap can help ensure your sink drains properly and remains leak-free.

Fixing Garbage Disposal Leaks

If your garbage disposal is leaking, turn off the power to the unit before inspecting it. Check for any loose connections and tighten them as necessary. If the seals or gaskets are worn, replace them to stop the leaks.

In some cases, it might be necessary to replace the entire disposal unit if it has developed cracks​​.

Adjusting Water Pressure

Excessive water pressure can cause leaks in your plumbing system. Measure your home’s water pressure using a gauge, and if it is too high, consider installing a pressure regulator. Keeping the water pressure within safe limits can help reduce the risk of leaks and prolong the life of your plumbing components​.

Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques for Leaky Kitchen Sinks

Using Colored Water for Leak Detection

If you’re having trouble pinpointing the exact location of a leak, using colored water can be an effective method.

Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in your sink. Then, observe the area under the sink to see where the colored water appears. This method helps in identifying the precise location of the leak, especially if it’s not immediately visible​​.

Conducting a Flow Test

A flow test can help you identify hidden leaks by measuring the flow rate of your water. Use a water meter to calculate the flow rate and compare it to the expected rate. If there’s a significant discrepancy, it may indicate a hidden leak somewhere in your plumbing system​.

Inspecting and Replacing Valve Seats

For those with compression faucets, the valve seat can become corroded over time, leading to leaks.

To inspect the valve seat, disassemble the faucet and examine the condition of the valve seat. If it’s corroded or worn, clean it with a valve seat dressing tool or replace it entirely to stop the leak​​.

Removing and Resealing Undermount Sinks

If you have an undermount sink, leaks can occur if the seal between the sink and countertop is compromised.

To fix this, remove the sink and clean off any old sealant. Apply a fresh bead of silicone sealant around the edges and securely clamp the sink back in place. This ensures a watertight seal and prevents leaks​.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Leaks

Regular Maintenance Checks

Regularly inspecting all components of your kitchen sink can help you catch and address wear and tear early.

Check the condition of faucets, pipes, and seals, and replace any parts showing signs of damage or wear. Consistent maintenance can prevent small issues from becoming major leaks​​.

Proper Installation Practices

Ensuring that sinks, faucets, and garbage disposals are installed correctly is crucial for preventing leaks.

Use appropriate sealants and securing methods during installation. If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, consider hiring a professional to ensure everything is properly installed.

Managing Water Pressure

High water pressure can lead to leaks and damage your plumbing system over time. Regularly check your home’s water pressure and install a pressure regulator if necessary. Keeping the water pressure within recommended levels reduces stress on your plumbing components and helps prevent leaks​.

Cleaning Drains and P-Traps

Routinely cleaning your drains and P-traps can prevent clogs that cause leaks. Use natural cleaners, such as a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, to keep your pipes clear. This regular maintenance helps ensure that water flows smoothly and reduces the likelihood of leaks​​.


Understanding the common causes of kitchen sink leaks and knowing how to address them can save you from significant water damage and costly repairs.

Regular maintenance, proper installation, and effective troubleshooting techniques are key to keeping your kitchen sink leak-free.

Whether it’s a simple fix or a more complex issue, being proactive can ensure your kitchen remains functional and efficient.

George Pinel
George Pinel

Master Plumber

I have been involved in this family owned business for 33 years now.

It has always been and will continue to be the core focus of Instant Plumbing & Heating to provide a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust and integrity of our service and products.

This achieved by using the best quality materials. I as a business owner continue to mentor and treat my staff with the highest regard and respect, this interns helps them deliver to the client great quality workmanship and service.

It is our professional goal to leave a situation better than when we arrived both in how we do our work and in how you feel for having chosen us to do your work, we are in the anxiety reduction business using plumbing and heating service work to do it.

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