How to Diagnose and Fix the Most Common Sink Leakage Problems

Every year, the water lost from household water leaks accounts for over 10,000 gallons of waste. That’s the amount of water you need to wash 270 laundry loads!

Sink leakage is often the biggest contributor to wasted water for homeowners and renters alike. Are you dealing with a leaking sink? If so, keep reading.

Listed below are some of the most common sink leakage problems you might experience, as well as tips on how to fix them.

Common Causes of Sink Leakage

There are lots of issues that can contribute to a leaking sink. The following are some of the most common causes:

Worn Out Drain

Often, the cause of a leaking sink is a worn-out drain. If the drain seal has eroded and is not as strong as it once was, it’s possible that water could be leaking out through it.

You can determine whether or not the drain is the problem by plugging the drain, filling the sink with water, and checking for leaks underneath the sink. 

Damaged Faucet

Faucet damage can also be a common culprit of sink leaks. If the faucet is the issue, you’ll likely notice water puddles forming near the top of the sink whenever you turn the faucet on. You may also see or hear water dripping from the faucet itself.

Loose Water Supply Connection

Sometimes, a loose water supply connection can also cause a leaking sink. Usually, when the leak is fairly constant and takes place under the sink, the water supply connection is to blame.

Most kitchen sinks have at least two water supply connections (although some have three), so there’s a lot of room for something to go wrong.

P-Trap Clog

The P-Trap is the curved section of a pipe under your sink. Its main job is to keep bad smells from coming out of the drain.

If there’s a clog is the P-Trap, it could cause water to pool up. This, in turn, can contribute to a leaking sink.

A corroded P-trap (which is common in older, metal sinks) could also cause a leak.

O-Ring Damage

The O-ring is a small disc that helps to hold the faucet in place. If the O-ring is damaged or worn in some way, leaks can occur around the handle of the faucet.

Most of the time, this is a fairly simple fix, but it can have a big impact on your leakage issues. 

Washer Damage

A damaged washer often contributes to faucet leaks. If you have a compression faucet, washer damage is especially common since this type of faucet places more pressure on the washer compared to other models.

Often, in these situations, replacing the washer is enough to correct the issue.

Valve Seat Corrosion

The problem could also be the valve seat. The valve seat connects the spout and faucet. If this part becomes corroded and worn down, water can accumulate in this part of the sink and leaks may occur. 

How to Repair Your Leaking Sink

If you’re dealing with sink leakage problems, don’t despair.

You can often fix the problem on your own. If the source of the leak is a damaged washer or O-ring, for example, a simple replacement or tightening can take care of the problem. 

If the issue is the water supply, P-trap, or drain, you can still address it yourself, but it’ll take a bit more work.

Fixing the Water Supply

You can often correct a water supply issue by tightening the compression fittings. To do this, all you’ll need are two wrenches or two pairs of locking pliers.

Hold the valve in place with one wrench or pair of pliers. Then, use another wrench or pair of pliers to tighten the compression nut until the leak stops.

Fixing the P-Trap

If you suspect the P-Trap is the problem, remove it and give it a thorough cleaning. Use a pair of pliers to remove and tighten the P-trap.

You may also want to clean your drain line to get rid of any potential blockages that might be making things worse. 

If you notice that the nuts are corroded and difficult to turn, you may need to look into a full replacement.

Fixing the Drain

If you need to fix the drain to solve the leakage problem, you can often do this with a bit of plumber’s putty. Start by unscrewing the drain, then use the plumber’s putty to stick it back in place and fill in any cracks. 

When to Replace Your Sink

There are plenty of times when you can repair a leak in your sink. Sometimes, though, you need a replacement altogether.

Here are some signs that you may need to go ahead and replace the sink instead of trying to fix it:

Excessive Wear and Tear

If your sink is very worn out and doesn’t respond to basic repairs, it might be in your best interest to purchase a new one.

If you notice severe cracks or chips when you’re inspecting for the source of the leak, buying a brand new sink could be a better use of your time and resources.

Frequent Repairs

Your sink might look fine, but if you’re always repairing it (or paying to have it repaired), it might be better for you to buy a new one. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, and you’ll have fewer headaches to deal with.

Outdated Model

You may also need a new sink if you have an old or outdated model.

This is especially important to consider if you want to resell your property soon. A new sink will increase its resale value and make it more appealing to potential buyers.

Address Your Sink Leakage Problems Today

Now that you know more about the causes of sink leakage, as well as how to address the problem, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test. Does your sink need a repair, or do you need to go ahead and put in a new one?

Whatever approach you take, we’ve got lots of other resources that can help. Check out some of our Home Improvement blog posts today to learn more about combating common issues.