It’s best to begin with the heart of your home—the kitchen. After a long day of moving, unpacking, and rearranging, you’ll thank yourself for having your kitchen in order. You might only have enough energy to call in an order for a pizza delivery, but at least you’ll know where your plates and napkins are located.
Once the hustle and bustle of the big move has calmed down, take a few minutes to inspect the plumbing of your kitchen. The average American spends over 12 hours a week in their kitchen according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All that time adds up, so it’s important to keep your kitchen functioning properly. Make sure you avoid potential problems and help turn your house into a home by going through this helpful kitchen-plumbing checklist:
1. Garbage Disposal
Clean the garbage disposal to avoid disastrous back up and drain clogs. You never know what the previous tenants left behind in the drains. Leftover food material or debris will eventually begin to smell the longer it stays in a drain. Once you have the garbage disposal cleaned out, take preventative measure to avoid future problems. Remember to always turn your water and disposal on before adding food, never put fibrous or stringy foods down the disposal (such as banana peels, potato peels, celery or other foods that are difficult to grind up), and always allow water to run for at least 15 seconds after using the disposal to ensure food wastes are flushed down completely.
Inspect your dishwasher to make sure water is flowing where it should and not leaking out where it shouldn’t. Ensure the water is flowing correctly inside the dishwasher by checking the sprayer arm and filter for clogs. Sprayer arms can become clogged with food particles, mineral deposits, and other debris over time. You can remove the arm and soak it in warm vinegar for a few hours to loosen any obstructions. Additionally, you can clean out each individual spray hole with a pipe cleaner. The filter (or screen) is located near the bottom of the dishwasher above the food drain; it is used to catch any large food or debris. The filter should be cleaned regularly to avoid clogs. Instructions are provided in the dishwasher owner’s manual.
If you notice water around your dishwasher, it could be due to a faulty gasket. Gaskets are the rubber or plastic seals along the dishwasher door that provide a watertight seal when the dishwasher is running. If the gasket is damaged, it’s an easy DIY fix to remove and replace the part yourself. Helpful hint: Remember to run your dishwasher at night to conserve hot water and maintain good water pressure throughout the day.
If your refrigerator has a built in ice machine, there’s a couple of things to check for: it makes ice, it turns off when it should, it doesn’t freeze up, and it ejects ice. There are easy ways to fix these common problems. If your refrigerator has a built in water dispenser that is not working properly, check to see if the water tube in door is frozen, if there’s a defective water inlet valve, or if there’s low water pressure from the house supply. Fixing any of those three problems should get the water dispenser up and running in no time.
4. Warped Floors
Check for warped or cracked flooring throughout the kitchen. This could be a result of water pooling beneath; water pooled under the floor is usually a sign of a leak. Inspect the entire floor, but pay special attention to areas near plumbing such as the sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator.
5. Leaky Faucets
Check your sink for any dripping water. Leaks are more harmful than you might expect. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year; this water adds up to the amount needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. The good news is, checking for water leaks doesn’t have to be complicated. Check your water meter before and after a 2-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
6. Sink Cabinets
After checking for easily noticeable leaks within a faucet, don’t forget to go a step further. Look in the cabinet under the sink. Open the cupboards underneath to check for any signs of leaks there. The leaking water could be coming from the supply hoses, drainpipes, or even the faucet itself. Water can pool under the sink and become mold or mildew over time. Try these DIY repairs yourself or call a plumber if you don’t feel comfortable.
With so much time spent preparing and eating food, it’s important that your kitchen is functioning well. Tackling this kitchen plumbing checklist should ensure you are a master of the kitchen- although we can’t promise it will make you a master chef. After you get your kitchen ready, be sure to check out the other two parts of our new homeowner series: the bathroom checklist and laundry room checklist. George Brazil is here to help you with faucet and sink repair, drain cleaning, and any other plumbing problems you discover in your kitchen or home. Contact us today to find out how one of our Smell Good Plumbers can assist you.