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Why do the drainpipes under my kitchen sink come loose?

There are two reasons why the drainpipes under your sink may be loose. Steel ring nuts tightened against nylon washers might be holding the drainpipes under your sink together. When one of these washers or nuts breaks, the pipes begin to come loose and leak. This also can happen to plastic drainpipes and any water supply lines, so try to narrow down which pipe is the culprit before attempting to fix the pipes that came loose under your sink.

Whatever the reason, loose drainpipes result in leaks and possible water damage beneath your sink. Assess for yourself the extent of the damage. If it’s minor or unnoticeable, you should be able to handle the pipe repairs and replacements, as it’s a relatively simple DIY job. However, if at any point you feel that the project is beyond your skill level or comfort zone, remember that you can call a professional local Roto-Rooter plumber to handle any plumbing job, big or small, at 800-768-6911.

After you’ve determined which drainpipes are loose, examine the loose pipe to see if the pipes are pushed together tightly and the washers and nuts are intact. Put a bucket under the pipes to catch water then if any pipes are loose, try tightening the connection. Most plastic drain pipes can be tightened by hand and without tools. Run some water through the drain and wait and see if tightening stopped the leak. If you find a broken seal or washer, visit your local hardware store for a replacement part.

When it comes to loose pipes, it’s as simple as asking two questions:

  1. Will tightening the connections fix the problem?

  2. If not, what parts do I need to replace?

Adjustable pliers are the best tools for this job if you can’t seem to tighten them well by hand. Channellock pliers are less unwieldy and more maneuverable than a wrench. Just be careful not to overtighten the connections.

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