It came from beneath the sink. It was born of scary chemicals and leaky plumbing. It matured in darkness to destroy our society!

You know the feeling when you reach far towards the back of the cabinet under your sink to grab WD-40 or Pinesol. Your skin feels squirmy. You are afraid you’re going to touch something slimy underneath your sink in the mess of cleaning products and plastic shopping bags.  

Your fear actually turns out to be true. You do touch something damp. You push your hand a little deeper. There is wetness. You explore with your hand a little more and sure enough, there is a slimy feeling. Gross! 

Now comes the next dread. You need to clean that ugly mess under the sink and it smells kinda like a wet dog. What makes it worse is the scary collection of tubs, pipes, drains, cords, and valves. It’s like a science lab down there. 

What is under the sink?

Cleaning supplies are often stored under the sink. In addition to cleaning supplies, there is a lot of plumbing underneath your sink. Wrapping your head around the pipes under your sink is somewhat complicated. They almost look like an explosion of pipes, coming in and going out in random directions. Even worse, some of the pipes aren’t straight. If the pipes were power cords they would be a tangled knot. In general, the pipes under your sink do one of two things: bring water in and drain water away.

Inflow

Picture the space under your sink. Now picture 2 thin copper pipes. These pipes carry your hot and cold water. (White plastic and galvanized pipes may carry water too). These copper pipes are about ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Attached to these pipes are valve handles. Picture flexible silver hoses attached to these pipes. Picture these flexible hoses running to the top of the sink. These hoses deliver water to the faucet of your sink. Turning the hot and cold water handles determines how much hot or cold water comes out of the faucet.

Drain

Now that we know how the water comes in. We need to know how the water leaves the sink. To leave the sink, water goes down the drain. Picture underneath your sink again. This time picture a thicker pipe running from the bottom of your sink to the wall. This pipe might be black, copper, or cast-iron. It will be about 1.5 inches or thicker. The drain pipe goes straight down till it hits a curve and then it goes towards the wall. That drooping round curve in the pipe is called a p-trap. It prevents sewer gas from coming back up the pipe and into the home.

There are plenty of other pipes under the sink. These may be attached to the dishwasher or garbage disposal.

Figure Out Where the Leak is Coming From

Run your hand down the length of the pipe. There is a leak wherever you feel wetness on the pipe. Water leaks are a big deal and can cause damage to the structure of the house. If you find or suspect a leak, call a professional. Even small leaks will require plumbing know-how to fix. Call Master Plumbing at 208-955-8533 and we will fix it for you.

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