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How to Fix a Leaky Sink

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Walking into an apartment complex or office space only to find yourself standing in a puddle is never a good feeling. The most common culprit for this kind of mess? A leaking sink!

Whether it's tightening loose pipes or replacing broken seals, there are many ways to fix a leaky sink. However, the best way to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place is by investing in a water leak sensing system. With this system, you can ensure that your home or office building stays protected from leaking sinks and other kinds of water related issues.

In this post, we will help you fix your leaky sink and share more information on how leak sensors can prevent you from experiencing this issue again in the future!

How to Fix a Leaky Sink

Fixing leaks is an easy process but can be intimidating for those who have not done it before. Luckily, there are only three main things to focus on!

Here are the three stages you will go through when fixing a leaky sink:

Stage 1: Identifying the cause of the leaky sink

Stage 2: Fixing the leak

Stage 3: Preventing future leaks

As you may have guessed, identifying the cause of the leaky sink is probably going to be the easiest step in this list as it requires the least amount of preparation. For stages 2 and 3, you will likely need to make a trip to the hardware store.

Be sure to read this article all the way through so that you have an idea of the kinds of tools you can ask your local hardware specialist about.

How to find the cause of a leaky sink

Sinks can drip for a number of reasons. The most common reason is that a pipe has come loose or the seal has cracked. No matter what the cause is, you will need to follow the trail of water back to its source.

Check closely around the faucet itself and the pipes. The pipes may be directly under the sink or hidden in the cabinets below the sink. If neither of these is the source of your leak, check for wet or discolored drywall or water-stained trim. If that is the case, your problem might be coming from the pipes within the walls!

If your leak is really bad, it may be a good idea to turn off the main water sources at your house before trying to find the cause. This can help prevent additional damage, especially if you already have a good idea of where the leak is coming from.

As you assess the source and determine the solution, measure whether or not you can do this yourself. According to Home Guide, average estimates for small plumbing jobs (leaky sink included) run between $125 and $350, while large repairs (wall leaks included) can reach $500 to $800.

How to fix different kinds of leaky sinks

As mentioned above, the two causes of a leaky sink are loose pipes and broken seals.

First determine if tightening the pipes will solve your problem as this is the easiest and most cost-effective solution. If it doesn’t do the trick, assess the pipe threads for broken seals.

In the following sections, we will deep dive into different methods for fixing sinks. These are the methods we will cover:

  • How to fix loose pipes under the sink

  • How to fix broken seals with tape

  • How to fix sink leaks originating from walls

  • How to prevent leaking sinks

Be sure to read through each section, so you are prepared to handle future leaks as well!

How to fix loose pipes under the sink

If your leak is originating from a loose pipe, you may be in luck. Typically these leaks are the easiest to identify and solve. For this type of leak, you will find that the water source is coming from a space where two pipes connect.

To fix these loose pipes, you will need to get the tools necessary to tighten it. If the pipe is smaller, you might be able to easily tighten it by hand.

For larger pipes that can't be fixed by hand, plumbers usually use a pipe wrench, which costs between $12 and $30 at Home Depot or a similar hardware store.

How to fix broken seals with tape

To fix sinks that are dripping due to broken seals in the pipe threads, you can utilize plumber’s tape or Teflon tape. These tapes typically cost between $6 and $13.

Here’s how to apply it:

Step 1: Clean the pipe with a rag. You don’t want any grime underneath the tape.

Step 2: Starting from the end of the pipe and ending at the end of the threads, wrap the tape four to six times flatly around the threads of the pipe, perpendicularly to the length of the pipe.

Pro Tip: To ensure maximum effectiveness, make sure you wrap the tape around the threads in the opposite direction of how the pipe will turn into the fitting. This way, the friction caused by reconnecting the pipes will tighten the tape.

Step 3: The tape should break easily by gripping it with your fingers and pulling sharply. From there, smooth out the loose end over the threads.

Step 4: Put the pipe back in place and run water to check if the seal holds.

You should also check how your seal sits on your sink and whether or not there's anything trapped between the seal and the sink.

If you find anything trapped, this usually means replacing the seal is necessary as well as any parts underneath where you suspect excess water got caught (this too could be causing damage).

How to fix sink leaks originating from walls

If you’ve tried the previously mentioned methods with no success at mitigating the leak, check for other sources or symptoms.

As you dive deeper into the investigation of the leak, you may find wet or discolored drywall or water-stained trim. Perhaps you sense a musty smell or see signs of mold or mildew. In this case, the leaky sink may be a component of a wall leak, which is unfortunately a major issue.

Leaks from the wall are a good indicator that you might have defective plumbing, structural damage, mold, or other issues at play beyond the leaking sink.

You can check if the source of the leak is due to defective plumbing by recording the number on your water meter and turning off all faucets and appliances that use water in your home. After three hours, if the amount of water used goes up, the leak is likely coming from indoor plumbing.

You can also check potential outside sources, such as clogged gutters or downspouts, broken sprinkler pipes, or slopes grading towards the house.

If you determine that indoor plumbing is the source, you will definitely need to speak with a professional contractor or two to assess the total damage that has already been done. They may have to cut into the wall, replace damaged sections and patch the wall.

How to prevent leaky sinks

The easiest way to prevent leaky sinks is by installing a water leak sensor. Most water leak sensors can call, text, or email you within minutes of a leak taking place at your apartment complex or commercial building!

Droplet Duo Leak Sensor
Droplet Duo™

Our industrial grade leak sensors are a proven way to protect everything from multi-family buildings to commercial spaces.

The Droplet Duo™, seen on the left, is a dual-probe water leak sensor with separate wireless alerting for each probe. Each sensor comes pre-configured for your property, and are a breeze to install.

This makes it easy to reach even the most challenging spaces to ensure your building is protected.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use our leak sensors to turn your building into a smart building, be sure to check out our products page.

Final thoughts on how to fix a leaky sink

It can be frustrating to have to deal with a leaky sink and it can be easy to wonder where things went wrong. At the end of the day, leaky sinks are bound to happen eventually due to normal wear and tear.

Hopefully, this article helps you solve your leaky sink and equips you with the knowledge necessary to prevent this kind of issue from happening again in the future.

Let us know in the comments, what is your preferred method for dealing with a leaky sink?

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