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Learn how to fix a kitchen sink drain from Master Plumber John Wood in this plumbing repair video from Howcast.
Okay, folks. So, today, I’m going to show you how to fix a kitchen sink drain. This is a very common repair, because they rot out quickly. The material that you most commonly see under a kitchen sink is this brass, here. This is 17-gauge brass, which is actually referring to the wall thickness of this pipe. This is called a tailpiece. In particular, this is a flanged tailpiece. You can see that flange.
Behind me is a sketch of a sink, all right. This item here is called a basket strainer. You’ve probably seen this in your own sink. This is the stopper that you use that catches all the food. And below that, is the part that’s permanently affixed to your sink; this is the basket strainer itself.
So, for our purposes today, I’ve illustrated the basket strainer here, okay? This is the basket strainer, this assembly right here. And this, right there, is the tailpiece. So, when you get a leak below your kitchen sink, when you have a leak, all of a sudden, you open the cabinets one day and there’s water below. Most likely, this, or some portion thereof, has rotted out, cracked, decayed; it’s time for it to go. So, you need a few tools to get this done, okay?
Once again, a Channellock. This time, we want them with the teeth. The reason I have two pair is so that in case I need to hold back, I can turn like so and gain torque that way. I’ll demonstrate that in a moment. The other is a 20-cutter. 20 is the number of the cutter, okay? This is a big cutter so that you can get around this pipe to cut it, all right? Most likely, this comes at a standard 12-inch. You’ll probably have to cut it to some length, depending on the height of your trap. The trap is that you shape the piece of pipe right there under every kitchen sink. And if it’s not under your sink, it should be under there because somebody did something wrong.
The purpose of the trap is to keep water in that U. To trap everything in the sewer, out in the sewer. Things like flies, bad smells and sewer gas, more dangerously. So, imagine the water level in the trap will be sitting right here. So, when water goes down from the sink, it goes out into the drain and out into the sewer. But that little U-shaped piece of pipe, the trap, keeps a little bit of water there to keep everything on this side of it, the street side we call it, out there.
Now, when removing a basket strainer from an existing sink, it can kind of get hairy. So, imagine this basket strainer living in there for 15, 20 years. So, we’ve got the nut that holds the assembly onto the sink, like so. With time, that nut can fuse on and it gets really difficult to remove. So, the only caveat there, you might have to hire a plumber, because we need to get in there with a saw and cut it out and it can be a nightmare. If it’s not and most of them aren’t, you can use this tool here. There’s no other purpose for this tool in the world other than that brass nut on the bottom of the basket strainer. It is designed solely for this brass nut.
It fits on like so. See the little nubs on that nut? It grabs perfectly and you can turn that nut like this, okay? This is essential. A lot of guys, a lot of plumbers or homeowners, you can get the job done with the Channellocks but what you have to do and it’s a pain, is grab those two nubs and then you get what I call the “knuckle buster.” It slips, boom, and you smash your knuckles between the Channellocks. And then the next thing you do is throw them behind you. Probably hit your wife or husband or whoever’s behind you and we have a bad day. So, I have the right tools for the job.
Let’s say we’ve got the basket strainer out and now, we’re looking at a kitchen sink that’s just a steel sink and there’s a hole there. What you’re going to do is take this piece here, this collar, as we call it. Put a roll of putty around that collar and smush it down into the sink. That putty is going to kind of keep it there.
Okay, now, our head will be up here above the counter top. We’re going to go beneath. What you’re going to see are these threads here, okay? If I’m going to refer to my drawing, now we’ve got this collar stuck down into the sink. And we see these threads down here. Now, we can concentrate on putting the basket strainer assembly together.
So, from under the sink, again, we’re looking at these threads. Your drainage assembly will come with these two gaskets. One is a cardboard gasket. The other is a rubber gasket. The rubber gasket is what makes a watertight seal. The cardboard simply kind of holds it in place. So, you would, again, looking at the