Modern kitchens make life easier with streamlined designs and appliances to meet every need. Under normal circumstances, everything runs as expected making your life in the kitchen enjoyable and efficient. Sometimes, however, things go wrong when you least expect it, interrupting your day and putting a crimp in the joy of working in your kitchen. Plumbing problems can rear their ugly head without warning, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent them from happening.
Garbage disposals whisk away kitchen wastes with the flick of a switch, eliminating the fuss of dealing with smelly garbage. They are also one of the most common plumbing problems you will encounter in your kitchen. Because they are designed to pulverize kitchen scraps, many homeowners have the mistaken notion that anything organic is save the disposal. The truth is, fibrous wastes, such as cornhusks or onion peels, can quickly jam the blades inside the disposal. Potato peels are another risk to your garbage disposal as too many peelings can cause the disposal blades to become gummed with starch.
To keep your garbage disposal running smoothly and prevent this common plumbing problem, always run cold water down the disposal for 15 seconds before and after adding food wastes to the disposal. Cold water causes any traces of fat and oil to solidify before chopping and flushing it out the drain.
Avoid adding any food that expands with water down the garbage disposal, as it can expand and clog the blades. This includes rice, pasta and cooking dough.
Grind eggshells, small chicken and fish bones and small fruit pits regularly. These create abrasion inside the garbage disposal keeping it clean. Likewise, grinding ice cubes it thought to sharpen the blades.
Add citrus peels, or clean with a little dish soap and running cold water, to keep the disposal’s insides clean and smelling fresh.
Under normal circumstances your kitchen sink functions to whisk away water from cooking or cleaning, but sometimes the drain becomes sluggish or fails to drain due to residue in the pipe. Cleaning the trap under the sink may solve your problem, but if that does not work it’s time to call in the plumber. Avoiding the inconvenience and expense is easier than you may think.
Avoid pouring grease down the drain. This means scraping grease from pans or serving dishes before washing them in the sink. Over time, even small amounts of grease can build up inside the drainpipe creating stubborn clogs.
The strainer in the bottom of your kitchen sink is deigned to catch bits of food and debris before it enters your drain. When it does not work properly, or is missing altogether, bits of food can clog your drain. Keeping the strainer in good working order prevents problems with clogged kitchen sinks.
The aerator in the end of your faucet catches debris from your water and controls the force of water from the faucet. When debris, or a buildup of minerals from hard water, collects in the aerator, you may notice that the faucet leaks around the edges or the flow of water decreases. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for problems with the aerator or screen on your faucet.
Remove the washer on the end of the faucet and check the screen. Clean it with soapy water and an old toothbrush. If stubborn residue remains, soak the screen in distilled white vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. Vinegar dissolves lime and other mineral deposits, leaving the screen sparkling clean.
Leaky faucets can drive you crazy with the constant drip, but the real problem lies in the constant waste of water and the effects on your water bill. Although there isn’t much you can do to avoid the fact that faucet parts eventually wear out – other than replacing them with quality parts – the problem is relatively easy to fix. By shutting of the water to the faucet and replacing the washer or you may be able to repair the faucet yourself.
The key to keeping your kitchen plumbing in good working order is exercising some caution with what your send down the drain. Although that little bit of grease may seem harmless today, over time it builds up in drains and eventually causes a problem.
Nannette Richford is a freelance writer from rural Maine where she lives with her family. When not writing about gardening, she can be found working in her garden where she has grown flowers, herbs and vegetables for over 25 years. Richford has extensive writing experience in gardening and landscape and has been published in influential online industry publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate), Garden Guides and Yahoo! Shine. She also publishes her own website Maine Garden Ideas. Connect with Nannette on Google+ and Twitter.