Kitchen plumbing basics for your Atlanta kitchen

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Regardless of whether you live in an apartment or house in Atlanta, you're going to have problems with...

Regardless of whether you live in an apartment or house in Atlanta, you're going to have problems with your kitchen plumbing. There are some common plumbing problems in the kitchen you can solve yourself. These problems can come from any part of the plumbing system, including the hot and cold-water supplies, faucets or dishwasher hookups. Before you tackle any kitchen maintenance problem, it's important to understand the plumbing in the kitchen. Generally, your kitchen system, whether you live in an apartment or house, consists of water supply lines. Also, you may have a gas supply line if you use a gas oven. The visible parts of the plumbing are always located right below your kitchen sink. If you have a gas stove, your flexible gas connector, attached to the gas valve, is located either under the floor or on the wall near your oven. Keep in mind that some plumbing problems require you to hire a professional plumber.

Beneath your kitchen sink

Become familiar with your plumbing system. Open your cabinet doors. Underneath your sink, you should see two small plumbing valves: a cold water and hot water supply valve. When you turn these valves clockwise, you stop the water flowing through the flexible supply tubes connected to the faucet.

On the same side of the cold water shutoff valve, you may notice what's called a saddle valve. This is another water connection. Manufacturers make this connection with flexible plastic or copper tubing. This connection serves for an instant hot water dispenser or water treatment.

You should see flexible supply tubes beneath the faucet. These tubes connect the threaded tailpieces of your faucet to the hot and cold water valves. If you have an integral sprayer attached to the faucet, you will see a separate hose different from the flexible supply tubes. This hose connects another tailpiece to the center of the faucet.

Other plumbing you should see is a drain pipe that starts from the bottom of the sink. If you have a dishwasher, you may notice a tube going from the dishwasher into another part of your plumbing system.

Common plumbing problems in your kitchen

When water doesn't flow properly through your faucet, you should check the aerator. The aerator, at the end of your faucet, mixes the water and air together. Thus, when you turn on the water, it doesn't spray with too much force or at an angle. Sometimes its screen becomes clogged because of the minerals in Atlanta water.

When it's clogged, you instantly notice a difference in water pressure. After you unscrew the aerator, you can clean it with a toothpick or brush. However, if it's too damaged, you may have to replace it.

When your kitchen sink or dishwasher doesn't completely drain, it could be a clogged drain pipe causing the problem. Before you repair your dishwasher or buy a new faucet, check the drain pipe. When the drain clogs, the water has nowhere to go but back into the sink or dishwasher.

Before you start your repair, turn the water off (using cold and hot water shut off valves). If your sink isn't draining completely, you can use some drain cleaner. If that doesn't work, you may have to dismantle the drain pipe to manually clean it out.

If the problem is in the dishwasher, you have to go through more steps. If you have a garbage disposal, run it. Most of the time, your dishwasher is set up through your garbage disposal. So when food and debris fills up in the garbage disposal, there's less space for your dishwasher water to run through. Therefore, you want to fill the garbage disposal with plenty of water to clear out the debris buildup.

You also want to clear the air gap generally located over-the-counter. If water exits the air gap when the dishwasher is on, then there's a blockage between the garbage disposal and air gap. You have to remove the air gap cap and then find the large tube that goes inside the disposal. Remove it and then clear up any debris in the tube.

Your next step is to remove the debris from the drain tube. This requires you to disconnect the tube from the air gap. Clear the debris and reconnect the pipe.

Calling a plumbing professional

Any time you do not feel comfortable repairing a kitchen plumbing problem, you should contact a licensed plumber. Some problems can be easily fixed; however, some plumbing problems in the kitchen cannot. For example, if your dishwasher leaks, you can remove its lower front panel and check the hoses attached to it. You may have a loose hose. If not, then you may have incorrectly loaded the dishwasher or filled it with too much detergent. However, if the problem persists, you may have a defective pump seal. Thus, you'll want to call an Atlanta professional.

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