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Repairing Leaky Sinks & the Water Damage They Cause

August 02, 2019

If you’re a Surrey homeowner, you’re going to be naturally accustomed to dealing with minor problems and maintenance issues in your house.  Of these, one of the most common is easily a leaking kitchen or bathroom sink.  Anyone who owns a home will undoubtedly have a minor plumbing leak from time to time, and it’s important to know how to quickly deal with the issue!

One thing you absolutely don’t want to do is wait.  Leaks will never fix themselves, and every drip will cause a bit more water damage underneath the sink.  Most of the time the water damage won’t be serious, but it could become a major problem if ignored for too long.  In a worst-case scenario, where a home has been left unchecked for weeks or months, a leaky sink could possibly even cause the need for Vancouver Lower Mainland flood restoration services.

So, in this guide, we’ll be talking about how to fix a leaky sink, how to clean up any water damage caused, and how to evaluate whether the structural damage is bad enough that you’d need to call Surrey water damage cleanup services for help.

  1. Fixing A Leaky Sink

If you believe a sink is leaky, that’s usually going to be because you see a puddle of water beneath the sink.  However, it’s important to verify that the sink itself is the problem.  The leak could potentially be behind the sink, in the wall, in which case you’d need to call in a professional plumber.

To check for this:

  • Wipe all the pipes beneath the sink dry
  • Stopper the sink, then fill it with a couple of inches of water
  • Look under the sink to see if it’s leaking
  • If not, unstop the sink so the water flows out
  • Again, look under the sink for a leak

This will tell you quickly whether the leak is in the sink or from some other source.

If you’re having trouble identifying the exact source of the leak, try adding a few drops of food coloring to the water.  That will make the actual leaking point easier to spot.  Just be sure to put down a towel you don’t care about since the dye will most likely stain whatever it drips onto.

Also, as you attempt to fix the leak, periodically run this test to find out if your fix worked.

Now for a couple of specific scenarios:

1 – Loose fastenings

Fortunately, the most common reason for a sink to leak is also the easiest to fix: some of the fastenings have come loose, particularly the nuts around the U-bend.  Very often, all you’ll need is a large wrench to tighten up the fastenings beneath the sink.  With them tightened, the leak stops.

2 – Loose seal

Don’t underestimate the damage a loose seal can cause!  All the fittings beneath the sink have washers, O-rings, and other seals intended to help contain the water.  If the problem isn’t that the fastenings themselves are loose, a rogue seal can easily be the problem.  So, if tightening the connectors didn’t help, examine -or just replace- all the washers beneath the sink.  Remember, all seals can come loose.

3 – Broken pipe

If it’s not the tightness or the seals, then the other common reason would be a crack in one of the pipes, or potentially even the sink itself.  Ultimately, the only solution here is to replace the part which is broken or have a plumber do the work if you prefer.  You can stop the water damage short-term by wrapping it in waterproof tape, like Gorilla Tape, if you happen to have some – but this is ONLY a stopgap measure.  The tape will fail, given enough time, and you’ll be leaking again.

If it’s none of these things, then you probably will need to call in an emergency water damage repair company to address the problem.  There might be multiple leaks involved.

  1. Cleaning Up Small Amounts of Water Damage

A single leaky sink is unlikely to do too much damage to the floor or cabinetry beneath if it hasn’t been leaking for an extended amount of time.  In many cases, you can clean up the damage yourself.

However, it’s important to first understand the danger here.  Water damage, by itselfdoes very little harm to most things if it’s dried out.  The problem is that damp conditions encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and other potentially harmful microorganisms.  There’s a risk of black mold developing, which is actively toxic to people and most mammalian pets.

So, emergency water damage restoration services are all about making sure everything saturated is thoroughly dried out, so it doesn’t become a host to toxic molds.

1 – Clean up the standing water 

This is an easy and obvious part.  Clean up all the visible water beneath the sink, using towels or whatever you have on-hand. If you happen to have a wet vac capable of suctioning up the water, all the better – this will help get any water which has gotten into cracks or seams.

2 – Removing the lingering moisture

The best way to complete the water cleanup is with A) a heat source, and B) a de-humidifier.   For example, a space heater running for a few hours near the water damage, along with a de-humidifier running a safe distance away, will do a good job extracting the remaining water from the area.  Other heat sources, such as a hairdryer, can potentially also get rid of minor moisture issues.

The de-humidifier isn’t strictly necessary, but you’ll need to run the heat source for longer if you don’t have one.  And don’t leave a heat source like a space heater running for too long unattended, especially if there is exposed wood nearby.  You don’t want to swap water damage for fire damage, after all.

Also, if the leak occurred in an upstairs room, you’ll want to check out the ceiling immediately below the leak to make sure it didn’t seep all the way through.  If it has, that’s more to dry out and clean up.

3 – Replace anything which has been damaged

Many types of vinyl tiles or wood cabinetry (especially wood veneers) may end up permanently warped if they were soaked in water for too long.  You don’t want to leave these in place, especially since they’ll be particularly inviting for mold and mildew.  Replace them at your earliest opportunity.

4 – Monitor the area.  

For the next few days, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the area around the leak.  First, you want to make sure the leak doesn’t come back.  Additionally, there is still the chance of mold\mildew growing, which you’ll want to watch out for.

Also, use your nose!  If you smell rot, that’s a sure sign of mold and you’ll need to hire an emergency water damage cleanup crew to restore your Surrey home to its former glory.

If You See Mold, Don’t DIY – Call in The Experts

Mold and mildew damage cleanup aren’t generally things a person can safely handle by themselves.  Nor do you want to leave it to chance because black mold can be legitimately life-threatening.

If you have water damage in Surrey from a leaky sink dish washer toilet or another source and you see mold: contact Malkin Cleaners by calling (604) 970-9052. We’ve been Surrey’s choice for water damage cleanup for nearly a century.