Home Repair Bathroom Sink - Down the Drain
Now that you are done washing up, the water has to go somewhere - preferably where it belongs, down the drain and out of the house without making any detours along the way. A leaking drain is another common home problem that is fairly simple diy plumbing repair. You should take note that the plumbing repair process discussed below is the same process that you would follow if you dropped something down the drain or had a severly clogged sink trap.
Whether your current sink drain pipes are brass (metal) or pvc (plastic), the basic setup is the same. You will typically have a straight pipe from the bottom of the sink (with or without a popup stopper), a straight piece of pipe coming from the wall, and p-trap connecting the two sections. Athough you don't see it, there will also be a T in the pipe just behing the wall connected to both your sewer/septic system and to a vent.
Home Repair Bathroom Pipe: How to repair/replace the sink drain pipes
The sink drain may be one of the easiest diy plumbing repairs you can accomplish. The only tools/supplies you may need are a pair of adjustable pliers and some teflon tape. If any of the pipes are leaking and/or the slipnuts, washers, etc are worn, you may just want to replace them all. You can usually purchase a pvc kit that includes the parts necessary to replace the pipes and trap for around $10.
- Tip: A Bathroom sink drains are fairly standard these days but make sure you check the length and size/type before you take a trip to the hardware store. Since the kits are fairly inexpensive, you may also want to pick up a spare to keep on hand for future plumbing repairs.
Shut off the water supply - While this is not really necessary it can't hurt - you don't want to have to clean have to worry about cleaning up if somebody turns on the water when you step away from your repair for a moment. You should have a shutoff valve for the water right under the bathroom sink you are repairing. If you do, turn it off (hand tight only please). If the shutoff is not where you are working you will need to find the nearest one to you - worst case your main water shutoff.
Remove the old drain pipes - Start by loosening the nut connecting the drain line to the bottom of the sink. You may have to get this started with your adjustable pliers but once started you should be able to remove it by hand. If your sink has a pop up stopper, make sure to unfasten the bar so that you will be able to remove the pipe. Next loosen the connection at the wall - once you get the nut started, make sure to hold the pipe assembly with your other hand so it does not fall and spill its contents.
- Tip: Before loosening any of the connections, make sure you have a bucket and a towel or some rags handy - there will be water in the line even if there is none in the sink.
Size up your new pipes - If you are replacing some or all of the drain pipes, measure the new sections against the sections they will be replacing. Some pvc kits you purchase may be "one size fits all" so you might need to cut them to length (using a basic hacksaw). Connect the sections of your drain assembly making sure to apply teflon tape to the threads.
Connect The Drain - Re-attach the drain pipes in the opposite order you removed them. First connect the wall side and then make the final connection to the sink. If you have limited room under your sink you may need to loosen one or two of the other nuts to fit the assembly into place. Once it is attached, makes sure that all the nuts are snug (don't over tighten!). I you had a pop up stopper, re-connect the bar and make sure that you can raise and lower the stopper.
Test the Drain - If you turned off the water, turn it back on now. Before running the water, make sure that your stopper is working (or that you know where it is if it is not a pop up). Turn on the cold water fauct and make sure that there are no leaks. Close the stopper and allow the sink to partially fill (about 1/3 should be fine), then open the drain and make sure there are no leaks. If you want to give yourself an added level of assurance that you have completed this plumbing repair correctly, leave a baking pan under the drain for a few days - if you don't see water in the pan after normal usage, you did the job right!