Replacing Your Kitchen Sink Strainer Like a Pro

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A sink strainer is an indispensable component for any kitchen, making it incomplete without one. Its significance in household applications cannot be overstated. While we may also encounter sink strainers in showers and bathtubs, our focus today will be on their vital role in the kitchen. Additionally, we will guide you through the process of replacing them in case of severe damage.

The presence of a sink strainer is vital for proper drainage. Without it, you may encounter plumbing problems due to solid items clogging the pipes and water creating a messy floor. Moreover, the water flow becomes turbulent and fast, leading to potential damage to the pipelines over time.

In the absence of a strainer, solid debris can also obstruct devices connected to the main lines, necessitating costly repairs if not promptly addressed. That's why manufacturers often include sink strainers, allowing only water to pass through while preventing larger items from causing blockages.

The kitchen strainer is positioned at the opening of the sink, effectively capturing larger debris or mess within its basket-like structure for easy removal and cleaning. By doing so, it safeguards your plumbing system from potential damage caused by water and small objects.

Given its crucial role, the sink strainer stands as an immensely important component in any kitchen.

Before delving into the process of replacing a kitchen sink strainer, it is important to acknowledge that they are available in various styles. Familiarizing yourself with the specific shape or style of your sink strainer is a crucial initial step.

1. Drain Strainer: This is the basic type of strainer designed primarily for draining water from the sink. It is the simplest form and can be easily removed and replaced in the sink.

2. Stopper Strainer: Similar to the drain strainer, the stopper strainer also facilitates drainage. However, it offers an additional feature - the ability to be turned on and off. When in the "on" position, it stops the water from draining. Conversely, in the "off" position, water flows normally while preventing larger objects from entering the plumbing system.

3. Double-Cup Strainer: This particular model is more complex compared to the other two types but is also commonly found. In a double-cup strainer, the second cup serves to secure the strainer in place. It aids in filling and draining the sink with water.

These variations in sink strainer designs cater to different needs and functionalities in the kitchen.

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer

If you notice a water puddle in the cabinet beneath your kitchen sink, it indicates the need to replace the sink strainer due to leakage issues. This commonly occurs when the basket of the strainer malfunctions.

The positioning of the strainer may become disrupted by the water flow, and aging plumbing fittings can also contribute to leakage problems.

To determine whether the problem lies with the strainer itself and not the plumbing fittings, there are several steps you can take. Start by inspecting the pipe joints located beneath the sink. Loose fittings in these joints can lead to the issue. If the joints are secure and no leaks are detected, it indicates that the strainer requires replacement.

However, it's important to note that damaged strainers can also cause problems with the pipeline fittings. Large objects passing through the strainer or a turbulent water flow can cause the fittings to loosen.

To proceed with the replacement, gather the necessary tools and materials such as plumber's putty, channel-type pliers, and, of course, the new sink strainer. Ensure that the replacement strainer is the exact model already installed in your sink, which can be a double-cup, stopper, or a simple drainer.

Step #1 - Remove the Strainer

The removal process is straightforward and does not require any extraordinary skills. Begin by disconnecting the pipes that are connected to the sink strainer beneath the sink. However, keep in mind that this cannot be done using just your bare hands.

You will need channel-type pliers to loosen the grip of the nut, which is typically located on the drain fitting directly under the sink. Once the pipe and fitting are successfully removed, proceed to remove the strainer itself.

Again, pliers are required for this step. The nut is positioned on the tailpiece, which becomes visible once the pipe fitting is detached. It's possible that the nut may be corroded due to its age and constant exposure to water leaks. If it proves difficult to remove with pliers alone, you can apply some penetrating oil to help loosen its grip. Once the nut is removed, you can easily lift the strainer from the top.

Step #2 - Cleaning and Preparing

It is time to clean the sink and strainer and prepare it for the replacement.

Before you install the new model in it, clean the sink first. There can be plumber's putty inside the sink. It is pertinent to remove it as if you will install the new model on top of it, it would disturb its placement and cause the leakage again.

You can use a putty knife or abrasive pad to remove it.

Once it is removed, it is better to use the dishwashing liquid to clean the entire sink. Ensure that the old plumber's putty isn't anywhere near the opening of the sink.

Now, separate the parts of the new strainer, clean them with a cloth, and loose the screws too which are usually on the retainer.

Step #3 - Replace the New Strainer

Before proceeding, it is necessary to apply plumber's putty. Take a portion of the putty and knead it with your hands to soften it. Ensure that it is evenly applied around the opening of the sink where the strainer will be installed.

Next, proceed to install the new sink strainer. Begin by placing the flexible washers and metal washers in their designated positions. To clarify, the installation process is essentially a reverse of the removal process. Once the strainer body is securely positioned, tighten the screws located on the tailpiece from underneath the sink.

Exercise caution while tightening to avoid applying excessive pressure that could potentially compress and damage the rubber washers.

Concluding Thoughts

And there you have it—your kitchen sink strainer has been successfully replaced!

The process is simple and doesn't involve too many steps. Once the new strainer is securely in place, proceed to re-install the drain pipes and carefully check for any leaks.

To effectively detect leaks, fill the sink with water and ensure it doesn't drain. Then, release the water with a sudden burst of pressure. This technique helps reveal any leaks immediately. Without this method, it can be challenging to identify leaks in kitchen sink strainers, as the water tends to seep out slowly.

By following these steps, you can confidently replace your kitchen sink strainer and ensure a properly functioning and leak-free system.

Avatar for Shelly Rhoades
by Shelly Rhoades
Having recognized the need for accessible and affordable solutions in the remodeling industry, Shelly founded Affordable Kitchen and Baths with the mission of helping homeowners create their dream spaces without breaking the bank. Her dedication to providing reliable advice and quality resources has garnered her a loyal following and established her as a go-to resource for anyone looking to transform their kitchen or bathroom.

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