When a new stainless steel, double bowl kitchen sink arrives, often accompanied by new counter top – granite perhaps-- most homeowners are thrilled with the new look. For the thrill to last longer than an afternoon, however, the connections below the sink must be done right. That will prevent your next family get together or neighborhood event from turning into a disaster.
Often a homeowner chooses a sleek faucet to go with the new arrangement, sometimes including an on-off function that is activated merely by touch. All these pieces need to work together smoothly so you might not have to think of your kitchen drain system for years to come.
Copper vs. PVC
Many plumbers will endorse the use of copper fittings for long life and the ability to make the fittings snug thus limiting the leaks. Most copper pipes have a 50-year guarantee. Others would argue that traditional PVC pipe works just as well and is less costly.
When using copper piping, the plumber can slip a wedding-ring like band (ferrule) over the tube, put a dab of pipe dope on the ferrule, then tighten the nut securely over the ferrule. This small band will crimp tightly and provide an exceptional water-tight seal. The plumber will use two pipe wrenches to accomplish this, one to hold the pipe steady while the other is used to tighten the nut over the ferrule and into the fitting.
Hot and Cold Water Ready
Once this is accomplished the homeowner now can easily use these two pipes at the bottom of the cabinet to turn the hot and cold water off or on for the system. The cold-water pipe often has two fittings, one for the water to the sink above, and the other for a plastic line leading to the refrigerator ice maker.
The plumber will turn on the water flowing into the house at this point to test that these two shutoff valves are functioning properly.
Now the plumber will thread the new spout through the single hole in the countertop. At this point, the plumber will tighten a plastic ring around the spout, securing it to the underside of the sink.
So far, the process has been grade-school level plumbing. The process is about to get trickier, including some major squirming around inside of the cabinet while tightening the fittings. And look out for the cleansers, cleaners and other noxious chemicals that most people store underneath the sink.
Securing the Kitchen Sink in Place
The plumber is ready to come out from under the sink, gulp some fresh air and install the strainer baskets and tail through the openings in the bottom of the sink. Many people start this process by putting some plumbers putty to seal the baskets tightly at the bottom of the sink and not allow any leaks. He then puts caulking on the underside of the sink and lowers it into place. A large plastic nut is screwed into place on the underside of the sink, securing it into place. He then wipes away any excess caulking. With the hot and cold water copper fittings secure below, the technician can secure the tubes to carry the water to the hot and cold water faucets above.
Two pipes lead downward from the double sink drains; one of the pipes has a branch allowing for water to flow to the dishwasher. He will also connect the disposal as a part of the system. The plumber will have the pipes positioned to receive the wastewater and send it out of the house. The pipes will have a trap built in, which essentially keeps the pipe full of water when not in use and prevents any smells from seeping back into the house. The assembly will also have a vent which allows smells to be held until flushed out of the house as well. This allows the system to “breathe,” bringing in fresh air from the outside and exhaling smells.
Finally, a plastic tube is fitted into the copper (or PVC) tube to allow the outflow from the dishwasher.
The homeowners can now be confident that their new sink and its infrastructure is ready for a few thousand dishes being cleaned and plenty of neighborhood parties.