Asked on Jan 10, 2015

Leaking pipe beneath sink

Jean M
by Jean M
I have what seems a slow leak at the connection of the vertical pipe beneath one of my sinks. When ever water is leaving the sink, I notice the pipe is wet. So, I guess my question is, without hopefully having to call in a plumber (however, I'll do that if I am unable solve the problem), what would be the best way to stop the slow leak and what materials would be the best to use? NO, I'm not a helpless female, however, in this case, I just want to see if I can do the job and what would be the best way? I am attaching a picture of the pipe I am speaking about, it's the vertical pipe on the right side, beneath the sink.
Thank you :)....
the pipe become wet beneath the screw or tightner above the white pipe
I see dampness occurring at the screw turner part beneath the metal part of the sink. does that make sense?
I don't see any water/leaks or wet attachments at the left vertical pipe.
  30 answers
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Jan 11, 2015
    As a female, I can say with certainty, no, I am not helpless! :) Looks like the connection may have been bumped by something that may have been under the sink. It looks like the fittings are cross threaded, or caty wampus (lack of a better word)! They just need to be undone and re done straight. I also use TFE paste, (teflon) for all threaded pipe, good for up to 10,000 psi. If they threads are damaged, it may be a good idea to buy a replacement. They aren't expensive, nor are they difficult to install. You'll also need some good pliers, I use a Rigid aligator plier that's adjustable. Those fittings come in kits, and have a ring washer, and it's important to get that on correctly. Hopefully there is a diagram on the package, or someone in plumbing that can show you. Have fun! And no, I don't use pink tools....:)
    • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
      @Adrianne C thank you. Darn it, the area I took a picture of it was dry after running my dish washer, so maybe that's not the culprit.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    thank you. I ran my dishwasher last night, and the area that's in the pictures appeared to be dry. Now, there was water on the bottom of the cabinet, more on the left side so I'm guessing the water is coming from one of the pipes since the left water pipe was damp. I'm assuming that there's a "glitch" in the connects of tubes that go to it, or maybe the pipe is just getting old?--or do those water pipes get old?? I have no idea :). So, is the water pipe that is entering below the sink replaceable? Like I can go out to Lowes maybe and get a pipe to replace the water pipe? or should I have a Plumber come out and take a look at it since if it keeps leaking, the cabinet flooring will get more damaged, since it's been damaged before with a a previous leak before?
  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Jan 11, 2015
    Take some time to find out exactly where the leak is. Once you know, you can use a pipe wrench to unscrew the connection. You may have to replace the piece entirely, and when you do, use teflon pipe tape at every connection.
  • Joy Chapman Joy Chapman on Jan 11, 2015
    Stacy, you could also try siliconing around the pipe before you take all of it apart. It comes in a tube and you can get it at Wal Mart in the hardware section in the aisle where the tape and glue is.
  • Joy Chapman Joy Chapman on Jan 11, 2015
    oops sorry Stacy I meant that for Jean.
  • SusanS SusanS on Jan 11, 2015
    Without calling in a Plumber, one inexpensive way to seal off the leak, is with GOOP. AKA, E-6000. Clean and dry the area with a fine tooth comb and use a popsicle stick to smear the GOOP into and around all the joints. Wait 8 hours before using the drain. It works for me. Good luck.
  • Al Al on Jan 11, 2015
    #1 I worked at Ace Hardware for 5 yrs. The connection is incorrect. Take pics to local hardware store ( not Menards or Home Depot) wher you can get some good advise. You could do the silicone rubber thing but that's NOT REALLY addressing the problem. If there is a plastic washer (I suspect not by looking at it) you could try replacing it. Might work.
  • Kat Kat on Jan 11, 2015
    I had an issue with my faucets leaking on occasion. It was a pain to figure out what was leaking-pipes, dishwasher, or something else. The faucet's had a bad cartridge. It only leaked occasionally, which made it hard to find out what was leaking. Mine was a price pfister and this was a known problem.
  • Jay Young Jay Young on Jan 11, 2015
    I agree with Al. The vertical pipe in installed at a slight angle and the connector "nuts" do not appear to be seated properly. You can see the black mold/algae build-up where it has leaked for a long time. Silicone and GOOP are NOT the answer. You need to loosen and remove the pipes, clean with soap and water and reconnect with everything straight and true. You can also take your photo to local hardware store and they can show you how the pipes fit together using their pipes in stock. Do not overtighten with a wrench. These are thin walled pipes and usually only require hand tightening.
  • Pete Wells Pete Wells on Jan 11, 2015
    Jay is correct! Take the offending joints apart, and take them, with these photos, to an Ace Hardware for advice, you'll probably need to replace some nylon slip-joint washers, total cost of a leak-free repair should be less than $5..
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    thanks so much guys !!!!! you are all so very helpful. When the next weekend comes up, I'll get over to lowes and get some assistance ;).....I love this site and all the folks on it, especially Y'all !!!!!!!!
  • Jane Jane on Jan 11, 2015
    An easy way to find the source of the leak is to wrap toilet paper around the fittings and turn on your sink. Watch to see what gets wet first. I have used this technique many times.
    • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
      @Jane Ha ! thankyou, I did do that. And found the picture below :)
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    I did get beneath the sink to check things out.
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Jan 11, 2015
    Have the same problem under vanity sink in guest washroom. But it only happens once in awhile so put bucket under source. No drips.
  • Gail Gail on Jan 11, 2015
    I agree try to find the exact leak but in meantime put a cookie sheet or pan where most of the drips are to protect cupboard. I also agree maybe it was bumped first try to tighten the fittings see if that helps.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    Thank you, Nancy. I would do that but I can't put a bucket around the vertical pipe, LOL. Gail, thank you too. I've put a cloth around the pipe until I can get the tool to tighten the screws. I should spend the money to replace the entire counter, top and bottom since the flooring of the area beneath the sink has had leaks before and the wood has split in "layers" kinda. I need a money TREE LOL.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    Thank goodness in my previous photos, where I thought the leak was, it's not :)...something is going right in my direction ;)
  • Judy Judy on Jan 11, 2015
    From what I can see it looks like the horizontal pipe between the drains is just a bit too long, forcing the connections from both drains to that pipe to feed in at a slight angle, which prevents a good seal.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 11, 2015
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. For example, what would be best pipe or the paste/tape stuff if I can tighten the pipes :).
    • OnBlissStreet OnBlissStreet on Jan 21, 2015
      @Jean M this is what I would try to see if it's your drain causing the leak, your description sounds exactly like what I was dealing with when I put in my new sink- put a small bead of clear silicone caulk around the drain inside your sink. Let dry for recommended time then run the water and see if it leaks. if not, you know it was your drain and you've just fixed it.
  • Rebekkah Rebekkah on Jan 11, 2015
    take a part clean and dry all pipe nylon seals and collars, if no gaps cuts or damage to them re assemble if damaged take to local home store and buy exact same pieces (goop only makesa mess and heaven forbid you ever have totake apart for any other reason) using clean dry plumbers tape and a small level to make sure all is lined up properly it should only take about an hour from start to finish
  • Ida Granny Ida Granny on Jan 11, 2015
    When I first became a home owner I had the same thing happen to me. I took it apart cleaned it up, put everything back in place then I caulked around the pipe. And I could reopen if needed.
  • KJa978461 KJa978461 on Jan 12, 2015
    Kathy Darien, CT You will need: My favorite tool for anything that needs twisting, or tightening are adjustable "channel lock" long-handled pliers, and white teflon tape sold in HW or box stores. Remove threaded coupler ring, and clean threads, and I mean really clean w/ toothbrush and windex to remove oils etc. Next wrap teflon tape around metal threads then carefully slide the white coupler ring up and gently tighten till it is snug, and grips in place. This fix is temporary, but lasts about a yr if everything is correctly tightened, but not overtightened. As for your disjointed crooked hookup below, they sell these black rubber connectors that are flexible and are held in place w/ silver pipe clamps that are tightened w/ a screwdriver around the circumference of the flex connector. These you really really want to tighten. Personally, I hate working w/ the PVC replacement drains b/c if you start out crooked on the threads, the kit is ruined. Dry fitting gently is the best method to gauge how much pipe or flex tubing you will need. Also, measure the inside diameter of all the parts before you go to the HW store. I no longer try to fix kitchen sinks.
  • Timmy jimmy Timmy jimmy on Jan 12, 2015
    it looks like 1 of two potential issues. First the metal nut at the bottom of the strainer basket that holds the first pipe to the strainer basket should have what is called a tailpiece flange washer. It is not the beveled washer like you connect the other pipes, it should be a washer with a 90 degree shoulder that fits inside that first pipe underneath the basket. That section shouldalso get pipe joint compound paste or commonly called pipe dope. It is a gritty toothpaste like consistency. The other potential is the strainer basket leaking at the sink joint. On loosen the 4 inch big nut borring clean off all the old plumbers putty and install new plumbers puttyand make sure you work it in your hands several minutes so it becomes very pliable then reassemble all your drain system . On all of my joints underneath the sink I use the pipe dope on both sides of all the joints and guaranteed not to have a leak
  • Darlene dynka Darlene dynka on Jan 12, 2015
    It happened to me, but I didn't realize it. Now the floor of the cabinet AND the floor underneath it all must be replaced.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 12, 2015
    Thanks so much y'all !! I'm going to get out this w/e and see what I can find, get under sink and see if I can fix it.
  • Kim Kim on Jan 12, 2015
    There are seals at every connection of the draining system under the sink including the strainer basket. I had the same problem. You must find where the leak is. It looks as if one of the pipes are at an angle. The fittings on the white pipe should only be tightened by hand. Do not caulk anything the point of tightening the fittings by hand is so that you can replace any parts when needed. Good luck.
  • Sharbearpaintperson Sharbearpaintperson on Jan 12, 2015
    If you can't find the leak, right away, you might try, leak seal, by spraying it around, the pipe, or pipes, this will stop leaks for the time being, just google it, and find all the many uses. In the glue area of your box stores, there are many plumbing products, for many uses.
  • Old Spark Old Spark on Jan 12, 2015
    I believe the cause of your leak is the pipe coming down from the sink is not straight. If you make sure each pipe enters the next fitting straight they are much more likely to seal properly.
  • Carol S. Carol S. on Jan 13, 2015
    There are many problems going on, but easy fixes with just a hacksaw (hopefully). First of all, you should address the crooked short white PVC pipe going into the metal drain. On the sink on the RIGHT, loosen the metal screw and the white PVC screw just below it, only enough to move the small white PVC pipe. Next you'll need to loosen the white PVC screw that is between the two drains (middle of the long drain pipe). See if you can push the right side of the long white PVC pipe to the LEFT about 1/4 inch. If you can GREAT, straighten the small white PVC pipe, then just retighten the three screws and you're done. TEST for leaks. HOWEVER - If you can't move it to the LEFT any, you'll need to REMOVE the right long pipe and cut off about 1/4 inch with the hacksaw at the joint in the middle between the 2 drains. Reassemble and retighten all screws and TEST for leaks. Hand-tighten only on all screws, but use a bit of UMPH for the last turn. Too tight can crack the PVC. If this doesn't work, time for someone who knows how to deal with this, as there may be something else going on (dishwasher connection, water pressure regulation, etc.)
    • Jean M Jean M on Jan 13, 2015
      Thanks Carol. Going to try fixing the pious and h2o pipes, the leak is coming from left pipie😜
  • Jean M Jean M on Jan 17, 2015
    well, I've decided to go with a plumber on this job. I don't have the expertise to work on this job :), nor the Brains LOL. Thank you all for your comments.