If you notice a little puddle of water under your sink, the P-trap could be leaking. The P-trap is a "U" shaped fitting in your sink that works to safely dispose of water and prevent harmful gases from entering your home. When you run the faucet in your kitchen or bathroom, the P-trap replaces waste water with fresh water. You should fix the leak as soon as possible to avoid rotting floors. Here are some tips to fix a leaky P-trap.
Run water in the sink and look underneath to find the location of the leak. Keep a bucket under the trap to catch access water and wear gloves to protect your hands from contamination. If the connection is loose, try to tighten the slip nuts with pliers.
Tighten the nuts on a metal trap by hand and give them another half rotation with pliers. Tighten nuts on a plastic trap by hand and give them another ¼ rotation with the pliers. Test the trap for leaks.
Replace the Washers
If tightening the connections doesn't work, turn off water to the sink and try to tighten or replace the washers. The washers are supposed to form a water tight seal on each pipe joint, but they can harden with age. If the washers are plastic, check for misalignment.
Loosen the nuts with a pair of channel lock pliers to remove the trap and examine the washers. If the trap is PVC or plastic, you should be able to remove it by hand. Be prepared for debris to fall out. This is a good time to clean the pipe with soap, hot water, and a bottle brush to remove build up.
Work carefully to avoid damaging the trap, tail piece, and drain stub. If the washers aren't damaged, tighten them and test for leaks. Damaged washers will need replacing.
Install a New P-Trap
A corroded or broken pipe should be completely replaced. If you have a chrome pipe, replace with PVC plastic or ABS that won't corrode as fast. Use your old P-trap as a guide to buy the right size. Insert the short end of the new P-trap into place on the tailpiece
wrapping the threaded ends with plumber's tape. Screw the nut and gasket in place over the sink's tailpiece. Slide a nut and gasket over the trap's tailpiece on the drain stub tightening them with a wrench, but not too tight to avoid cracking the pipe.
After you screw everything back in place, test the new P-trap for leaks. If a new P-trap fails to solve the problem, find a residential plumbing repair specialist for assistance.