Kitchen Sink Replacement

I designated Sunday to be the day I would change out my kitchen sink.  It was actually more than just the sink.  It was also adding an instant hot water tank and an under-sink water filtration system.  This project has been a long time coming.  I bought the sink back in April and most of the other parts a month or so later.  But everything sat in the garage waiting for the right time.  In July, I had an electrician install an outlet for the water heater, but still, the time wasn’t right yet.  The sink was just sitting in the garage waiting for install.

With the upcoming garage door install, a renewed interest in clearing out the garage started, and part of that was clearing out that sink and the components.  I planned to do it on Sunday, initially budgeting a couple of hours.  Judging from my initial budget of a couple of hours, I then budgeted the whole day.  By Sunday’s end, I wondered why I didn’t start this on Saturday.

The process got off to a bad start right away.  Simply turning off the water under the sink was troublesome.  After a decade of never being turned, the shutoff valves were frozen and stiff from years of mineral deposits (the house has ridiculous calcium in the water).  Freeing them up introduced some minor leaks, so I had to shut the water off at the hot water tank.



Removal of the old garbage disposal and sink wasn’t too difficult.  Having the sink removed afforded an opportunity for cleaning, which is something that happens every once in a while, where I find inexplicable messes dating back to the previous homeowners.  As soon as possible, I dry-fit the new sink in place and was relieved it fit without any issues.  The last time I looked at my watch it was 10:30 and now all of a sudden, it was after noon.  I took a break for lunch.


Returning from lunch, I decided to plan the placement of the water filter and hot water tank.  This turned out to be harder than originally thought.  To plan properly, I needed to have the garbage disposal in place to see what room would be left over.  So I had to install the drains in the sink.  I had hoped to have the drains installed long ago, before even thinking about the sink install, but that never really happened.  Instead, I made a quick run to Ace Hardware to get plumbers putty, as well as a couple of fittings that I didn’t realize were not included in the hot water kit.

There’s not a lot of room under the sink and with the water pipes, drain pipe, and garbage disposal all in the way, my install options were highly limited.  I originally wanted the hot water on the right side and the filtered water tap on the left, but that was reversed out of space requirements.  I mounted the components on the walls and checked the clearance of everything with the sink back in place.  So far, so good.  While the sink was out and I had access to everything, I installed all the water taps for the new devices.  I wasn’t overly pleased that I couldn’t route the filtered water into the hot water tank.  The filtered water had a plastic water line in from the water supply and out to the faucet.  The hot water tank had a copper pipe from the water supply.  So, two taps were needed (one was not included with the install kit).

Next was to pre-install the faucets and taps on the new sink before I dropped it in.  This was fairly uneventful except for some confusion on how the washers and gaskets worked on the filtered water tap.  As I secured the pieces, I was highly impressed with the sturdiness of the sink material.  There was no flex like on the old sink.  Once everything was attached, it was time to commit the sink to the counter.  I laid down a line of caulk around the whole opening and dropped the sink in.  There was a lot of excess caulk to clean up, which was messy as hell.  I didn’t have any running water there to clean any of it up, so it was a back and forth trip between the laundry room sink with water, and a whole lot of paper towels.  There’s underside clips that need to be installed on the sink and because of the unreasonably tight clearance at the front of the sink, I only installed clips on the left, right and rear of the sink.  I’m sure it will be fine.

I’m still ignoring the minor leaks in the supply valves because I need to focus on the drain pipes.  I reused the gross old pipes from the previous sink (with some slight washing), but because of the new sink’s greater depth, nothing fit anymore.  Everything was a inch or so lower than the outlet pipe.  This was, at this hour, devastating.  I really didn’t know what the corrective course would be, because I didn’t know what pipes were available for me to purchase.  I took a few pictures of the pipes in their mismatched positions, bagged up some of the pipes and headed to Lowes.  It’s 7:00 now and they close in an hour.  If I don’t figure something out, I’m done for the day.

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Staring at dozens of potential options, I didn’t see exactly what I wanted.  As best I could determine, I needed a drain pipe that had a right angle and dropped an inch or so after the bend.  There’s no such thing.  One pipe caught me eye, which was a replacement drain pipe for the garbage disposal.  The illustration showed a straight pipe out of the disposal.  I didn’t know that was an option.  The disposal arrives with an L pipe.  So, if I replace the disposal drain pipe with a straight pipe, that raises everything up significantly.  But, that also means I have to extend the pipe after the T valve.  This is going to be my best bet, so I bought the straight pipe and two extension pipes (one extra in case of screwups).

Back home now, I struggle to piece everything together like some sort of puzzle game.  I had to shorten a couple of pipes to make them fit, and along the way, I had some really tight fittings that leaked until I could balance the pressure in different areas.  But I did get a leak-free drain test around 9:00.  That was as good a time as any to give up for the night.  The kitchen was a disaster with tools and rags and packing materials and undersink cleaning bottles all over the floor and counters.  And despite what seems like success, I still hadn’t addressed the leaking supply valves.  Aside from the obviousness that you can’t have leaks under a sink, I couldn’t have leaks on those valves because the hot water heater was installed underneath them and a leak would simply short out and ruin my expensive purchase.

I still had Sunday garbage to take out and I was sore.  Very sore.  Lots of cramping myself under the sink and getting up and down over and over again.  I also left the hot water shut off for the night.  I would have to open it back up first thing in the morning before showering, then close it again before leaving for the day.

The next day, I re-evaluated the leaks.  The one was easily fixed with some teflon tape.  The other required another trip to Lowes to buy a new brass washer for the inner assembly.  Of course you can’t just buy a washer (that I could find).  I bought a repair kit that had a bunch of rubber and metal washers and screws and o-rings.  All for one washer.  In the end, though, that fixed the leak.

I reinstalled the hot water tank and tested all the connections.  No leaks coming in or out.  I turned the water and electric back on and I had a fully operational sink.  And just to be absolutely safe, I placed a leak detector under the sink, so if it does start leaking at any time, I’ll get a 120db notification.