A kitchen remodel often focuses on enhanced beauty and conveniences with little concern about potential damages lurking in your older plumbing. The possibility of a floor flood from older plumbing seems hypothetical until you suddenly find yourself with toes-deep in water. Yet such disasters are common reasons for homeowner insurance claims, higher insurance rates, or even policy cancellations. Make a plumbing inspection a first priority in your kitchen remodel — this is not a situation where frugality is a virtue.
Sources of leaks
No, we’re not talking politics here. We’re talking about everyday appliances and fixtures:
- Washing machine hoses: Laundry facilities are sometimes in or adjacent to the kitchen. Clothes washer connectors are the number one culprit in internal house floods. Replace old, rubber, or worn-out hoses with a U.S. made braided steel hoses with an anti-flood connector.
- Sinks: Both metal and PVC pipes are subject to corrosion, especially at the U or P-trap under the sink. Having a contractor inspect the pipes and replace the P-trap is a wise investment. The P-trap also keeps dangerous sewer gases from backing up into the house. Placing a plastic waste basket under the trap can keep small leaks from becoming huge problems.
- Garbage disposers: Garbage disposers should have their own P-trap and should connect to the drain pipe beyond the sink P-trap connection. Disposer P-traps are, of course, as susceptible to corrosion as sink traps.
- Dishwashers: Some dishwashers drain into the garbage disposer, which can create a back-flush of dirty water into the sink. Have the dishwasher hose inspected for wear and leaks. Reroute or mitigate drainage into the disposer.
- Ice makers: The cold-water line that connects to refrigerator ice-cube makers can burst or corrode. Kits are available for replacing these hoses. If leaks originate in the copper tubing under the sink, your plumber can cut out and replace the faulty pipe using a soldering iron and lead-free flux.
- Hot water heaters: Hot water heaters last 10 to 15 years. Don’t wait the maximum time. Even if the water heater is in the garage or basement, water can soak into baseboards, walls, or downstairs ceilings and wood floors, creating a mold hazard that can threaten your health and your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Plumbing inspection costs can range from $50 to $150. Remember to also include bathroom plumbing. Inspection costs are downright cheap compared to flooded floors and mold damage. Call a contractor that specializes in mold, water, and sewage remediation the minute you have a floor flood. Have inspections every 3 or 4 years. You’ll preserve your investment in new cabinets and flooring by giving plumbing top priority.