Tips to Detect Water Leaks in the Kitchen


Leaks in the kitchen are common around the sink. With pipes generally located in and at the back of the cabinet, these leaks can go unnoticed for a long time. The cabinet under the sink can typically be home to cleaning supplies and other items that can hide a water leak. Remove all items from under the sink and check areas around pipe connections and under the basket strainer on a regular basis. Leaks may also appear on the countertop between the sink and the wall if water has had a chance to pool behind the faucet and seep under the surface product into the wood below. Water can run down the pipes into the floor or subfloor, rotting the sink base, the floor and the framing. Extendable sprayers or faucets are another common site for leaks. Dribble water around the sink rim and faucet base with a sponge. Then look for leaks below using a flashlight. Finding minor leaks early can mean a relatively easy fix. It can also prevent damage to surrounding areas.

Water leak under kitchen sink  Supplies under sink

Pay attention when you run the dishwasher. Water can leak around the front of the dishwasher which can indicate a problem with the door gasket. This gasket goes around the opening of the dishwasher and should create a watertight seal. Water can also leak under the tub of the dishwasher. A slow leak under the tub can go unnoticed for years. It can rot the floor and/or cabinetry in addition to causing odors and mildew. While the machine is running, pull off the kick plate and look around. Use a flashlight and look for signs of dripping. This should be done a couple times a year. There are a number of components under the dishwasher tub that can leak such as pump seals, water valves and hoses.

Leaking dishwasher

The sink and dishwasher aren’t the only spots in the kitchen to keep your eye on during a regular maintenance check. Look at doors and windows. Check that water runs out of the windows and not into the house. Re-seal the windows and doors as necessary which will also help prevent heat and cooling losses. This is easily done by caulking and replacing weatherstripping. A foam sealant can also be injected between the frame of the window and the frame of the house. Check countertops, cabinets and drawers for wear and tear. Looking inside cabinets and drawers is a good way to spot current leaks and past damage. Drawers should slide out easily. If not, have the drawer repaired to prevent possible injury later.

window leak with peeling paint on sill

The kitchen is generally the site of the most electrical outlets in the home. Water can cause an outlet to spark and short out. There are other causes for this as well. If sparking occurs or the outlet stops working, call an electrician to determine the nature of the problem. Electrical wiring that has not been protected with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) or arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) can be a safety concern. Installation of these special outlets will cause the circuit to shut down rather than start a fire. Consider updating these electrical systems.

GFCI requirements

Check at least every six months for leaks as a preventive measure. Pay attention to signs such as higher water bills, the sound of water dripping or running, strange water spots or moisture and musty odors which can indicate a problem. A regular check of the common areas and items in your kitchen that could leak or cause leaks can help avoid costly damage.


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National Property Inspections, founded in 1987, is among the oldest and most widely-respected names in the home and commercial inspection business. We will provide you with a thorough unbiased, detailed, confidential and professional inspection of your home or commercial building.


Jay Lynham National Property Inspections

About Jay Lynham National Property Inspections

Property Inspector | Jay has thirty years of experience in various aspects of the construction and building industries. He spent a good part of his career building roads and bridges in the Northern Virginia area. In addition, he ran the lab at a local asphalt plant. He held multiple VDOT certifications and was certified by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in soil and erosion controls. Jay holds a class A contractor's license in the state of Virginia.