The Essential Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink is the central hub or focal point in every kitchen that looks after the entire kitchen’s cleanliness and Hygiene, which therefore makes it the most important element to any kitchen as kitchens are a place of work that come hand in hand with creating mess and unhygienic conditions.

Kitchen plumbing is designed around the kitchen sink and the best designs do this in a manner that is most practical.

Kitchen Sink Drain Design

How does the kitchen sink strainer work?

Most modern kitchen sinks will be designed with an overflow near the top of the sink, and a waste drain insert that accommodates what is known as a strainer or basket waste. Some older sinks do not have overflows but do have basket waste inserts.

Basket wastes can come with or without overflows. The basket wastes with overflows enable the sink overflow to be plumbed in with its own drainpipe that connects directly to the basket waste underneath the sink. 

The strainer insert can be removed by hand and this is designed for its very purpose, of catching and removing large kitchen scraps or debris, and general food waste caught in the sink before washing down the drain.

This scrap is normally either thrown in the rubbish bin or if organic, small and decomposable it can be flushed down the toilet, or put in worm farm / compost bin, or if a waste disposal is owned in the kitchen, it can be put into this. 

How to seal around the kitchen sink?

This should normally be left to the plumber or sink installer depending what type of sink you have. Some sinks are built into the bench top, some are inserts so it really depends on what sink you have as to how it is sealed. Most sinks are sealed using either a silicone or adhesive sealant or using a foam strip and compression clamps. 

What to look for in a Kitchen sink?

The Kitchen sink being the primary utility tool of any kitchen will always have a tap or faucet to deliver hot and cold water, a waste / drain including underneath pipework to take the water away, the sink basin itself to hold and contain water, and direct it into the drainage system.

There are a number of kitchen appliances designed to go hand in hand with the kitchen sink plumbing and here is a list of the more common known appliances: 

Dishwasher – connects to plumbing bellow sink, the waste connecting to the sink trap or a separate waste standpipe, and the water supply connected to bellow sink water supply. 

Waste disposal – these would normally take the place of the basket waste, using the same waste insert and actually often have their own separate sink basin to connect to, right next to the main sink. The waste would connect bellow sink to the sink waste pipe, normally trapped separately. Their primary purpose to mulch kitchen organic food wastes and dispose of them. 

Chilled water / boiling water or combined chilled and boiling water tap – these are often bolted to benchtop and discharge over the sink basin. The water supply is drawn from bellow bench sink plumbing and the appliance is normally positioned bellow sink in same cupboard space.

Understanding the Drainage System: Pipes and Traps

The Kitchen sink drain design should always have a trap that connects directly to the sink waste via a threaded union nut. It is always a good idea to use vented traps in the Kitchen however may not be necessary if meeting criteria for drain venting under the plumbing regulations. 

The Trap’s primary purpose is to create a water seal and prevent foul smells from entering the living space however they also provide a few other beneficial purposes and that is to reduce the accumulation of scum buildup on the drainage system, to reduce the amount of solid and foreign matter entering the drainage and causing potential blockages.

The trap is designed in a manner that it can be disconnected and cleaned out easily. 

Downstream of the trap will usually have a small diameter waste pipe that will often exit the house to outside and discharge into what is called an overflow relief gully.

If this installation is not possible or practical to the design, then the waste pipe often enters bellow floor or into the concrete slab (depending on the house) and then enter the common drainage system for the houses wastewater. This waste pipe will always enter a larger diameter pipe if done according to the plumbing regulations.

When does a kitchen sink need replacement? 

Most kitchen sinks are built from strong materials and tend to last a while however some may get damaged for various reasons just like anything else.

This would be the time to consider a Kitchen sink replacement however often it is either the benchtop that goes before the sink (often creating problems with water leaking into bellow cabinetry if the surface is uneven) and this is often when the homeowner would decide to go for a new Kitchen sink installation.

Also, another common situation of when the kitchen sink gets replaced is at the time of kitchen renovation.

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