Did you notice that I have a new “House & Home” category on my main menu? I want to stay with this category one more day and then we’ll return to an eclectic mix of eclectic posts about eclectic Southern California.
One of the most common problems I find during the course of a home inspection is the leak under the kitchen/bathroom/laundry/wet bar sink. Think about what’s in your sink cabinets: the underside of metal sinks, garbage disposals with metal casings, copper water supply pipes, and plastic or metal drainage pipes. Invariably the sink cabinet looks like this:
Do you see what’s common in those four pictures? I’ll give you a second.
Chemicals. Paints. Cleaners. Dissolvers. Detergents. Insecticides….
Sink cabinets are the wrong place to store that kind of stuff because, by their very nature, they are corrosive. Both plastic and metal are affected by corrosive chemicals, and continued corrosion and rusting of your metal and plastic plumbing, or the sink and garbage disposal, can eventually result in leaks.
Even when you think you have the cap screwed on tight, little corrosive atoms are escaping and attaching to anything and everything in your sink cabinet. And who ever tries to put the tape thingy back on a can of Ajax or Comet? No one. Corrosive, corrosive, corrosive.
Additionally, children could get to them, possibly resulting in injury or death. Who started this bad habit of storing dangerous chemicals in sink cabinets?
And no one ever takes all those chemicals out of the sink cabinets to inspect the cabinet floor and the water and drainage pipes — unless they’re moving, water is pouring out of the sink cabinet onto the floor, or a young child is in the hospital after gaining access to the chemicals.
It’s easy to check your sink plumbing on a daily basis with little effort on your part. Here’s how: Store unopened bottles and cans, and dry materials such as towels, bathroom tissue, and boxes, in sink cabinets, like this:
Notice that those two pictures have dry materials in the sink cabinets. If normally dry materials are wet when you remove them from under the sink, you know that you have a leak of some type. Remove whatever is in the sink cabinet and check for leaks in the water pipes and drain pipes, and check for deteriorated caulking/grouting around the sink and countertop. Have a licensed plumber repair or replace any plumbing components, and have the deteriorated caulking/grouting repaired.
The best places to store household cleaning chemicals are in cabinets that are out of the reach of young children in the garage or at an exterior location. If you have to keep them inside, an upper hallway closet, the cabinet above the microwave oven, or the cabinet above the refrigerator make good interior locations. If it means that you have to go buy a step ladder to get the chemicals each time you need them, I think that small inconvenience is far better than the “inconvenience” of going to a funeral for a dead child or visiting an injured child in the hospital for several days. I hope you agree.
Regardless of where you store the chemicals, make sure the container cover is tightly closed and secured so that it doesn’t spill if you accidentally knock it over or drop it.
If you keep chemicals in lower cabinets or drawers — and you shouldn’t — make sure those cabinets and drawers have child-proof latches on them if you have any children — yours, other family, friends, or co-workers — or pets in the house at any time.
One last advantage of keeping dry materials, especially towels, in the sink cabinets is that one day you might open the cabinet door and find something like this:
Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572
If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!