Plumbing is important everywhere in your home, but it can be especially critical in your kitchen. You prepare food in that area, and things like clogged pipes can lead to unsanitary conditions that represent genuine health hazards. Bad plumbing can also cause everything from fire to ice, resulting in costly repairs, potentially serious injuries, and overall disruptions to your daily life.
The good news is that proper plumbing can minimize risk in your kitchen. Consider this your guide to understanding kitchen plumbing and the role that it plays in long-term kitchen safety.
The Dangers of Bad Plumbing in Your Kitchen
There are several ways that kitchen plumbing issues can lead to problems.
For starters, it can represent a health hazard if your water gets contaminated. Bacteria can be carried into food, spread around sinks and countertops, and more. Another potential hazard comes from leaky pipes: They can bring everything from pests to harmful growths of mold and mildew.
Plumbing issues can also be expensive to fix. This has nothing to do with the cost of plumbers and everything to do with the cost of materials and infrastructure. To reach a drain line, for example, you might have to dig into your floor and replace a costly metal pipe in accordance with your city’s sewage guidelines.
Bad plumbing isn’t good for the environment, either. It isn’t optimized to reduce water waste in your kitchen, and problems can have long-reaching consequences for municipal sewage grids.
Last but not least, issues in your kitchen can have a big impact on your everyday life. If you’re anything like most homeowners, you visit your kitchen regularly. Not being able to use your sink for cooking, washing dishes, or running appliances can cause significant inconvenience.
The Many Uses of Kitchen Plumbing
What does your kitchen plumbing actually do? Where does it run? Here are the most common places:
- Garbage disposal
- Fridge and freezer
- Special appliances like pot filler faucets
As for the purpose of the plumbing, it serves two equal but opposite needs. The first is delivering fresh, clean water to your sinks and kitchen appliances. The second is removing dirty water, or wastewater, from your sink, garbage disposal, and dishwasher.
Kitchen Plumbing and Sanitation
Sanitation is a key element in a safe kitchen. This goes for residential homes just as much as restaurants and hotels.
How does your plumbing affect your sanitation levels? For starters, proper plumbing will lessen the risk of contaminated water in your kitchen. If you have something like clogged drains, they can carry or trap harmful microorganisms in your water delivery system, infecting anything that comes into contact with them.
Another danger is if you have leaky pipes. They can lead to water damage in floors, cupboards, and other surfaces, which can in turn lead to the formation of mold and mildew.
Finally, piping issues can attract pests. Certain insects are drawn to standing water, including puddled water from long-dripping pipes. If you have any pipes with a backlog of food debris or other kitchen waste, you might also attract bugs and rodents with their odor.
Kitchen Plumbing and Environmental Safety
Did you know that the plumbing in your kitchen can play a role in your home’s overall eco-friendliness? This is because your kitchen pipes are connected to the same intricate system as your bathroom pipes. They have different drain lines to prevent cross-contamination, but they all lead to the same sewage line that flows out of your home.
In other words, your kitchen water winds up in the same place as your bathroom water, and it all eventually drains into your city’s wastewater management system. Good plumbing will ensure that this process is fast, efficient, and non-wasteful. It will stop contaminants from reaching your area’s lakes and other groundwater areas.
Plumbing can also be “green” when it reduces water waste. You can buy low-flow faucets, for example, that use fewer gallons per minute (GPM) than traditional faucets. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-flow faucets can reduce your household’s water consumption by anywhere from 25% – 60%. You might also consider the installation of new or adjustable aerators in your taps that will allow you to control your water flow.
Kitchen Plumbing and Household Appliances
Not every appliance in your kitchen needs to be hooked up to your water line. For those that do, however, your plumbing can make a difference in how well they operate and how long they last.
For example, think of a refrigerator with a built-in ice maker. It’ll need to be connected to your kitchen’s water delivery system to ensure a fresh and clean supply. If there’s an issue with clogging, draining, or leaking, it can cause damage to both your fridge and the area around it. Lingering problems can also affect the lifespan of the ice maker.
You might also want to install new tools and systems to revamp your kitchen plumbing and how it interacts with your household appliances. A tankless water heater, for instance, is a great energy-saver, and it can be installed directly in your kitchen to deliver endless hot water to your sink, with no basement or garage water tank required.
Kitchen Plumbing and Fire Hazards
Fire might not be the first danger that you think of when it comes to malfunctioning plumbing, but it’s a very real threat.
The main risk comes from FOGs: fats, oils, and grease. If you aren’t disposing of them properly in the course of food preparation, they have the potential to cause blockages everywhere from your own sink drain to your city’s municipal sewer system. They can also overflow from things like drain traps and seep too close to stoves and other gas sources, causing fires. If your cooking area has a range hood, FOGs can also build up on the surface and spark flames.
Another danger comes from the installation of the plumbing itself. If you improperly solder metal pipes, for instance, you’ll increase their flammability. If you lay down water lines without regard for gas lines, you’ll increase the odds of an explosive leak. For optimal kitchen safety, it’s best to have a professional handle your plumbing.
Kitchen Plumbing and Frozen Pipes
Fire isn’t the only dangerous element to kitchen plumbing. Ice is another. In the wintertime, pipes can freeze, thaw, and burst, flooding water into your kitchen and rendering it unusable.
The good news is that there are several ways to prevent burst pipes. You’ve probably heard of home remedies for warming up pipes after they freeze, but a more long-term solution is to prevent them from freezing in the first place. Ask a plumber about installing insulation in the form of pipe sleeves. You might also benefit from heat cables or heat tape.
The Importance of Kitchen Plumbing for Kitchen Safety
Kitchen plumbing and kitchen safety go hand-in-hand. When considering one, you should always consider the other. Contact a pro at Baker & Son’s Plumbing if you have any questions about your kitchen pipes and how they can be installed or improved in terms of safety. We do more than kitchen plumbing, too—reach out to us for any of your plumbing issues, not to mention storm shelters, in the Marion area!