Although plumbers often get portrayed in a less-than-glamorous light, their job is critical in making our homes as convenient as they are. Running water makes life a lot easier, but the work that goes into fitting each home with aptly-sized plumbing isn’t as easy as you may think. If you glance through the IPC, you’ll understand why plumbers charge what they do, given the vast technicality of the code.
If you’re trying to determine the proper size drain or piping for your kitchen sink, there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind. This article will give a quick overview of the general concepts of plumbing code and the specifics surrounding your kitchen drain.
What Is Plumbing Code?
The International Plumbing Code (IPC) outlines technical details surrounding plumbing regulations. Thirty-five states have adopted the IPC, but those that haven’t generally adopted all of or at least a portion of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). Your kitchen sink’s plumbing needs to remain in compliance with these regulations in your area.
Plumbing codes are very similar to traffic laws in a few aspects. They help ensure safe, efficient flow and tend to be the same across the board, although there are minimal (but important) differences depending on the area. Additionally, if you repeatedly violate these codes, you will get in trouble with the police of the plumbing world (building inspectors).
Since building inspectors can flag a plumbing system, making it illegal to use until the issues are fixed, it’s essential to meet the plumbing codes in your area. If you’re not sure if your kitchen sink plumbing complies with local regulations, check with a local licensed plumber or your local building department.
Are Kitchen Sink Drains Universal?
Yes, kitchen sink drains today are universal. They’re generally 3 ½ inches in diameter and are larger than bathroom drains, which are 1 ¼ inch in diameter. Kitchen sink drains are the same size as most standard-sized shower drains.
The sizing was intentional as it meets the specific needs of the kitchen sink. The drain and waste system is a critical component in your kitchen sink and is usually the general culprit of code violations. Suppose the drain or vent components are improperly installed. In that case, it may cause blockages, the release of dangerous sewer gases into your home, water contamination, and issues with the plumbing in the rest of your home.
What Size Should Drain Pipes Be?
Kitchen sink drains feed into a series of pipes nestled beneath the sink, whisking away drainage water. Generally, these pipes are made of PVC and are either 1 ¼ or 1 ½ inches in diameter. The 1 ¼ inch tailpiece attached to the drain is often found in older sinks and drain assemblies.
Most modern drains are usually fitted with a 1 ½ inch outlet pipe. This section of the drain pipe connects the P-trap to the main drainage pipe. However, some homes have 2-inch drain pipes, so you’ll need a reducing bushing to connect the lines. You’d need a 1 ½ inch to 2-inch reducing bushing, fitting the 1 ½ inch end to the kitchen drainpipe and the 2-inch end to the home’s main drain pipes.
What Is A Cleanout?
Your kitchen sink may have a cleanout, which is a removable threaded cap that gives you easy access to the drain pipes to remove blockages with a drain snake. For the most part, these are required on horizontal branches of drain pipe. However, because the P-trap has removable connections, it can serve as a makeshift cleanout, so many homes don’t have an additional cleanout underneath the sink.
You may find a cleanout under the sink, though, as it depends on the position of the sink within the entire drainage system. Usually, when there’s a cleanout underneath your sink, it serves the main drain, not just the sink.
Can I Use 2-inch Pipe For Sink Drains?
We discussed this question a bit in the last answer. Typically, a 1 ½ inch PVC pipe is used for sink drains, as it can adequately handle the water flow out of a kitchen sink. Two-inch pipe is commonly used for whisking water out of washing machines or shower stalls. However, it may be used as a vertical stack in a kitchen sink.
What Is The Minimum Diameter Of Pipes Used For Drainage of Waste Water?
The minimum diameter for pipes escorting wastewater away is 4 inches. Generally, it’s used as the building drain underneath floors or in crawlspaces to move wastewater out of your home and to your septic tank or sewer.
Additionally, a four-inch pipe might be chosen for use if it handles two or more bathrooms. Professional plumbers and home inspectors utilize pipe-sizing tables to determine what size pipe is appropriate where.