Easy Kitchen Plumbing Projects You Can Do Yourself

Plumber working on a kitchen sink
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Kitchen plumbing fills many homeowners' hearts with dread. Imagining kitchens flooded with two feet of water, they surrender before the battle starts. Hiring a plumber seems to be the only way to go. But not necessarily.

Many people who once believed that calling in a plumber was the only way to move a kitchen sink, install a faucet, or connect to copper pipe have discovered that it doesn't always have to be hard.

How Hard Are These Projects?

Basic and intermediate projects are quickly accomplished in under one hour and with simple tools. Other projects are a bit harder and may require you to devote about two hours, requiring simple tools and a couple of specialty plumbing tools.

For the more ambitious DIY plumbing projects, plan on half a day for this job. You likely will need to buy plumbing tools for this type of job. Finally, there are DIY plumbing projects that encompass at least one or two days. Build in time, too, in order to learn some of the procedures.

Move Your Kitchen Sink

What Makes This Easy

As long as you keep the relocated kitchen sink within the radius of the supply and drain lines, this is a simple job. Outside of that radius, it becomes more difficult because those lines will need to be relocated before moving the sink.

How to Do It

Under your kitchen sink are two lines coming in (hot and cold, both called supply lines) and one line going out (the drain). There may be other connections, such as garbage disposal cord or double sink drain lines. Those lines tend to have some free play, a certain amount of slack that allows you to shift the sink around a bit—but only a bit.

On the supply side, you can increase slack by purchasing longer water supply lines; this may give you another 6 inches or even a foot. Drain lines are not flexible, but they can be extended with an additional pipe. To extend the radius more than a foot or two usually means re-plumbing the actual supply pipes rather than merely attaching new flexible lines, as described earlier.​

Install or Replace a Kitchen Faucet

What Makes This Easy

The hardest part of installing or replacing a kitchen faucet is crawling under the sink base cabinet. To assist with that, build up a platform on the kitchen floor to match the level of the sink base cabinet, so that the edge of the cabinet does not cut into your back. You can use scrap lumber, rigid foam insulation pieces, or anything that can act as a platform.

How to Do It

When you buy a kitchen faucet, all needed parts are supplied. Make sure that you read the instructions because all faucets have their individual quirks. Keep track of the order that the gaskets and washers stack onto the bottom of the faucet, below the sink.

Replace a Garbage Disposal

What Makes This Easy

Garbage disposals were meant to be do-it-yourself jobs. While you can hire a plumber to do this job, you will be surprised at just how easy it is to do yourself. In fact, the hardest part is raising the disposal.

How to Do It

One simple trick for raising the garbage disposal is to fold up a dish towel and place it on a scissors car jack. Place the disposal on the towel and jack the disposal into position. You can also have an assistant hold the disposal in position until you can get it bolted into place.

Install a Dishwasher

What Makes This Easy

Installing a dishwasher is less of a plumbing project than an exercise in fitting hoses and a wire into a narrow space. One-for-one dishwasher installation is absolutely a do-it-yourself project. Have plenty of dry towels on hand to mop up spills.

How to Do It

Dishwasher installation has three hook-ups: a 20-amp electrical receptacle, a hot water supply, and drainage. For that reason, it is best to install the dishwasher next to the kitchen sink. Improper dishwasher installation can result in flooding―a minor problem if you are on-hand but a major disaster if you happen to be out of the house at the time.

Connect Pipe to Existing Copper Pipe

What Makes This Easy

Special snap-fit connectors allow you to connect copper pipe to PEX (or more copper) literally in a snap, no soldering necessary. Simply push the pipe into the connector for a solid connection.

How to Do It

Buy SharkBite brand or any brand of push-fit brass plumbing pipe connector. After you remove burrs from the cut copper pipe with a special de-burring tool, these push-fit connectors push straight on. Copper and PEX are attached with ease. If you want to continue with the copper, these pieces will connect copper to copper, as well.

Run Pipe Through Your Wall

What Makes This Easy

Running pipe through walls is not easy, yet it is not as hard as it may sound. This project uses PEX pipes that cut, connect, and bend easily. Once you get the wall open, pipes slide through holes augered into the studs with ease. The majority of this project is drywall work, not plumbing work.

How to Do It

If you already have a wall open, remove your corroded copper pipe as far back as possible without taking down additional walls. Cut the copper with an inexpensive rotational type of copper pipe cutter or with a multi-tool. Use the same holes in the studs to run easy-to-connect PEX pipe.

Do You Need Plumbing Permits?

In some cases, you may need to apply for a plumbing permit from your local permitting office. Installation of new kitchen plumbing will almost surely mean that you need a permit from your local authorities—even if you are doing it yourself.

Two permitting exceptions: replacement of the kitchen faucet and dishwasher installation. Check with your municipality to see if you need permits for those and other do-it-yourself plumbing projects.