5 Insanely Easy Kitchen Plumbing Projects You Can Do Yourself

SharkBite 1/2
SharkBite 1/2" Straight Coupler. © Lee Wallender

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 has got to be the only way to go, right?

Wrong.  As a recovering DIY plumbing chicken, I know that plumbing does not have to be difficult.  With the introduction of miracle materials like plastic PEX pipes and snap-in SharkBite fittings, cost-saving do-it-yourself plumbing is within your grasp.

 

Install or Replace a Kitchen Faucet

  • Level of Difficulty (1-5):  2
  • Why This Is Easy:  The hardest part is crawling under the sink base cabinet.  
  • How To:  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

  • Level of Difficulty (1-5):  2
  • Why This Is Easy:  Garbage disposals were meant to be DIY 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, and this problem can be easily solved with a devilishly simple trick.
  • How To:  Follow this tutorial to learn how to install a disposal.  And what's that simple trick for raising the disposal.  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.

    Install a Dishwasher

    • Level of Difficulty (1-5):  2
    • Why This Is Easy:  Less of a plumbing project than an exercise in fitting hoses and a wire into a narrow space, dishwasher installation is absolutely a do-it-yourself project.
    • How To:  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 have unintended effects.

      Connect To Existing Copper Pipe

      • Level of Difficulty (1-5):  3
      • Why This Is Easy:  Special snap-fit connectors called SharkBites allow you to connect copper pipe to PEX (or more copper) literally in a snap, no soldering necessary.
      • How To:  Buy SharkBite brand or any brand of push-fit brass plumbing pipe connectors.  After you remove burrs from the cut copper pipe with a special de-burring tool, SharkBite connector 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

      • Level of Difficulty (1-5):  3
      • Why This Is Easy:  Not as hard as it sounds, this project uses PEX pipes that cut, connect, and bend easily.
      • How To:  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 a cheap rotational type of copper pipe cutter or with a multi-tool.  Use the same holes in the studs to run cheap, easy-to-connect PEX pipe.

      Permits Needed?

      Most likely.  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.