Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be fixed with just a few easy steps.
With the proper tools and information, you can save yourself time—and money—by dealing with these issues yourself. Plus, understanding how to take care of common problems will help you know when the issue is more involved and best solved by a professional.
So, don't let a clogged drain or a leaky faucet get you down—with the right know-how, it's easy to successfully repair common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing problems and how you can resolve them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound coming from your sink, it may be an indication of air or water trapped in the pipes. This can take place if there is a blockage in the pipes, or if a plumbing vent has become plugged or disconnected.
Fortunately, this situation is not too difficult to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be creating the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to clean out crud from the pipe. Finally, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and inspect it for any other objects in the way.
If you’re still having difficulties, it may be best to contact a seasoned plumber in Reinholds. They can help diagnose the root of the issue and provide you with answers.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, in most cases that’s due to something blocking the drainpipe. However, it may also be a result of a more severe issue with your plumbing system.
Common reasons why the water in your sink won’t drain:
- Blocked or clogged pipes: As time passes, hair, food scraps, grease, animal fats and other items can accumulate in the pipes, causing a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or damaged, they may not be making an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and allow the water to drain.
- Buildup in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or develop leaks, which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to leave your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they exit your house.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to move the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to run through. Other methods are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to disintegrate the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may be able to check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is achieved by taking apart the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and place a bucket below the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and pull out any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and flush it with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, check where your drain vent extrudes from your house to make sure it isn’t blocked by debris such as leaves, dirt or even a nest by an overly ambitious bird or household pest. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Reinholds to make sure there isn’t a more substantial problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
Quite often, cloudy or white-looking water is due to air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is harmless and can often go away on its own. It may be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to check if cloudy water is caused by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. It’s likely that the air bubbles will dissipate and the water will eventually go back to being clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another issue and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The discolored water also could be due to high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals accumulate until they alter the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help resolve the issue. It can stop hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a stubborn problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to eliminate any debris or blockages. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to contact a certified plumber and let them work toward a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip underneath a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has failed or malfunctioned. Occasionally, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are several of the more common causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most common causes of a drip underneath the sink is due to loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any part has not been securely tightened, or if it was not sealed all the way in its fitting, water can easily escape from these weak spots.
- Worn-Out Washers: After a while, the washer in a sink fixture can become worn out and fail to create an adequate seal. If you observe water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it's likely that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, leading to damage and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to check for any indications of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Blocked Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start seeping from the seal. It's essential to examine the drain for any evidence of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust normally comes from high levels of iron in the water, which could be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also appear when sediment gathers. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is declining or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, the water can be muddied from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from repairs on the water line or your plumbing. If you purchase your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to notify them about the discoloration. They will be able to tell you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Reinholds can help you confirm if the discoloration is from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may get rid of the unsightly problem.
6. Why Is My Sink Draining Slow?
The most widespread explanation for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely reasons for a clogged bathroom sink, while food scraps and grease—along with soap scum—often are at fault for kitchen sink clogs.
Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:
- Plunger: One way to clear away a partial clog is using a plunger. If you don't see any standing water in the sink, allow it to fill with enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to try to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t fix the problem, you may have to use a plumbing snake—a long, thin piece of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can yank it out. Sometimes, these are known as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Many chemical clog removers are available to dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Be sure to follow all directions, and that the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.