Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be repaired with just a few painless steps.
With the correct tools and practical knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to remedy common problems will help you know when the issue is more complicated 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 sort out ordinary plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing issues and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Making a Gurgling Sound?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound coming out of your sink, it may be an indication of air or water trapped in the pipes. This can occur if there is a blockage in the pipes, or if a plumbing vent has become obstructed 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 sounds.
- If a plunger doesn't loosen the clog, you can try using a drain snake to clear away debris from the pipe. Last of all, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and search for any other obstructions.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to contact an experienced plumber in Mount Hope. They can help diagnose the root of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Won't My Sink Drain?
If a sink is not draining, in most cases that’s a result of something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it may also be caused by a more severe problem 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 materials can build up in the pipes, creating a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or busted, they may not be creating an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and allow the water to drain.
- Crud in the trap: The curved pipe at the bottom of the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or get leaks which stop it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might prevent your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they come out of your home.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to force the blockage through the line. If that doesn’t work, give some thought to using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to flow through. Other techniques 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 search for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe under your sink. This is accomplished by disassembling the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and place a bucket underneath the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and retrieve any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and rinse out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn't clear the blockage, 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 overenthusiastic bird or another critter. If this also doesn’t work, you may need to get in touch with a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Mount Hope to make sure there isn’t a significant problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is Cloudy Water Coming from the Sink?
Most of the time, cloudy or white-looking water is caused by air bubbles in the water. This is normally innocuous and can often clear up on its own. It may be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to find out if cloudy water was made by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. Odds are 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 problem and will want to talk to a professional for assistance.
The off-colored water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in your residence. Excessive minerals collect until they affect the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help resolve the issue. It can counter hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water ends up being a persistent problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mix to eliminate any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to consult a certified plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Does My Sink Leak?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has worn out or malfunctioned. Occasionally, it’s caused by a clog stopping the line.
Here are some of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a leak underneath the sink is a result of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any component 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: Over the years, the washer in a sink fixture can become worn out and fail to create a sufficient seal. If you notice water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s very likely that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear down over time, resulting in deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is particularly common when working with older or discounted materials, so it's important to keep an eye out for any warning signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Clogged Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start dripping from the seal. It's important to examine the drain for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is the Water from My Sink Discolored?
The most commonly encountered factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which may be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also appear when sediment gathers. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is failing or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, the water can be discolored from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from service on the water line or your plumbing. If you buy your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to inform them of the discoloration. They will be able to inform you if there has been any recent activity on the water lines.
An experienced plumber in Mount Hope can help you establish if the discoloration is originating from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may clear up the unsightly problem.
6. Why Is My Sink Draining Slower Than It Used to?
The most widespread reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely suspects for a clogged bathroom sink, while food particles and grease—along with soap scum—often are responsible for kitchen sink clogs.
Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:
- Plunger: One way to eliminate a partial clog is with a plunger. If there’s no standing water in the sink, fill it with enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to attempt 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 extract it manually. Sometimes, these are called plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Many chemical clog removers are available to break down blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.