Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These things 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 painless steps.
With the correct tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to resolve common problems will help you know when the issue is more complex and best solved by a professional.
So, don't let a clogged drain or a leaky faucet get you down—with the right info, it's easy to fix common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re hearing a gurgling sound emanating from your sink, it may be the result of of air or water trapped in the pipes. This can happen if there is a blockage in the pipes, or if a plumbing vent has become blocked or disconnected.
Fortunately, this problem is not too difficult to correct:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be creating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a drain snake to clean out particles 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 difficulties, it may be best to contact an experienced plumber in Mount Hope. They can help determine the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, usually that’s a result of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it may also be an indicator 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 junk 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 broken, they may not be making an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and permit the water to drain.
- Crud in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or form leaks which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might keep your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they come out of your house.
To unclog 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 clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to run through. Other methods are to try baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to disintegrate the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is done by dismantling the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first shut the faucet off and place a bucket below the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and retrieve any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and rinse with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn't clear the blockage, check where your drain vent comes out of 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 want to contact a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Mount Hope to make sure there isn’t a more substantial problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. This is usually benign and can often disappear on its own. It might be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby construction project.
One way to find out if cloudy water is created by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the counter. Odds are the air bubbles will dissipate and the water will eventually become crystal clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another predicament and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The cloudy water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals build up until they alter the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can stop hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a reoccuring problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to eliminate any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to contact a professional 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 broken down or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog blocking the line.
Here are several of the more commonly seen causes of sink leaks and how you can fix them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a drip 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 simply 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 satisfactory seal. If you see water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s very likely that a new washer is required.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, leading to damage and cracks. Corrosion is particularly common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to look for any signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can cause water to back up and start leaking from the seal. It's crucial to examine the drain for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most commonly encountered cause of brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from excess iron in the water, which might be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also develop when sediment builds up. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is declining or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, the water can be discolored from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from work on the water line or your plumbing. If you buy your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to notify them about the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to tell you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Mount Hope can help you confirm 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 Slow?
The most common cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial obstruction in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely reasons 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 clear away a partial clog is with a plunger. If there isn't any standing water in the sink, fill it with enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to loosen the blockage and dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t fix the problem, you may try using a plumbing snake—a long, thin section of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can extract it manually. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Multiple chemical clog removers on the market dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that the remover won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.