Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These problems may sound frightening, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, plenty of them can be solved with just a few simple steps.
With the right tools and knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by dealing with these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to remedy common problems will help you realize 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 straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at several frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can take care of them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re concerned by a gurgling sound coming from your sink, it may be an indication 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 issue is simple to correct:
- First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sound.
- If a plunger isn't effective, you can try using a drain snake to clear away crud from the pipe. Finally, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other blockages.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to call an experienced plumber in Warrenton. They can help identify the reason you are having the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink isn't draining, usually that’s a result of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it also can 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: Gradually, hair, food scraps, grease, animal fats and other junk can collect in the pipes, producing 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.
- Debris in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or form leaks which restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might keep 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 push the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, think about using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other techniques are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to disintegrate the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may have the ability to look 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 cleaning out the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and put a bucket underneath the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and pull out any debris. Once it’s clear, put the pipe back together and wash it out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn't clear the blockage, inspect 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 other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get a hold of an experienced professional for plumbing repair in Warrenton to make sure there isn’t a significant problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is caused by air bubbles in the water. This is usually innocuous and can often disappear on its own. It can be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby construction project.
One way to determine if cloudy water is caused by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the table. 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 talk to a professional for assistance.
The off-colored water also could be due to high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals collect until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may be of assistance in fixing the problem. It can prevent hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water ends up being a reoccuring problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution 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 beneath a sink is frequently because a plumbing fixture has worn out or malfunctioned. At times, it’s caused by a clog blocking the line.
Here are some of the more commonly seen causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a puddle of water underneath the sink is a result of 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 quickly 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 a sufficient seal. If you observe 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 corrode over time, causing deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or discounted materials, so it's important to check for any signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Clogged Drains: A clogged drain can cause water to back up and start dripping from the seal. It's important to look for any evidence of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread cause of brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from high levels of 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 form if the filtration system is faltering or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
In some cases, the water can be stained from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from repairs on the water line or your plumbing. If you get your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to tell them about the discoloration. They should be able to inform you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Warrenton can help you figure out if the discoloration is coming 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 common cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely suspects for a clogged bathroom sink, while food residue 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 method to remove a partial clog is using a plunger. If there’s no 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 need 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: Multiple chemical clog removers being sold today break up blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.