Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re common problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be repaired with just a few easy steps.
With the right tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by tackling these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to resolve 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 expertise, it's easy to sort out common 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 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 situation is simple to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a drain snake to clear away debris from the pipe. Finally, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and search for any other blockages.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to phone an experienced plumber in West Jefferson. They can help determine the root of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, in most cases that’s a result of something blocking the drainpipe. However, it could also be a result of a much larger 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, 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 producing 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 develop leaks which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog 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 leave your house.
To clear a pipe, try using a plunger to force the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to retrieve and pull out hair or other debris and allow the water to run through. Other methods are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down 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 underneath your sink. This is accomplished by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and set a bucket below the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and retrieve any debris. Once it’s clean, put the pipe back together and rinse out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, inspect 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 overly ambitious bird or another critter. If this also doesn’t work, you may need to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in West Jefferson to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is the Water from My Sink So Cloudy?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is due to air bubbles in the water. This is usually harmless and can often disappear on its own. It could be the result 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 countertop. Odds are the air bubbles will dissipate and the water will eventually 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 the plumbing system. Excessive minerals collect until they affect 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 creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a reoccuring problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to clear away any debris or blockages. If that doesn’t work either, you may want to consult a professional plumber and let them work toward a solution.
4. Why Won't My Sink Stop Leaking?
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 a few of the more typical 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 because of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any fixture has not been properly tightened, or if it was not sealed all the way in its fitting, water can quickly 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 an adequate seal. If you see water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, there's a good chance that a new washer is necessary.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, causing weak spots and cracks. Corrosion is particularly common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to check for any warning signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start dripping from the seal. It's crucial to check for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be slowing water flow.
5. Why Is My Water Rust-Colored?
The most widespread reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust normally comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which can 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 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 work on the water line or your plumbing. If you buy your water from a municipal utility company, reach out to them to let them know about the discoloration. They should be able to notify you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
An expert plumber in West Jefferson can help you confirm if the discoloration is originating from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may get rid of the unsightly problem.
6. Why Did My Sink's Drainage Slow Down?
The most common cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely culprits for a clogged bathroom sink, while food residue and grease—along with soap scum—often are blamed for kitchen sink clogs.
Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:
- Plunger: One option to help you 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 loosen the blockage and dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t work, 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 referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Multiple chemical clog removers are available to break up blockages in sink pipes. Be sure to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.