Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be solved with just a few painless steps.
With the correct tools and skills, 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 realize 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 sort out straightforward 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 the result of 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 blocked or disconnected.
Fortunately, this issue is not too difficult to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to clean out buildup 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 Elk River. They can help diagnose 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, usually that’s due to something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it also can 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 materials can build up in the pipes, causing a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or busted, they may not be making an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and enable 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 restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might prevent your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they come out of your residence.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to push the blockage through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other strategies are to try baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down 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 accomplished by taking apart the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and place a bucket below the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and pull out any debris. Once it’s clean, put the pipe back together and wash it out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn’t work, look at 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 household pest. If this also doesn’t work, you may need to contact a knowledgeable professional for plumbing repair in Elk River to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
Quite often, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is harmless and can often go away on its own. It might be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a neighborhood construction project.
One way to determine if cloudy water is created 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 escape 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 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 alter 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 harming your pipes and creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes 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 remove any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to contact a skilled plumber and let them find a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has worn out or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog stopping the line.
Here are a few of the more commonly seen causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most frequent causes of a drip 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 right 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 likely that a new washer is necessary.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, resulting in deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to check for any signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Blocked Drains: A clogged drain can make water back up and start leaking from the seal. It's important to always check for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most commonly encountered reason for 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 builds up. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is faltering 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 get your water from a municipal utility company, be sure to contact them to let them know about the discoloration. They should be able to tell you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Elk River can help you figure out 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 commonly encountered 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 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 eliminate a partial clog is to use 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 work, you may try using 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: Several chemical clog removers are available to dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that the remover won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.