Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These things may sound frightening, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be solved with just a few easy steps.
With the proper tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to resolve common problems will help you tell 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 fix common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at several 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 a sign 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 problem is not too difficult to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a drain snake to remove particles from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and search for any other obstructions.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to phone a seasoned plumber in Mankato area. They can help determine the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with lasting solutions.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is not draining, generally that’s because of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it also can be a result of a much larger problem 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 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 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 at the bottom of the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or get leaks, which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your home.
To clear a pipe, try using a plunger to push the blockage through the line. If that doesn’t work, give some thought to 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 check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is done by disassembling the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and place a bucket under 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 clear the blockage, inspect where your drain vent exits 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 want to get a hold of an experienced professional for plumbing repair in Mankato area to make sure there isn’t a more substantial problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
Most of the time, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is innocuous and can often clear up on its own. It could 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 is caused by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. It’s likely that the air bubbles will go away and the water will eventually 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 the result of high levels of minerals in the water in your home. Excessive minerals accumulate until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can counter hard-water buildup from damaging 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 mix to eliminate any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to seek advice from a skilled plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is usually because a plumbing fixture has broken down or malfunctioned. At times, it’s caused by a clog blocking 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 puddle of water underneath the sink is a result of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any component has not been correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed adequately 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 observe 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 weakening and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to search for any indications of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Clogged Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start leaking from the seal. It's crucial to look for any indications of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most common factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust usually comes from high levels of iron in the water, which could be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also appear when sediment accumulates. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is declining or there are elevated levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, 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, get in touch with them to tell them about the discoloration. They will be able to inform you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Mankato area can help you confirm if the discoloration is coming from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may improve the unsightly problem.
6. Why Is My Sink Draining Slow?
The most commonly encountered cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely suspects for a clogged bathroom sink, while food scraps and grease—along with soap scum—often are blamed for kitchen sink clogs.
Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:
- Plunger: One method to eliminate a partial clog is using a plunger. If you don't see any 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 yank it out. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Multiple chemical clog removers are available to break down blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.