Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be repaired with just a few simple steps.
With the right tools and information, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to remedy common problems will help you realize when the issue is more complicated 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 successfully repair 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 Making a Gurgling Sound?
If you’re concerned by a gurgling sound emanating from your sink, it may be a sign 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 obstructed or disconnected.
Fortunately, this situation is relatively easy to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sound.
- If a plunger doesn't loosen the clog, you can try using a drain snake to clean out crud from the pipe. Last of all, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and inspect it for any other blockages.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to call a seasoned plumber in Mankato area. They can help determine the reason you are having the issue and provide you with lasting solutions.
2. Why Is My Sink Clogged?
If a sink is not draining, usually that’s a result of something blocking the drainpipe. However, it may also be caused by a much larger 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 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 enable the water to drain.
- Buildup in the trap: The curved pipe under the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or develop leaks which stop it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to leave your plumbing system, might prevent your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they exit your residence.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to move the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other strategies are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also look for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is accomplished by disassembling the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and put a bucket underneath the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and flush it 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 misguided bird or household pest. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get in touch with 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 the Water from My Sink So Cloudy?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is innocuous and can often disappear on its own. It could be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to check if cloudy water was made 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 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 check with a professional for assistance.
The off-colored water also could be due to high levels of minerals in the water in your residence. Excessive minerals accumulate until they affect the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help resolve the issue. It can prevent hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes a reoccuring problem, consider washing 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 probably will 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 underneath 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 common 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 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 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 needed.
- 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 keep an eye out 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 seeping from the seal. It's crucial to look for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be slowing water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust normally 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 appear if the filtration system is failing or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, 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 purchase your water from a municipal utility company, be sure to contact them to tell them about the discoloration. They will be able to inform you if there has been any recent activity on the water lines.
A knowledgeable 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 widespread reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial obstruction in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely culprits for a clogged bathroom sink, while food particles 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 option to help you remove 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 attempt to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t work, 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 yank it out. 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 the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.