Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These problems may sound frightening, but the truth is they’re common problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be solved with just a few easy steps.
With the right tools and information, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, understanding how to take care of common problems will help you tell 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 fix straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a couple of frequent plumbing problems 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 problem is not too difficult to fix:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be creating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn't loosen the clog, you can try using a drain snake to clear away crud from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other obstructions.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to contact a seasoned plumber in Tannersville. They can help identify the root of the issue and provide you with answers.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, usually that’s a result of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it also can be caused by a bigger issue with your plumbing system.
Common reasons why the water in your sink won’t drain:
- Blocked or clogged pipes: Over time, hair, food scraps, grease, animal fats and other junk can accumulate in the pipes, creating 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 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 stop it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to leave your plumbing system, might keep your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your house.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to push the clog through the line. If that doesn’t work, give some thought to using a plumbing snake to clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to run through. Other techniques are to try baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is achieved by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and put a bucket below the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and extract any debris. Once it’s clean, put the pipe back together and flush it with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, look at 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 household pest. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get in touch with a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Tannersville to make sure there isn’t a more substantial 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 normally harmless and can often go away 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 determine if cloudy water is created by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. Chances are the air bubbles will go away and the water will eventually become crystal clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another issue and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The off-colored water also could be caused by high levels of minerals in the water in your home. 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 damaging your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes a stubborn problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution to eliminate any debris or buildup. If that doesn’t work either, you may want to contact a professional 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. At times, 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 repair them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most frequent 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 properly tightened, or if it was not sealed adequately in its fitting, water can quickly escape from these weak spots.
- Worn-Out Washers: Over time, the washer in a sink fixture can become worn out and fail to create a satisfactory seal. If you discover water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s possible that a new washer is required.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, leading to deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to search for any warning signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can cause water to back up and start leaking from the seal. It's important to look for any indications of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from excess iron in the water, which might 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 faltering or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, 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, be sure to contact them to inform them of the discoloration. They should be able to notify you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Tannersville can help you confirm 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 widespread explanation 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 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 method to remove a partial clog is to use 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 attempt to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t get the job done, 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 pull it out. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers being sold today dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Be sure to follow all directions, and that the remover won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.