Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re common problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be solved with just a few painless steps.
With the right tools and practical knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by tackling these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to remedy 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 sort out straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can resolve them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound emanating 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 obstructed or disconnected.
Fortunately, this situation is simple to correct:
- First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be generating the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to remove debris from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and inspect it for any other obstructions.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to call an experienced plumber in Kutztown and Breinigsville. They can help determine the reason you are having the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is not draining, in most cases that’s because of something blocking the drainpipe. However, it also can be an indicator of a larger concern 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 accumulate 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 producing an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and allow the water to drain.
- Debris in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or form leaks, which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your house.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to move the blockage through the line. If that doesn’t work, think about using a plumbing snake to retrieve and pull out hair or other debris and allow the water to run through. Other strategies are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to disintegrate 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 underneath your sink. This is accomplished by taking apart the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and put a bucket under the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and extract any debris. Once it’s clear, put the pipe back together and rinse with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn’t work, look at where your drain vent extrudes from your house to make sure it isn’t blocked by debris such as leaves, dirt or even a nest by an overenthusiastic bird or other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to get a hold of a knowledgeable professional for plumbing repair in Kutztown and Breinigsville 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 benign and can often go away on its own. It may be the result of a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby 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 dissipate and the water will eventually 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 discolored water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals collect until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can counter hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water ends up being a reoccuring problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution to clear away any debris or accumulation. 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 directly below a sink is frequently because a plumbing fixture has failed or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are some of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can fix them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most common causes of a puddle of water underneath the sink is because of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any part has not been properly tightened, or if it was not sealed right in its fitting, water can simply escape from these weak spots.
- Worn-Out Washers: Over time, the washer in a sink fixture can become worn out and fail to create an adequate seal. If you notice 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 down over time, leading to weakening and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or discounted materials, so it's important to keep an eye out 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 dripping from the seal. It's important to examine the drain 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 commonly encountered reason for 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 show up when sediment accumulates. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is failing or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
In some cases, 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, get in touch with them to tell them about the discoloration. They should be able to inform you if there has been any recent activity on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Kutztown and Breinigsville can help you figure out if the discoloration is coming 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 reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely reasons 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 way to remove a partial clog is using a plunger. If there isn't any 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 work, you may have to use a plumbing snake—a long, thin chunk 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: Multiple chemical clog removers on the market break up blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.