Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be fixed with just a few simple steps.
With the right tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by dealing with 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 problems and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Making a Gurgling Sound?
If you’re noticing 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 plugged or disconnected.
Fortunately, this issue is not too difficult to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be generating the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger isn't effective, you can try using a drain snake to remove buildup 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 obstructions.
If you’re still having difficulties, it may be best to contact a seasoned plumber in Kankakee. They can help identify the reason you are having the issue and provide you with answers.
2. Why Is My Sink Clogged?
If a sink is not draining, generally that’s due to something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it also can be caused by a 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 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 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 form leaks which restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to leave your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they exit your house.
To clear 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 retrieve and pull out hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other methods are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may have the ability to check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe under your sink. This is done by dismantling the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and set a bucket underneath the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and retrieve any debris. Once it’s clear, put the pipe back together and rinse out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn’t work, inspect 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 misguided bird or another critter. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to get in touch with a knowledgeable professional for plumbing repair in Kankakee 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 due to air bubbles in the water. This is usually benign and can often clear up on its own. It may be the result of a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to find out 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 problem and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The cloudy water also could be due to high levels of minerals in the water in your home. Excessive minerals build up until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can stop hard-water buildup from damaging your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes a persistent problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to eliminate any debris or blockages. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to consult a skilled plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Won't My Sink Stop Leaking?
The reason for a leak or water drip directly below a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has broken down or malfunctioned. Occasionally, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are several of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most frequent causes of a leak 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 all the way in its fitting, water can easily 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 notice 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 deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or discounted materials, so it's important to search for any signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can make water back up and start leaking from the seal. It's essential to always check 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 widespread reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust normally comes from high levels of 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 failing or there are elevated levels of minerals like manganese.
In some cases, the water can be muddied from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from service on the water line or your plumbing. If you buy 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 construction on the water lines.
An experienced plumber in Kankakee can help you establish if the discoloration is originating 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 Slower Than It Used to?
The most widespread explanation for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap buildup 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 option to help you eliminate 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 try to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t get the job done, 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 pull it out. Sometimes, these are called plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers being sold today break up 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.