Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These things may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be repaired with just a few simple steps.
With the correct tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by dealing with these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to take care of common problems will help you realize 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 info, it's easy to sort out ordinary plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a couple of frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound coming out of your sink, it may be an indication 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 obstructed or disconnected.
Fortunately, this problem is relatively easy to correct:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be causing the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to clear away buildup from the pipe. Finally, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other barriers.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to contact a qualified plumber in Kankakee. They can help diagnose the underlying cause 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 obstructing the drainpipe. However, it also can be caused by a bigger 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 items can accumulate in the pipes, producing a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or broken, they may not be producing an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and allow the water to drain.
- Buildup 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 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 residence.
To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to force the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other techniques are to try baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may have the ability to search for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is accomplished by dismantling the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and put a bucket below the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s clear, put the pipe back together and flush it with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, check 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 contact a skilled 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?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is due to air bubbles in the water. This is normally benign and can often disappear on its own. It might be the result of a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to determine if cloudy water is caused by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the counter. It’s likely that 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 problem and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The cloudy water also could be caused by high levels of minerals in the water in your residence. 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 stop hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water ends up being a persistent problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution to clear away any debris or buildup. 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 underneath a sink is frequently because a plumbing fixture has broken down or malfunctioned. At times, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are a few of the more common causes of sink leaks and how you can repair them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a leak underneath the sink is due to loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any fixture has not been securely tightened, or if it was not sealed adequately 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 discover water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s possible that a new washer is necessary.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, resulting in weakening and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to check for any warning signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can make water back up and start seeping from the seal. It's crucial to look for any evidence 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 in most cases comes from high levels of iron in the water, which might be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also show up when sediment gathers. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is failing or there are high 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 get your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to inform them of the discoloration. They will be able to tell you if there has been any recent activity on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Kankakee can help you figure out if the discoloration is 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 cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap buildup are likely culprits 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 option to help you eliminate a partial clog is with a plunger. If there isn't any standing water in the sink, turn on the faucet to put in enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to loosen the blockage and dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t get the job done, you may have to use 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 known as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers being sold today break down 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.