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 right tools and knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to remedy 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 common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing problems and how you can take care of them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re hearing a gurgling sound coming from your sink, it may be an indication of air or water trapped in the pipes. This can occur if there is a blockage in the pipes, or if a plumbing vent has become blocked or disconnected.
Fortunately, this problem is simple to fix:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be creating the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to remove particles from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and search for any other barriers.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to call a seasoned plumber in Libertyville. They can help diagnose the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with lasting solutions.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is not draining, in most cases that’s because of something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it also can be an indicator of a much larger problem 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 items 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 damaged, they may not be creating an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and enable the water to drain.
- Debris 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 exit your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your home.
To clear a pipe, try using a plunger to move the clog through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider 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 dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may be able to check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is done by dismantling the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and place a bucket underneath the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and retrieve 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 clear the blockage, 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 overenthusiastic bird or other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Libertyville to make sure there isn’t a more substantial problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
Quite often, cloudy or white-looking water is due to air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is benign and can often clear up on its own. It can be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a neighborhood 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 counter. Odds are the air bubbles will escape and the water will eventually go back to being clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another predicament and will want to talk to 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 build up until they impact 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 ruining your pipes and creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water ends up being a reoccuring 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 probably will want to contact a certified plumber and let them work toward a solution.
4. Why Won't My Sink Stop Leaking?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is usually because a plumbing fixture has failed or malfunctioned. Occasionally, 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 resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most common causes of a leak underneath the sink is a result of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any fixture has not been correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed right 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 sufficient 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 needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear down over time, causing deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is particularly common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to search 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 leaking from the seal. It's essential to always check for any evidence of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is the Water from My Sink Discolored?
The most common cause of brown tap water is rust. Rust usually comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which can be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also show up when sediment builds up. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is faltering or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, the water can be stained from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from service on the water line or your plumbing. If you purchase your water from a municipal utility company, reach out to them to inform them of the discoloration. They should be able to notify you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Libertyville can help you figure out 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 Did My Sink's Drainage Slow Down?
The most commonly encountered reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage 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 at fault 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, 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 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 called plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Multiple chemical clog removers on the market 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.