Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, plenty of them can be repaired with just a few painless steps.
With the correct tools and knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by tackling these issues yourself. Plus, understanding 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 sort out ordinary plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at several frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can take care of them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re concerned by 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 blocked or disconnected.
Fortunately, this situation is simple to fix:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be causing the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger isn't effective, you can try using a drain snake to remove crud from the pipe. Last of all, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other blockages.
If you’re still having difficulties, it may be best to phone a seasoned plumber in New Castle. They can help identify the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with answers.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is not draining, generally that’s due to something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it may also be an indicator of a larger issue 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 materials can collect 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.
- Crud in the trap: The curved pipe at the bottom of the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or get leaks, which restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A blockage 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 come out of your home.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to move 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 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 be able to check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe under your sink. This is done by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and set a bucket below the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and rinse with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, look at 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 have to contact an experienced professional for plumbing repair in New Castle 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. Normally, this is benign and can often go away on its own. It could 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 caused 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 go back to being 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 due to high levels of minerals in the water in your residence. Excessive minerals collect until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help resolve the issue. It can prevent hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and creating 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 mix to remove any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you may want to contact a certified plumber and let them work toward a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip directly below 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 common causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a drip underneath the sink is because of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any fixture 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 observe 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 wear down over time, causing damage and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to search for any indications of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Plugged Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start seeping from the seal. It's essential to check 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 common factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust normally comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which may be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also develop when sediment builds up. Buildup may form if the filtration system is failing or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
In some cases, the water can be stained from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from work on the water line or your plumbing. If you buy your water from a municipal utility company, be sure to contact them to notify them about the discoloration. They should be able to inform you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in New Castle can help you establish if the discoloration is originating 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 commonly encountered reason 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 method to clear away a partial clog is with a plunger. If there’s no standing water in the sink, allow it to fill with 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 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: Several chemical clog removers being sold today dissolve 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.