Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These things may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be fixed with just a few simple steps.
With the correct tools and practical knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by tackling these issues yourself. Plus, understanding how to resolve common problems will help you know 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 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 concerned by a gurgling sound coming out of your sink, it may be the result of 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 clear any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sound.
- If a plunger doesn't loosen the clog, you can try using a drain snake to clean out debris from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other objects in the way.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to contact a seasoned plumber in New Castle. They can help determine the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, usually that’s because of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it may also be a result of a larger concern 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, 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 permit the water to drain.
- Buildup in the trap: The curved pipe under the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or develop leaks which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: An obstruction in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might prevent your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they come out of your house.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to force the blockage 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 run through. Other strategies are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is accomplished by disassembling the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and put a bucket under the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and retrieve 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 overly ambitious bird or another critter. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get in touch with a skilled 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 caused by air bubbles in the water. This is usually harmless and can often disappear on its own. It may be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby construction project.
One way to check if cloudy water was made by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the counter. 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 cloudy water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in your residence. Excessive minerals build up until they affect the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may be of assistance in fixing the problem. It can counter hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a stubborn problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution to eliminate any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to consult 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 beneath a sink is usually because a plumbing fixture has worn out or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are some of the more common causes of sink leaks and how you can fix them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a drip underneath the sink is a result 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 easily 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 a satisfactory seal. If you notice water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s very likely that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, resulting in deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is quite common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to keep an eye out 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 dripping from the seal. It's essential to examine the drain for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be slowing water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust usually comes from excess iron in the water, which might be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also appear when sediment builds up. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is declining or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, the water can be muddied 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 tell them about the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to tell you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
An expert plumber in New Castle can help you confirm if the discoloration is coming 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 common cause for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap residue are likely suspects 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 remove a partial clog is using 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 work, you may try using a plumbing snake—a long, thin chunk of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can yank it out. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers are available to dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.