Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, plenty of them can be solved with just a few simple steps.
With the proper tools and practical knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by dealing with these issues yourself. Plus, understanding how to take care of common problems will help you know when the issue is more complicated 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 common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at several frequent plumbing issues 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 a sign 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 issue is not too difficult to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to clean out crud 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 barriers.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to call a seasoned plumber in Pella. They can help diagnose the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink isn't draining, generally that’s due to something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it could also be an indicator of a more severe 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 build up 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 producing 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 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 stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your home.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to move the clog through the line. If that doesn’t work, think about using a plumbing snake to retrieve and pull out hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other strategies 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 search for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is accomplished by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and put a bucket underneath the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s clear, put the pipe back together and wash it out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn’t work, 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 overenthusiastic bird or household pest. If this also doesn’t work, you may need to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Pella to make sure there isn’t a significant 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. Normally, this is benign and can often go away on its own. It can be the result of a water company doing work on the lines, or a neighborhood construction project.
One way to find out if cloudy water was made by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. Odds are the air bubbles will escape and the water will eventually clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another predicament 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 the plumbing system. Excessive minerals accumulate until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can counter hard-water buildup from damaging your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes 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 remove any debris or buildup. If that doesn’t work either, you may 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. At times, it’s caused by a clog blocking the line.
Here are several of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can repair 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 component has not been correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed adequately in its fitting, water can simply escape from these weak spots.
- Worn-Out Washers: Over time, 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 likely that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, causing deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is especially 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.
- Blocked Drains: A clogged drain can make water back up and start seeping from the seal. It's crucial to check for any evidence of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most commonly encountered reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust usually comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which might be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also develop when sediment accumulates. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is failing or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, 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 get your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to let them know about the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to tell you if there has been any recent activity on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Pella can help you establish 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 explanation for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely reasons for a clogged bathroom sink, while food scraps and grease—along with soap scum—often are responsible 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, 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 fix the problem, 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: Many 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.