Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, many of them can be solved with just a few easy steps.
With the correct tools and information, 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 realize 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 know-how, it's easy to sort out straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing problems and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound emanating from your sink, it may be the result of 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 obstructed or disconnected.
Fortunately, this problem is simple to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a drain snake to clear away particles 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 objects in the way.
If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to phone an experienced plumber in Menomonie and western Wisconsin. They can help identify the reason you are having the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is not draining, usually that’s because of something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it may also be a result of a bigger problem 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, creating a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or busted, 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 restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might keep your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they exit your residence.
To clear 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 clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other methods are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may be able to look for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe under your sink. This is achieved by taking apart the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and set a bucket below the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and pull out 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 work, 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 misguided bird or other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to get a hold of an experienced professional for plumbing repair in Menomonie and western Wisconsin to make sure there isn’t a significant 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 innocuous and can often go away on its own. It could be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby construction project.
One way to determine if cloudy water was made by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the table. Chances are the air bubbles will dissipate and the water will eventually clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another problem and will want to check with a professional for assistance.
The off-colored water also could be caused by high levels of minerals in the water in your home. Excessive minerals build up until they affect the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can counter hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a stubborn problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mix to clear away any debris or buildup. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to consult a skilled plumber and let them find a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has broken down or malfunctioned. At times, 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 repair them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most frequent causes of a puddle of water underneath the sink is due to loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any component 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: Over the years, the washer in a sink fixture can become worn out and fail to create an adequate seal. If you see 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 particularly common when working with older or inexpensive 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 force water to back up and start leaking from the seal. It's essential to check 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 cause of brown tap water is rust. Rust normally comes from high 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 form 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 buy your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to tell them about the discoloration. They should be able to tell you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Menomonie and western Wisconsin can help you confirm if the discoloration is from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may clear up the unsightly problem.
6. Why Is My Sink Draining Slow?
The most widespread explanation for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap buildup 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 way to clear away 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 try to 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 section of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can extract it manually. Sometimes, these are known as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Multiple chemical clog removers being sold today dissolve blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that the remover won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.