Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, plenty of them can be fixed with just a few simple steps.
With the proper tools and skills, 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 expertise, it's easy to sort out ordinary plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a couple of frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can address them.
1. Why Won't My Sink Stop Gurgling?
If you’re noticing a gurgling sound coming out of your sink, it may be the result of 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 obstructed or disconnected.
Fortunately, this issue is simple to fix:
- First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger isn't effective, 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 search for any other objects in the way.
If you’re still having difficulties, it may be best to call a seasoned plumber in Manassas. They can help diagnose the root of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Won't My Sink Drain?
If a sink is just not draining, in most cases that’s because of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it could also be a result 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 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 damaged, they may not be producing 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 form leaks which prevent it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might keep your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they exit your home.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to move the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, give some thought to using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to flow through. Other techniques are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may have the ability to check for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is achieved by dismantling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first switch the faucet off and put a bucket under the bend. Then, disassemble the pipe and pull out any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and wash it out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn't clear the blockage, 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 other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may want to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Manassas to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is the Water from My Sink So Cloudy?
Most of the time, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. This is usually innocuous and can often disappear on its own. It could be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a neighborhood construction project.
One way to check if cloudy water is created by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the countertop. Chances are the air bubbles will dissipate 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 consult a professional for assistance.
The discolored water also could be the result of 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 be of assistance in fixing the problem. It can stop hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a reoccuring problem, consider cleaning off the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to remove any debris or buildup. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will want to contact a professional plumber and let them find a solution.
4. Why Does My Sink Leak?
The reason for a leak or water drip directly below a sink is frequently because a plumbing fixture has failed or malfunctioned. At times, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are several of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can fix them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most common causes of a drip underneath the sink is a result of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any part has not been securely tightened, or if it was not sealed right 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 sufficient seal. If you observe water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s very likely that a new washer is necessary.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear out over time, resulting in damage 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 signs of degradation in order to avoid a major leak.
- Clogged Drains: A clogged drain can force water to back up and start dripping from the seal. It's crucial to check for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which could be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also show up when sediment gathers. Buildup may form if the filtration system is faltering or there are elevated levels of minerals like manganese.
Sometimes, the water can be discolored from silt or clay particles that have been stirred up from repairs on the water line or your plumbing. If you purchase your water from a municipal utility company, be sure to contact them to inform them of the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to notify you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Manassas can help you confirm if the discoloration is originating from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may improve the unsightly problem.
6. Why Did My Sink's Drainage Slow Down?
The most common cause 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 at fault for kitchen sink clogs.
Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:
- Plunger: One option to help you clear away a partial clog is with a plunger. If you don't see any standing water in the sink, turn on the faucet to put in enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to attempt to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t fix the problem, you may need a plumbing snake—a long, thin section 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 are available to break down blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.