Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These problems may sound frightening, but the truth is they’re frequent problems in many homes. In fact, lots 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, learning more about how to resolve 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 expertise, it's easy to fix straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a couple of frequent plumbing dilemmas and how you can resolve them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re hearing a gurgling sound emanating from 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 solve:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be causing the gurgling noise.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to clear away debris from the pipe. Lastly, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and search for any other blockages.
If you’re still having difficulties, it may be best to phone an experienced plumber in Bend. They can help diagnose the reason you are having the issue and provide you with lasting solutions.
2. Why Is My Sink Clogged?
If a sink is just not draining, in most cases that’s a result of something blocking the drainpipe. However, it could also be a result of a much larger problem with your plumbing system.
Common reasons why the water in your sink won’t drain:
- Blocked or clogged pipes: Over time, hair, food scraps, grease, animal fats and other items 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 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 get leaks which stop 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 unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to move the blockage 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 strategies are to use baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down 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 accomplished by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first shut the faucet off and place a bucket underneath the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and extract 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 doesn't clear the blockage, inspect where your drain vent exits 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 need to get in touch with an experienced professional for plumbing repair in Bend to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is Cloudy Water Coming from the Sink?
In general, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is benign and can often clear up on its own. It might be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a neighborhood construction project.
One way to find out if cloudy water is created by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the table. Chances are the air bubbles will go away and the water will eventually clear. If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours, you may have another problem and will want to talk to a professional for assistance.
The discolored water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in your home. 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 stop hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and producing the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a reoccuring 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 may want to consult a professional plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Does My Sink Leak?
The reason for a leak or water drip underneath 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 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 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 see water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it’s possible that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, leading to deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or discounted 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 cause water to back up and start seeping from the seal. It's essential to examine the drain 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 common reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust usually 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 accumulates. Buildup may form if the filtration system is declining or there are elevated levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, the water can be discolored 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, reach out to them to tell them about the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to inform you if there has been any recent construction on the water lines.
An experienced plumber in Bend can help you figure out if the discoloration is 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 commonly encountered reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial obstruction in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely suspects for a clogged bathroom sink, while food residue 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 eliminate a partial clog is with 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 section of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can extract it manually. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Many chemical clog removers on the market break down blockages in sink pipes. Be sure to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.