Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound scary, but the truth is they’re common problems in many homes. In fact, plenty of them can be fixed with just a few simple steps.
With the right tools and knowledge, you can save yourself time—and money—by tackling these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to resolve common problems will help you realize when the issue is more involved 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 successfully repair common plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing issues and how you can address 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 occur if there is a blockage in the pipes, or if a plumbing vent has become blocked or disconnected.
Fortunately, this issue is relatively easy to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to eliminate any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sound.
- If a plunger does not work, you can try using a drain snake to remove debris from the pipe. Finally, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and inspect it for any other blockages.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to phone a seasoned plumber in Moline. They can help determine the root of the issue and provide you with answers.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, generally that’s because of something blocking the drainpipe. However, it could also be a result of a more severe concern 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, producing a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or busted, they may not be making an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and allow the water to drain.
- Debris in the trap: The curved pipe at the bottom of the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or form leaks, which restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: An obstruction in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might stop your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your house.
To unclog a pipe, try using a plunger to push the clog through the line. If that doesn’t work, think about using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other strategies are to try 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 below your sink. This is accomplished by dismantling the pipe and cleaning out the line. To do this, first shut the faucet off and set a bucket under the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s clean, put the pipe back together and flush it with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, 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 have to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Moline to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?
Quite often, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is harmless and can often go away on its own. It might be caused by a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by 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 countertop. 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 talk to a professional for assistance.
The cloudy water also could be the result of high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals build up until they affect the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help resolve the issue. It can prevent hard-water buildup from harming your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water is a persistent 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 might want to consult a certified plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Is My Sink Leaking/Dripping?
The reason for a leak or water drip directly below a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has failed or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog blocking the line.
Here are several of the more commonly seen causes of sink leaks and how you can resolve them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most likely causes of a puddle of water underneath the sink is a result of loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any part has not been correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed right in its fitting, water can quickly 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 observe water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, there's a good chance that a new washer is needed.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, resulting in weakening and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or inexpensive materials, so it's important to keep an eye out for any signs 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 evidence of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most commonly encountered reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which can be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also appear when sediment gathers. Buildup may form if the filtration system is faltering 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 repairs on the water line or your plumbing. If you get your water from a municipal utility company, get in touch with them to inform them of the discoloration. They will be able to tell you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
An expert plumber in Moline can help you confirm if the discoloration is from a rusting pipe that needs to be replaced, or if a filtration system may get rid of the unsightly problem.
6. Why Is My Sink Draining Slow?
The most widespread reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial clog in the pipes. Hair and soap buildup are likely culprits for a clogged bathroom sink, while food residue 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 clear away a partial clog is with a plunger. If there isn't any standing water in the sink, fill it 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 get the job done, you may have to use a plumbing snake—a long, thin piece of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can yank it out. Sometimes, these are known as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers are available to 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.