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 repaired with just a few easy steps.
With the proper tools and information, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to resolve common problems will help you know when the issue is more complex 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 ordinary 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 hearing a gurgling sound coming out of your sink, it may be a sign 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 problem is relatively easy to solve:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be generating 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 call a qualified plumber in Omaha. They can help diagnose the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Won't My Sink Drain?
If a sink is just not draining, generally that’s a result of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it may also be caused by a 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 junk can accumulate 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 creating an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and enable the water to drain.
- Crud in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or form leaks which restrict it from draining properly.
- Blocked vent pipe: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to leave your plumbing system, might keep your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they come out of your house.
To unblock 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 run through. Other methods are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to disintegrate the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may have the ability to look for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe below your sink. This is achieved by dismantling the pipe and removing blockages from the line. To do this, first shut the faucet off and set a bucket below the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and retrieve any debris. Once it’s clean, put the pipe back together and rinse out with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap doesn’t work, look at 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 need to get a hold of a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Omaha to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem with your plumbing.
3. Why Is Cloudy Water Coming from the Sink?
Quite often, cloudy or white-looking water is caused by air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is harmless and can often clear up 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 determine if cloudy water is created by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the counter. 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 issue 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 the plumbing system. 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 prevent hard-water buildup from ruining your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes a persistent problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar solution to clear away any debris or blockages. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to consult a professional plumber and let them diagnose the problem and find a solution.
4. Why Won't My Sink Stop Leaking?
The reason for a leak or water drip beneath a sink is frequently because a plumbing fixture has worn out or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are a few of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can repair them:
- Loose Connections: One of the most common causes of a puddle of water underneath the sink is due to loose connections between pipes, fixtures and hoses. If any part has not been properly tightened, or if it was not sealed adequately 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 notice water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, it's likely that a new washer is required.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can corrode over time, leading to damage and cracks. Corrosion is particularly common when working with older or inexpensive 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 force water to back up and start seeping from the seal. It's important to check for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be inhibiting water flow.
5. Why Is My Water Rust-Colored?
The most common reason for brown tap water is rust. Rust in most cases comes from elevated levels of iron in the water, which may be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also develop when sediment gathers. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is declining or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.
In some cases, 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, be sure to contact them to let them know about the discoloration. They will be able to inform you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
A knowledgeable plumber in Omaha can help you figure out 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 Slower Than It Used to?
The most widespread 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 blamed 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’s no standing water in the sink, allow it to fill with enough water to cover the drain. Then, use the plunger to attempt to dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing snake/weasel: If a plunger doesn’t work, 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 yank it out. Sometimes, these are known as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Several chemical clog removers on the market break down blockages in sink pipes. Be certain to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.