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 repaired with just a few painless steps.
With the proper tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, learning more about how to remedy 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 info, it's easy to sort out straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at several frequent plumbing issues and how you can address them.
1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling?
If you’re noticing 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 situation is relatively easy to fix:
- First, try using a plunger to remove any blockages that may be generating the gurgling sounds.
- If a plunger doesn't loosen the clog, you can try using a drain snake to remove particles from the pipe. Last of all, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and check for any other barriers.
If you’re still having problems, it may be best to phone an experienced plumber in Albuquerque. They can help diagnose the root of the issue and provide you with skilled repair service.
2. Why Is My Sink Not Draining?
If a sink is just not draining, in most cases that’s a result of something obstructing the drainpipe. However, it may also be caused by a more severe problem 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 build up in the pipes, creating a blockage that prevents the water from draining.
- Broken seals: If the sink’s rubber seals are cracked or broken, 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 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: A clog in a vent pipe, which allows gas to exit your plumbing system, might prevent 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 obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, consider using a plumbing snake to remove hair or other debris and allow the water to flow through. Other strategies are to utilize baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to dissolve the clog.
Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also search 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 clearing the line. To do this, first turn the faucet off and place a bucket below the bend. Then, dismantle the pipe and extract any debris. Once it’s emptied of debris, put the pipe back together and flush it with hot water.
If trying to clear the line and P-trap isn't effective, check 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 overly ambitious bird or other animal. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to contact a skilled professional for plumbing repair in Albuquerque 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 a result of air bubbles in the water. This is normally harmless and can often clear up on its own. It could be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a close-by construction project.
One way to find out if cloudy water was made by air bubbles is to fill a glass of water and then leave it on the table. Odds 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 problem and will want to consult a professional for assistance.
The discolored water also could be due to high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals build up until they impact the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may help. It can counter hard-water buildup from damaging your pipes and creating the distasteful cloudy water.
If cloudy water becomes 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 clear away any debris or blockages. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to seek advice from a professional 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 beneath a sink is often because a plumbing fixture has broken down or malfunctioned. Sometimes, it’s caused by a clog obstructing the line.
Here are several 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 correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed all the way 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 a satisfactory seal. If you see water seeping from the sides of the handle or base of the faucet, there's a good chance that a new washer is necessary.
- Corroded Pipes: The pipes underneath a sink can wear down over time, resulting in weak spots 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 seeping from the seal. It's crucial to look for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.
5. Why Is My Sink Water Brown?
The most widespread factor that leads to brown tap water is rust. Rust normally 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 accumulates. Buildup may collect if the filtration system is faltering or there are high levels of minerals like manganese.
In some instances, the water can be muddied 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, be sure to contact them to notify them about the discoloration. They will be able to tell you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.
An experienced plumber in Albuquerque can help you confirm 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 Is My Sink Draining Slow?
The most common reason for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap residue 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 method to eliminate a partial clog is to use 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 loosen the blockage and 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 chunk of plastic—to put down your pipe to attach to the clog so you can pull it out. Sometimes, these are referred to as plumbing weasels.
- Chemical Clog Remover: Many chemical clog removers are available to break up blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that the product won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.