Backed-up sinks. Discolored water. Leaks. These issues may sound intimidating, but the truth is they’re typical problems in many homes. In fact, lots of them can be solved with just a few easy steps.

With the proper tools and skills, you can save yourself time—and money—by fixing these issues yourself. Plus, knowing how to remedy 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 fix straightforward plumbing problems all by yourself. We’ll take a look at a few frequent plumbing problems and how you can address them.

1. Why Is My Sink Making a Gurgling Sound?

If you’re noticing a gurgling sound emanating from 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 plugged or disconnected.

Fortunately, this problem is relatively easy to correct:

  • First, try using a plunger to clear any blockages that may be causing the gurgling sound.
  • If a plunger isn't effective, you can try using a drain snake to clear away particles from the pipe. Last of all, if your plumbing vent is blocked or disconnected, make sure to reconnect it and inspect it for any other obstructions.

If you’re still having trouble, it may be best to call a qualified plumber in Smyrna. They can help identify the underlying cause of the issue and provide you with lasting solutions.

2. Why Won't My Sink Drain?

If a sink isn't draining, generally that’s because of something clogging up the drainpipe. However, it could also be an indicator of a bigger problem with your plumbing system.

Common reasons why the water in your sink won’t drain:

  • Blocked or clogged pipes: As time passes, hair, food scraps, grease, animal fats and other materials 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 creating an effective seal around the drain to keep out air and permit the water to drain.
  • Buildup in the trap: The curved pipe beneath the sink, called a P-trap, can become blocked with debris or develop leaks which restrict it from draining properly.
  • Blocked vent pipe: An obstruction in a vent pipe, which allows gas to escape your plumbing system, might prevent your sink from draining. Vents can be blocked by debris where they leave your house.

To unblock a pipe, try using a plunger to push the obstruction through the line. If that doesn’t work, give some thought to using a plumbing snake to clear away hair or other debris and allow the water to move through. Other techniques are to try baking soda and vinegar or a drain-cleaning product to break down the clog.

Depending on your plumbing setup, you may also look for a blockage in the P-trap, which is a bend in the pipe underneath your sink. This is done by taking apart the pipe and clearing the line. To do this, first shut the faucet off and place a bucket below the bend. Then, take the pipe apart and retrieve 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, inspect where your drain vent extrudes from your house to make sure it isn’t blocked by debris such as leaves, dirt or even a nest by an misguided bird or another critter. If this also doesn’t work, you may have to get a hold of a knowledgeable professional for plumbing repair in Smyrna to make sure there isn’t a more substantial problem with your plumbing.

3. Why Is My Sink Water Cloudy/White?

Most of the time, cloudy or white-looking water is a result of air bubbles in the water. Normally, this is innocuous and can often clear up on its own. It might be because of a water company doing work on the lines, or a nearby 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 escape 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 discolored water also could be caused by high levels of minerals in the water in the plumbing system. Excessive minerals collect until they alter the water’s appearance and taste, in which case a water softener may be of assistance in fixing the problem. It can prevent hard-water buildup from damaging your pipes and making the distasteful cloudy water.

If cloudy water ends up being a stubborn problem, consider clearing out the aerator, which is a screen at the end of your faucet. Use a water and vinegar mixture to eliminate any debris or accumulation. If that doesn’t work either, you might want to contact 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 worn out or malfunctioned. At times, it’s caused by a clog blocking the line.

Here are some of the more typical causes of sink leaks and how you can repair 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 component has not been correctly tightened, or if it was not sealed all the way 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 a satisfactory seal. If you discover 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, causing deterioration and cracks. Corrosion is especially common when working with older or lower-cost materials, so it's important to look 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 leaking from the seal. It's crucial to examine the drain for any signs of blockage and to clear away any debris that may be restricting water flow.

5. Why Is the Water from My Sink Discolored?

The most commonly encountered cause of brown tap water is rust. Rust usually comes from high levels of iron in the water, which might be the result of corroded pipes or worn-out fixtures. Rust may also show up when sediment gathers. Buildup may appear if the filtration system is declining or there are significant levels of minerals like manganese.

In some instances, 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 purchase your water from a municipal utility company, reach out to them to tell them about the discoloration. They will hopefully be able to notify you if there has been any recent work on the water lines.

An experienced plumber in Smyrna can help you figure out if the discoloration is originating 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 explanation for a sink to drain slow is a partial blockage in the pipes. Hair and soap scum are likely reasons for a clogged bathroom sink, while food particles and grease—along with soap scum—often are blamed for kitchen sink clogs.

Three ways you can fix a clogged sink include:

  • Plunger: One way to clear away a partial clog is with a plunger. If you don't see 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 work, you may try using 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 being sold today break up blockages in sink pipes. Make sure to follow all directions, and that any brand you buy won’t damage your home’s pipes or the basin in your sink.