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How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet

Are you a homeowner who is bewildered by a toilet that seems to gurgle violently before all of its water drains out of the bowl? If this seems to happen whenever the washing machine discharges the wash water, or when the tub is drained, then we’ll bet that the problem is caused by a blockage in your plumbing vents.

When it comes to DIY troubleshooting gurgling noises in your plumbing system, looking for blockages in your vent stack should be on your list of clogs to check.


Why is My Toilet Making a Gurgling Noise?


The small pipes that protrude from your roof are actually used to get rid of smell from your sewage. They also have another purpose: they are supposed to balance the air pressure in drain pipes to help sewage water flow easier.

We can observe these principles at work when we put one end of the straw in a glass of water, and then cover the other end with our finger. As long as your finger remains on the end of the straw, the water won’t drain even if you remove the straw from the water. Once you take your finger off the straw, the water will immediately drain out.

So, like your finger, something can be blocking the roof vent, whether it’s ice, snow, debris, a bird’s nest or even a dead animal. When there is a blockage, whenever a large amount of water is going down the drain, the water is sucked out of the toilet or from under the sinks from negative air pressure, which causes that gurgling sound. Your first thought might be an auger or plunger, and while there are select times the effects of a plunger can help dislodge the clog or blockage in the vent stack, if there is buildup in the vent stack or calcium, or of toilet paper in the toilet drain, or tree roots in your main sewer – there can be many reasons you’re getting the gurgling sound.

The blocking debris can make a tub drain really slowly as well. One of our Kansas City plumbers can remove whatever is blocking your drain by using a drain snake (auger) and running it through the entire vent system and blocked vent stack, just like taking a sewer snake and running it through your sewer line when trying to get the toilet bowl to drain.

To prevent this issue from occurring in your vent pipe again, we can help you figure out the cause and take preventative measures to ensure airflow is not blocked and the drain lines flow because you perform the cleanout for your vent pipe

If the culprit is ice, we may want to replace the top section of the ice with a larger one. Or, it may be wise to insulate the pipe beneath your roof, or heat the pipe using electrical cables, which isn’t usually necessary unless you live in an extremely cold climate.

If accumulation of snow is the reason for the blockage, it may help to add a pipe extension to the pipe, and can be away from the snow pack – a simple solution for these plumbing issues. On the other hand, if furry critters are to blame, covering the end of the pipe with a hardware cloth held with a hose clamp should do the trick.

The key is to keep sediment and clogs out of the vent stack so sewer gases and the negative air pressures can all flow correctly, allowing your sewer system to perform correctly and keep the sewer drain system draining for years to come, giving you low stress around your home’s plumbing. Keeping sewer pipes clear and wastewater flowing is one of our specialties.

Call Our Experienced Kansas City Plumbers!

Searching for an experienced plumber to get down to the root of the problem? Call A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call. We can find out what’s causing the problem and resolve the issue quickly so your toilets and drain system can get back to working perfectly again!

From low water pressure, to issues with your toilet tank like needing a new flapper, replacing a faucet or adding an outdoor spigot for your garden hose, and of course if you’re needing a toilet auger for a clogged toilet or other nearby drains in your home, we can provide solutions for nearly all plumbing problems, including hooking up to your municipal sewer.

Call or contact us today!