Hearing your toilet gurgling can stir up feelings of dread. Knowing how to fix a gurgling toilet can help you minimize plumbing problems before they escalate.
The good news is that there are simple solutions for most of these problems. When you address the issue early, fixing a gurgling or bubbling toilet doesn’t need to take much time or expertise.
We’ll discuss what the gurgling noise means and how to fix it so you don’t need to worry about those pesky sounds anymore. We will also provide some preventative measures for avoiding future problems with your toilet’s plumbing parts.
What Causes A Toilet to Gurgle
Your toilet gurgles when there is negative air pressure in your pipes. The gurgling sounds come from the air going against a blockage in your drain pipes.
Normally, the air flows freely as you flush your toilet. This allows for the waste to move through your plumbing system. Negative air pressure disrupts this flow.
The clog that causes your toilet gurgling can be closer to your toilet or further away. This can happen when:
- Your drain line is clogged
- Your toilet drain is clogged
- You have a broken pipe
- If you use a septic tank: there is a clog in your septic system
- If you are connected to the main municipal sewer line: there is a clog or other problem with the city line
Read More: How to Unclog A Drain Pipe
Preventative Measures You Can Take
While some situations require emergency repairs, you can often take some preventative measures. Here are preventative measures you can take to keep your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape:
- Don’t flush anything down your toilet that you shouldn’t. This includes cat litter, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, paper towels, coffee grinds, or anything that isn’t waste or toilet paper. If you’re using a septic system, try using safe toilet paper brands. These will reduce the chance of clogging your toilet.
- Avoid pouring hot oil or grease down your drains. When they cool, they can solidify. This can cause a clog in your drain pipes or in your septic system.
- Check your toilet tank. Calcium, magnesium, and iron in your toilet tank can result in more clogs. This is because of the sediment build-up, especially if you have hard water.
How to Fix Gurgling Toilet
If the problem is simply a clogged toilet, then you may be able to fix your gurgling toilet on your own. Here is how to fix a gurgling or bubbling toilet.
Plunge Your Toilet
Plunging your toilet may be enough to get the job done if it is simply a drain pipe issue. How you fix your clogged drain line will depend on how far along the clog is.
Your bathtub, shower, toilet, and sink are typically all connected to the main drain line. So we recommend sealing your drains before you start plunging. This way, any pressure won’t overflow through these other bathroom fixtures.
Make sure your toilet bowl is full of water first. Fit the plunger head to the drain hole in the bottom of the bowl. Make sure it’s tight and secure. Then, pump a few times to unclog the toilet. If the toilet is still gurgling, then there may be a deeper issue.
Check Your Vent Stack
Believe it or not, a clog in your vent stack could be causing your toilet to gurgle! Your vent stack runs through your plumbing system to the roof (to help sewer gases to escape) so that way, your drain line gets airflow. Our drain pipes need airflow to move all that wastewater, so a vent stack prevents airlocks in our pipes.
Your vent stack (also called a vent pipe) can become clogged with debris, leaves, a bird’s nest, or sometimes even the carcass of a small animal. Checking your vent stacks involves heading up to your roof.
To see if you have a blocked vent pipe, bring a powerful flashlight with you. You may want to attach it to a dowel rod or a rope so you can extend your reach. If you spot any clogs, you can try to remove them with a garden hose; the water pressure should be enough to get things moving and unclogged.
Ask Your Neighbors
If you are connected to the city sewer system and not a septic system, give your neighbors a call. If your neighbors are all having issues with their toilet bubbling or gurgling, then there is a problem with the city sewer main. Your next step would be to call your city sewer authority for an inspection. The water company will be responsible for this, not you!
Use a Drain Snake
A sewer snake or drain snake can be a great way to handle tough clogs. These are also called plumber’s augers or plumbing snakes. These cables have a head with blades to cut through tough clogs deeper in your drain.
For Clogs Close to Home
You can get a manual auger for anywhere from $25 to $100 on average. As you turn the crank, it extends down the drain pipe. Manual augers generally reach up to 15 feet as they cut through tough clogs.
For Deeper Clogs
If you need to go deeper, most motorized augers can reach up to 100 feet. These are more expensive but can be rented from a home improvement store on a daily basis. The head and blades on motorized augers are typically much larger than the manuals, so you may need to remove your toilet from the base. This way, you can enter the drain system from the floor without the auger getting stuck. To work a motorized auger, simply turn the machine on and it’ll get to work.
For Sewer Cleanout Clogs
If this still doesn’t work, the clog could be in your sewer cleanout. It is right outside of your home and is located right over your sewer pipe. These extend out to your yard. To locate it, head to your crawlspace or your basement. You should be able to locate where the main sewer line exits your house.
To clean your sewer cleanout, first, you’ll have to use a pipe wrench to open the cap. We recommend taking a few steps back once this opens in case any build-up overflows out. Before you do anything else, let the sewer buildup run out.
Then, you can run your auger through the drain pipe. We also recommend spraying your pipe down with water after you’re done with the auger to help remove any additional debris or build-up that the auger might have missed.
At E Dennis, we have professional equipment to help us tackle tough clogs like this. Our drain cleaning services use a variety of techniques depending on the clog. If you try these tactics and still don’t have any luck, let us know.
Call Northern Georgia’s #1 Plumbing Company
If your toilet still gurgles after all of your troubleshooting efforts, give us a call. E Dennis is Atlanta’s leading plumbing company, and we can help with all your residential or commercial needs.
Our licensed technicians are ready and waiting to help you with any plumbing service needs. We offer reliable service for a great price, with honest and upfront pricing. From sewer line repair to drain cleaning, we are here for Atlanta’s neighborhoods.
You can be rest assured knowing that our licensed technicians are trained to handle any issue big or small. If you have an emergency situation like a gurgling or bubbling toilet that won’t stop running no matter what you do, call us today for a free estimate!