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Why Is My Toilet Bubbling?

10 January

Does your toilet bowl make gurgling sounds like it’s alive and displeased with its existence?

If so, you might have a blocked drain line or trouble with the main sewer line. Your toilet bowl may bubble if you flush it only occasionally.

Should you panic when you see a bubbling toilet? Not necessarily, but you must take quick action to avoid matters getting worse. Before we dive into the solutions, let’s look at some common causes of gurgling toilets.

What Causes Toilet Gurgles?

If you have a problem with your toilet gurgling or bubbling, it can mostly be a case of negative air pressure within the drainage system. Gurgling sounds are a common problem with toilets, and they point to a block in your drain pipes. To be more specific, water has to flow freely within the pipes. The water is pushed back and forth when there is a block, resulting in some gurgling sounds.

A bubbling toilet is also a vital sign of a failing drainage system. Apart from the causes mentioned above, a bubbling toilet bowl can also be caused by:

  • Clogged toilets
  • Clog in mainline/drain pipes
  • Blockage in vent pipes/stack
  • Problems in the municipal sewer line

Let’s tackle each of these problems individually and in detail.

1. Clogged Toilets

The first and foremost problem you can address is a clogged toilet. The cause of a toilet clog can be things floating around, excess toilet paper, and other miscellaneous items that can get stuck in the toilet. Additionally, the possibility of their toys getting stuck is pretty high if you have children. Since they are not dissolvable, they stay instant and cause a clog.

Too Much Toilet Paper Clogging Toilet

How To Fix:

You can use a plunger and give the toilet ten to fifteen intense plunges. Considering the blockage is near the surface, these plunges should be enough to eliminate the clog.

If the plunger doesn’t work, you can use a drain snake, a plumbers auger, or a sewer snake. Using these down the drain can help eliminate the clog in no time. Augers are expensive and require some amount of skill to use. Instead, calling a professional plumber to fix the clog would be a better option.

2. Clog In Main Line / Drain Lines

Drain lines connect your home’s drainage system to the main line. All the wastewater from your home is then transported to the city sewer by the mainline.

An easy way to determine if your drain line is blocked is by examining all the water fixtures in your home. Drain line blockages usually affect only a single room, such as fixtures in the bathroom or kitchen. On the contrary, mainline blocks will affect your entire home rather than a single room.

The reason your drain line can develop a clog is the same as that of a clogged toilet: negative air pressure. This, in turn, results in your toilet starting to gurgle or bubble.

The issue worsens when the block is situated deeper, where consumer-level tools cannot quite reach. In such cases, you will have to resort to a professional plumber to fix the problem.

Clogged Main Drain Line

How To Fix:

If your drain line has a clog closer to the surface, it can be fixed with the help of a plumbing auger. A professional can use a camera to find and fix the block if the clog is located further down the drain line or even the mainline.

3. Block In Vent Pipes / Stacks

The vertical pipe that leads to your roof is called a vent stack. This controls the air pressure within the plumbing and releases any excess exhaust gas. Typically, they are meant to stay as an open channel without letting any other elements, including water, pass through them.

When a vent stack is blocked, it can also point to negative air pressure. Telltale signs of a vent stack clog are slow drainage and bad odour from the drain pipes. The most common causes of a vent stack block are birds’ nests, rodents or leaves.

Clogged Vent Pipe Rusted

How To Fix:

If the block is close to the surface of the vent stack, you can solve it yourself. Just climb onto your roof and remove any block-causing debris. If the block is located further down, a professional plumber can help snake it out.

4. Municipal Sewer Line Problems

The final cause of toilet bubbling is a clog in the municipal sewage system. If this is the issue you’re facing, the fix can only be done by the municipality, not by yourself. Since the mainline ends where the municipal sewer system begins, you do not have access to repair the pipes. Instead, filing a complaint or letting your town municipality know about the situation will be helpful.

To confirm that it is a municipal sewer line issue, ask your neighbours if they are facing similar problems. If so, contact the municipality or a water company to get it repaired.

Sewer Line Drain

Can Toilet Bubbling Be Fixed Automatically?

The answer to this question is quite subjective. If the issue that causes your toilet to bubble is resolvable easily, such as vent stack blocks or drain clogs, the toilet can fix itself. When you remove the debris that causes the clog, it regulates the air pressure in the toilet drains and stops the gurgling.

At times, drain clogs can even clear themselves up, stopping your toilet from bubbling.

However, if the cause of gurgling lies outside your property, such as a main sewer line block, the chances of the toilet fixing itself is low. In such cases, you may have to contact a professional to get the area inspected and repaired.

Professionals have access to better tools, such as drain cameras that can be dropped into the drains or vent stacks and powerful sewer drivers. These tools help spot the problem easier and result in a quicker fix.

Uncover the Mystery Behind Your Bubbling Toilet!

A bubbling toilet is a nasty thing to witness, especially when you wish to relax and heed nature’s call! If you experience gurgling or bubbling toilets, contact the experts here at Gold Coast Plumbing Company. Our team of experts uses the latest technologies to identify the cause of the problem and to resolve it as quickly as possible.