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Why Is My Toilet Gurgling?

White toilet bowl in a bathroom

Do you notice gurgling sounds when you flush your toilet? Maybe you notice these sounds coming from your toilet when running water elsewhere in the home, like when doing a load of laundry or washing dishes.

Causes for a Gurgling Toilet

Toilets can gurgle or bubble when there is negative air pressure in the drain pipes. The negative air pressure can create an air vacuum or air block. When you flush the toilet, this air has to go somewhere, so it comes up the drain pipe and is released in the toilet.

Some of the more common causes for a gurgling toilet include:

  • There is a clog in the drain line that prevents the air from flowing freely down the drain pipe.
  • The toilet is clogged where the toilet water does not fully drain away when it is flushed.
  • An air vacuum prevents air from escaping out of the drain line and through the vent pipe or vent stack.
  • There is a damaged sewer line outside the house that is causing air to come back up the sewer line.
  • There is damage to the toilet tank or toilet bowl that allows excess air into the toilet water.
  • The sewer drain line backflow preventer is broken or damaged.

When to Worry About a Gurgling Toilet

When your toilet gurgles or bubbles, you need to be concerned. It is important to determine the cause of the gurgling and whether you need to call your plumber and schedule plumbing service.

For example, toilets can sometimes gurgle when you have been away on vacation for an extended period. The first time you flush it, you may notice some toilet bubbles. This is normal because the drain lines have not been used. If the problem doesn’t go away after a few flushes, then you need to worry.

How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet

Plumber repairing toilet with hand plunger.

You can attempt to fix certain plumbing problems and resolve the gurgling noise on your own before calling a plumber, such as a clogged toilet. The fix is to plunge the toilet until the clog is removed.

However, if you notice gurgling sounds even after removing the clog, you will want to have your plumber clean the sewer lines. For instance, there could be excess toilet paper still causing a partial clog and preventing proper airflow down the pipe.

For problems with the vent pipe or vent stack, you can check to see if an animal has gotten inside the pipe and is preventing air from venting out the sewer lines. If you do not feel comfortable getting on your roof, then it is better to call your plumber.

When to Call a Plumber for Help

Certain toilet gurgling problems require help from a plumber. Sometimes there can be clogs further down the sewer drain that are difficult to remove. Even if you plunge the toilet, there may not be enough pressure created to unblock the clog because it is too far down the line. Fortunately, your plumber can run a toilet auger down the drain pipe and reach these difficult-to-remove clogs.

Another issue where you will want professional help is when there is a damaged sewer line. Sewer lines can crack, break, or wear out over time. Tree roots can also be an issue, as they will grow around sewer lines when there are leaks and even get into pipes where they continue to get bigger until the sewer line is clogged.

Finding the source of sewer line problems often requires a sewer camera inspection. Once the problem has been located, your plumber can easily resolve it by unclogging the line or replacing the damaged section with a new sewer pipe.

The other type of toilet gurgling or bubbling problem you want help with is if your toilet tank or toilet bowl is cracked or damaged so that excess water is getting into the toilet water. To resolve this type of problem, you will need to have the tank, the bowl, or the entire toilet replaced.

Last, most residential plumbing systems will have a sewer line backflow preventer. This plumbing component is usually installed at the point where wastewater exits the home. It is designed to close and prevent sewer water from flowing back up the pipes.

plumber tools and equipment in a bathroom, plumbing repair service, assemble and install concept

When the backflow preventer is damaged or broken, air and sewage can flow back up the drain pipes, resulting in gurgling and bubbling. It can be challenging to locate the precise location in the sewer line where the backflow preventer is installed without help from your plumber. So, this is another plumbing repair you will want to have them take care of for you.

Have Your Gurgling Toilet Fixed Today

As you saw, there are several causes for gurgling and bubbling toilets. Sometimes you can fix the plumbing problem yourself. However, when the problem returns or is not resolved, you’ll want to call a plumber from Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Have your gurgling toilet and other plumbing problems fixed in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, and the Austin Metro area by contacting us at 512-246-5400 today!

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