Not all types of bubbles are cute, especially the ones that come from your toilet. If your toilet is bubbling and making gurgling sounds even when it’s not flushing, it is most likely due to a plumbing issue. Whether the plumbing issue is localized to just your home or is affecting the entire neighborhood, it is important to know when an issue is easy enough to fix on your own or serious enough to call a professional. So what should a homeowner do if their toilet bubbles? Here are the main causes and how to fix them.
Gurgles and Bubbles
A good drainage system should have free airflow that is rid of airlocks. This allows the waste to go straight down the drain without issues. When suction builds in the drain due to negative air pressure in a blocked line, gurgles and bubbles are the consequence. Gurgles and bubbles can be signs of a toilet clog, a blocked vent or a municipal sewer line clog.
Toilet or Drain Clog
In the best-case scenario, bubbles are due to a small toilet clog that can be fixed in a couple of minutes with a plunger. In the worst-case scenario, if a toilet drain is left unfixed, the waste can eventually travel back up through the tub, toilet and shower. (We bet you desperately want to know how to unclog a toilet now.)
So many situations can cause a toilet clog. A toilet clog could mean that your flushing system is weak and outdated. Clogs can also occur if you dispose of objects and materials that are not meant to be flushed down the pipelines. Some of these items include:
- Paper towels
- “Flushable” wipes
- Makeup wipes
- Feminine products
- Cigarette butts
- Small toys and other foreign objects
The ideal and quick solution to most clogs is a plunger, which is an accessible tool available to most homeowners. Before you start plunging, make sure to seal every nearby drain hole in your restroom like tubs or sinks. By sealing them, you are preventing the air pressure from escaping through the drain holes in the bathroom fixtures when you start plunging. Once the drains are sealed, fit the head of the plunger to the drain hole, and pump about 10-15 times.
If the clog persists, try using a sewer snake to dislodge the clog. Two types of snakes serve different purposes. Use a manual snake when the clog is near the drain hole. For tougher clogs that are deeper down the drain hole, use a mechanical snake.
American homes have vent pipes that help control your toilet’s air pressure. A blocked vent pipe can restrict airflow and result in your toilet bubbling and gurgling. Signs of a blocked vent include bubbles or a foul sewer odor coming from your drain. Debris and small animal carcasses are the most common causes of a blocked vent. In rare cases, you may even find a bird’s nest blocking the pipe.
If you feel comfortable enough to climb onto your roof, you can use tools like a garden hose or a wire hanger to dislodge the objects that are trapped in the vent. If the blockage is too dangerous to remove, we suggest calling your local plumbers at Parker & Sons to fix it.
Municipal Sewer Clog
If the toilet bubbles persist, then it may be a sign of a bigger issue. In some cases, the municipal sewer line – the line that leads waste away from your house – is the culprit. In this case, you are not responsible for fixing the clog. The city is responsible. Check with your neighbors to see if they are also experiencing issues with their plumbing. If the issue is widespread throughout your neighborhood, contact your township or water company as soon as possible.
For more information on toilet repair services, contact Parker & Sons. We’ll get your plumbing back to normal in no time.