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What to do when your Toilet keeps on Gurgling

Posted by Tingey Plumbing, Heating & Air
on 12 July 2016
Toilet with open lid

Blog Highlights:

  • Gurgling noises from your toilet might indicate that there is a blockage in your plumbing
  • Having a sewer cleaning company help you clean the sewer line can cost hundreds of dollars
  • Rubber duckies and cellphones have been known to cause toilet blockages
  • Vent stacks can also get clogged by animal nests

Whenever your toilet makes gurgling noises, it might be a tell-tale sign that there is a blockage in your plumbing system.

One of our clients once asked us if it was normal for her toilet to start making gurgling noises just after the sewer lines on her street were cleaned.

We responded to her with a simple answer. No.

We also added that the recent sewer line cleaning probably had no connection with what is going on with her toilet. Although the cleaning might have made the existing blockage worse, there had to be an existing problem with her plumbing already.

We always advise our clients never to take gurgling noises from your toilets for granted. The sound is actually caused by escaping air that goes back up through the toilet. And it can only mean one thing – that you’ve got a blockage somewhere in the vent stack, toilet, or sewer line.

In most cases, the sewer line is the culprit. This is because there are a lot of things that can block it; it can be easily blocked by debris, tree roots, and odd items that have been flushed down the toilet.  You can ask a sewer cleaning company to remove the blockage for you, this should cost anywhere around $250-$500.

Dealing with blockages can cost a lot

If the toilet is blocked, having it fixed will probably set you back hundreds of dollars. This is because the plumber will have to remove it, get rid of the blockage and clogs, and then put the toilet back on.
It is not unusual for plumbers to find anything from cellphones to rubber duckies causing the toilet blockage; many even say that wipes that claim to be “flushable” have often been the cause for the clog. This is why you need to remind everyone in the household to flush only body waste and toilet paper.

If the blockage is not in the main sewer line or toilet, then it is most likely in the vent stack. This is the pipe that rises from your plumbing system and through the roof. This is an important part of your plumbing system and it is used to prevent sewer gas from backing up into your home. The vent also allows water to drain smoothly; this is why a blocked vent can lead to some serious problems.

Just to put it into perspective, you can imagine the vent as a straw in a glass of water.  Without clogs, the water can freely go through it. But if you cover the tip of the straw with your finger and then remove the straw from the water, the water will no longer be able to drain. A clog on the vent works exactly like your finger on the tip of the straw. The gurgling noise that you hear is caused by the air trying to find another escape route.

Animals causing the vent stack blockage

If rubber duckies can clog the toilet, then it won’t be too hard for you to believe that small animals and rodents can block your vent stacks. Some animals make nests that will later turn into a clog as the debris from the nests fall into the vent stacks. This can severely damage the stack especially when they freeze over during winter.

Depending on the cause of the problem, you can expect to pay anywhere around $300 or more if you want to have your vent stack cleared. This will most likely involve having someone climb your roof to manually get rid of the blockage.

Now that you know the three possible causes of the gurgling noise in your toilet, the next thing you need to do is to contact a professional plumber.

We hope that this article has shed light on this noisy problem and we hope that the information we provided will help you silence your toilet for good!