Solved! Toilet Bubbles When Shower Runs? Gurgling Toilet When Bath Drains?

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When your toilet makes a bubbling noise, it can be a bit alarming. You may wonder if something is wrong with your plumbing. Keep reading to find out more about what it is causing the gurgling and bubbling.

There are a number of reasons why your toilet is gurgling. Sometimes you may not be able to do anything about it yourself and may need to contact your local authorities. However, a bubbling and gurgling toilet is a sure sign that there are potentially larger problems with pipes and needs immediate attention.

In this blog post, we’ll help you fix the noisy and annoying sounds arising from your toilet. We will tell you why it is happening and the simple fixes that you can do without having to call a professional plumber out. 

So let’s not wait any longer and get you ready to tackle that noisy toilet!

Why Do I Have a Gurgling Toilet?

Toilet bowl flushing water in bathroom close up

A gurgling toilet is usually caused by a build-up of pressure in the plumbing system. This can be due to multiple reasons.

When the waste and air can’t flow through your pipes freely, the pressure starts to build up while creating negative air pressure. Typically this results in the air in your pipes trying to find the best route to escape which ultimately causes the whole system to suck and pull creating bubbles and the gurgling sound that you hear.

To make sure your toilet works properly, the air pressure within the pipes has to remain stable. When the pressure is stable, the waste is allowed to flow through without any blockages.

Admittedly the most difficult part of fixing a bubbling toilet is trying to pinpoint where the blockage has occurred. There are many possible causes of toilet gurgling. We have covered the more common ones below.

Symptoms You May Be Experiencing

There are many reasons why a toilet may start bubbling, but we need to figure out what is wrong with it before we can fix it. Below you will find a list of the issues you may be experiencing.

Toilet Bubbles When Flushed

Sometimes when toilets are flushed, they start to bubble and gurgle. This may be alarming, but don’t worry – there may be a simple solution that doesn’t require a plumber.

Toilet Bubbles When Bathtub Drains

If your toilet is bubbling or gurgling when you are draining your bathtub, it is an indication that the main house drain has a blockage. This is because the bathtub drain and a toilet drain are connected to the main house drain pipe.

But if the toilet does not gurgle when the tub is being drained then the problem is more likely with the drain in the toilet which is not difficult to fix.

Bathtub Drain Gurgles When Toilet is Flushed

If the house’s main drain pipe is clogged and you flush the toilet, the toilet waste will push all of the air out of the drain pipe. The air will go into any other open pipe, like the bathtub drain. This is why you might hear gurgling noises after flushing your toilet.

The bathtub drain is easier for the air to escape than the toilet bowl because the water at the bottom of the bowl will block it.

Toilet on a Septic Tank Bubbles When Flushed

When the toilet bubbles and gurgles after a flush on a septic tank, you have an overflowing septic tank or you have a blockage in the pipe leading to the tank.

A full septic tank will need to be emptied. However, a blockage will need to be rectified by either you or a professional plumber.

What is Causing My Toilet to Gurgle and Bubble

Beginning

There are various reasons why a toilet may be bubbling and gurgling. Let’s look at the reasons you may be experiencing your annoying gurgling toilet and then we will help you fix the issue.

Clogged Toilet

Most toilet clogs can be fixed with a plunger. It’s not very likely that your toilet will get so clogged that you’ll need to call a plumber. If it does, though, don’t worry – plunging usually fixes the problem 99% of the time!

If your toilet bubbles and gurgles after a flush, it might be clogged. This is usually caused by too much waste or buildup of things that can’t be flushed down the toilet. Toilet clogs don’t always cause a big mess; sometimes you might only see some bubbles every time you flush.

However, it is more than likely that you are experiencing a blockage in your drains if you can hear gurgling. It should be a priority to get this looked at before the issue becomes even bigger. These blocks can over time turn into nightmare scenarios. Never throw tampons or other feminine products into the toilet as they will surely block the toilet.

A Faulty Cistern

Inside the cistern, the flapper is responsible for flushing and refilling the tank with clean water. Check to see if the flapper is damaged or not working properly, as this might be preventing water from draining properly.

If the flapper is defective, it can be replaced with a new one. If the problem is with the entire cistern mechanism, the whole cistern will need to be replaced.

Clogged Vent Pipes

One reason your toilet might be bubbling is that you don’t have proper ventilation in the pipes. This means that the air pressure isn’t stable, which can cause problems. The vent pipe on your roof is what allows for proper ventilation.

A blocked rooftop vent pipe will make it difficult for the system to manage the air pressure. However, if the vent is completely blocked, the extra air pressure will not be able to escape causing the toilet to eventually bubble and gurgle..

There are several reasons why a vent pipe might become clogged. If there has been bad weather recently, such as a lot of snow, then the blockage might be because of ice blocking the exit valve. Alternatively, it could be a bird’s nest or it could simply be trapped leaves or a build-up of dirt, depending on when it was last cleaned.

The cause doesn’t matter too much, you will need to go on your rooftop and give it a good clean with a brush and if you have ice then pouring some warm water over it should allow the valve to breathe again.

Residue or Buildup Overtime

If you’re not regularly cleaning your toilet bowl, mineral build-up over time in your pipes is inevitable, especially if you live in an area with hard water. This can cause problems and make it difficult for water to flow through them correctly.

Hard water will leave dry water marks in other areas of your bathroom and kitchen.
If you think that your toilet is starting to get clogged because of mineral residue, you should call a professional. They will be able to confirm whether the blockage is caused by the calcification and if the pipes can be cleaned or if they need to be replaced.

Mainline Clog

Occasionally, when your toilet makes a gurgling noise, it’s not because of any issues with your bathroom. If for instance, you live in a high-rise or a house that is sharing its septic system with another house that is causing the blockage you will see your toilet bubbling.

There are multiple ways that clogs can form in your home’s plumbing. One way is when there is waste residue that has not been properly flushed down the toilet. Another way is when a tampon or non degradable item is causing the blockage. If you notice that multiple toilets in your home are bubbling, this is a sign that there is a mainline blockage.

These types of clogs may not be easy to spot because they are further in the pipes. If your toilet bubbles even after plunging it, you might need to call a plumber.

If however, your bathroom smells like sewage, that is a sign that the blockage is all the way in the septic system.

Call the Neighbors to See if They’re Experiencing Similar Problems

If you’re noticing that your toilets are gurgling, and your neighbors are complaining too, it might be a sign that there’s a problem with the community sewer line. If this is the case, you should call your municipal sewer authority and report the problem.

They’ll send someone out to check the sewer main, and if it’s found to be the root of the issue, they’ll likely cover all expenses for repairing it.

How to Fix the Gurgling and Bubbling Sounds

If the problem is a simple clog or blockage, it should be easy to take care of without any professional help saving you money.

The bubbling sound in your toilet could be a sign of a bigger problem. If you have tried all the methods mentioned in this article and the toilet is still gurgling, then it may be wise to get a professional to look at it. 

Thoroughly Clean the Commode

A build-up of residue will lead to a blocked toilet causing it to bubble and gurgle. In order to try and fix the issue, it is advisable to keep the toilet by scrubbing it once a month.

To clean the toilet, start by pouring a cleaning solution into the bowl. If you want to sanitize the toilet, you can also use diluted bleach. For cleaning drains, you can also use baking soda with vinegar if you want to use a more naturalistic approach.

It may be that the pipes themselves need to be cleaned to stop the gurgling sound you are experiencing. This will mean an exclusive pipe clean to stop the offensive noises and smells.

If you are facing bubbling noises after the toilet and pipes have been deep-cleaned then it may be that there is a larger issue. It’s time to investigate any clogs you may have.

Unclog the Toilet Using a Toilet Plunger

A plunger is essentially a cup shape made of rubber or silicone which is attached to a stick. When you push it down into the toilet, it creates a pressure difference, forcing the trapped air up and down, dislodging the blocked items from the drain.

To plunge your toilet, start by gently pushing the plunger into the hole. Make sure that the plunger creates a seal before you start to plunge – however, the pressure will push the blocked debris and it will escape from any open drains and you don’t want that.
Start by making sure the other drains such as your sink and bathtub are sealed off with duct tape or other protective material which prevents anything from escaping.

A plunger is a simple tool that can be useful for some clogs, but it’s not effective for every type of clog. It works best if the clog is closer to the toilet. More stubborn blockages will require a different type of tool.

Unclog the Toilet Using a Toilet Auger or Sewer Snake

A toilet auger (or plumber’s snake) comprises a coiled cable at one end with a handle at the other. This tool is very effective at unblocking toilets by breaking up the debris or pulling it out altogether. They are more effective than a regular plunger due to their reach. 

Toilet augers come in different sizes. The standard size is 20 to 30 feet. However, some plumbers use electric augers that are over 100 feet long. If you are unsuccessful in unblocking your toilet using your auger then you may need a heavy-duty auger that a plumber may have. Alternatively, you can hire an electric auger from hardware stores for the day.

Sewer snakes are important to have, even if you haven’t needed one yet. This way, if there is a bigger than normal clog, you can take care of it yourself instead of having to call a plumber.

Check and Unclog the Vent Pipes

Until they go wrong you will never know the importance of vent pipes. If the vent is clogged, then sewer gasses will back up into your sink, bathtub, or toilet. This will cause your house to smell like a sewer.

To check your vent pipes, you will need to go on your roof. The block could be caused by flying leaves from a nearby tree or even a dead animal like a squirrel stuck inside. 

The vent pipe can be easily cleaned by using your hands or you can also use a duster or scrub brush to clean out the debris. Trimming nearby trees may help in preventing this from happening in the near future.

Finally, once the vent pipe has been cleared check to see if the gurgling sound has stopped. If yes then the problem has been solved.

When Do You Need to Call the Plumber

If you’re still having the same issue after trying all that we suggested then it’s time to call the plumber. It’s most probably that the block in the pipes is either too big or is stuck and difficult to remove with basic tools. A plumber has the expertise and tools to get to the bottom of the issue.

If you are also experiencing the following issue It’s time to call a plumber:

  • An overflowing toilet
  • Smelly septic tank
  • Leaks or drips
  • Loss in water pressure

Coupled with the gurgling noises and any of the above issues it may mean that you have something seriously wrong with your plumbing and it needs to be addressed immediately.

Say Goodbye to the Bubbling and Gurgling Toilet

If you have been having problems with your toilet making noises, we hope that we have been helpful in some way. Bubbles, noises, and smells in your drain system are not easy to live with and should be fixed as soon as possible. 

Minor plumbing problems should be undertaken by yourself, however when the problem is bigger like a main line blockage for instance then it’s best to get help from a professional. Plumbing can be tricky, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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