Imagine waking up in the morning ready to hit the john, and you see that your toilet has turned into a cauldron as it starts to gurgle and bubble out of nowhere once you flush.
You’re probably aware that your porcelain throne shouldn’t produce bubbles and weird noises, but some homeowners might brush this off as nothing out of the ordinary. There are cases where the gurgling might stop just after a few nasty growls, but keep in mind that more complex causes need fixing as soon as possible.
Our article today will explain the different causes of a gurgling toilet and the most efficient ways to fix the problem on your own. However, a gurgling toilet while flushing might indicate some more significant issues in your septic or sewer lines, and you may have to call a qualified professional.
But before that, follow us down the drain as we explore the unknown lands of gurgling toilets.
Why Is My Toilet Gurgling?
Many factors can cause a growling, gurgling, or bubbling toilet; most of the time, the real culprit is the buildup in water and air pressure somewhere inside your plumbing. When your pipes are clogged or blocked by something, air pressure builds up and creates negative pressure; it sounds complicated, right? In plain terms, the air inside your vents and pipes alternates between sucking and pushing, thus making bubbles in your toilet bowl.
For your toilet to operate without causing a tantrum, the air pressure in the pipes must remain at stable levels. Stable air pressure ensures that water and waste flow freely through your toilet and plumbing. In contrast, unstable pressure can lead to blockages, clogs, and even more significant issues in short order.
While we’ve simplified it to the best of our extent, pinpointing the exact location of the clog is a bit tricky, so here are some of the most common culprits that cause the toilet to bubble and gurgle upon flushing.
The Casual Clog
If your toilet is bubbling and gurgling when you flush, you have yourself a potential clog that is just begging to fill your bathroom with water and waste unless you take action.
Regular clogs are usually caused by a buildup of excess waste or non-flushable items that we all lazily flush from time to time. Clogs don’t usually cause massive toilet overflows but are known to cause some bubbling in their infancy. Aww, look at the cute baby blockage bubbling away…
While some bubbles when flushing isn’t a serious matter, you should heed our advice to take care of that problem as soon as possible to prevent any further damage or mess. The best way to prevent further clogs is to be mindful of your flushing habits. This means no flushing wet tissues, kitchen towels, condoms, tampons, and other items that belong in the wastebasket.
The good news is that toilet clogs are simple to take care of, and you can read about the best remedies further in the article.
Vent Pipes Clog
This one is one of the sneakier culprits in toilet gurgling occurrences. The plumbing system for any kind of toilet requires air ventilation to operate at peak capacity. If you’ve noticed a pipe on your roof or by the side of your building, you’re looking at the ventilation system for the toilet. The ventilation shafts also ensure that the pressure in the pipes remains at stable levels.
If the vents are clogged, the plumbing system will not be able to regulate the pressure in the pipes. The excess pressure needs to be regulated by having room to pass, and the clogged vents prevent this, resulting in a carbonated toilet.
There are many causes for clogged vent pipes, but the most common culprits are buildups of various outdoor elements such as leaves, dust, dirt, snow, grass, and other inclement weather-related issues. To check the status of your air vents, you’ll need to climb on the roof and clean the ducts from the buildup.
Mineral Residue Buildup
Throughout your toilet’s lifespan, minerals such as calcium and other residues might build up and cause gurgles, clogs, and bubbles. If you don’t regularly scrub and clean your toilet, this mineral residue might cause quite a problem down the drain.
If you live in an area where the water is hard and filled with magnesium, calcium, iron, and other residues, a build-up is just waiting to happen.
The mineral residue can cause damage not only to your toilet but to your whole toilet installation, including the pipes. The residue will manifest itself around the bowl by forming a white residue that will decrease the space where the waste and water can flow through. Consult a plumber on how to take further action but trying the baking soda and vinegar trick won’t hurt before contacting a specialist.
While these are the most common culprits, you should consider that there could be issues with the mainline sewer system, which unfortunately is above your skills as a DIY plumber. The best indicators of a mainline clog are gurgling, bubbling, and the smell of sewage in your toilet.
How To Fix Gurgling Issues
You are lucky if your only issue is a gurgling toilet as it can be fixed all by your lonesome and with just a couple of hours of work. Casual clogs and toilet blockages are simple to fix without spending good money for a job you can do yourself; you’ll also get bonus points with the missus or mister.
Before you call a professional, try out the following steps as they will save you both time and money by fixing the toilet yourself. A small disclaimer: some gurgling issues might be deeper than the bowl goes, and in cases like these, you’ll have no choice but to hire the services of a plumber. But before we jump to that conclusion, grab your rubber gloves and check out our simple solutions.
Clean The Toilet
If you’re betting on calcium or other mineral buildups, overhauling your toilet should make the growling disappear. Most homeowners don’t know this, but for the smooth operation of the toilet, a thorough cleaning every two months is ideal. Pouring baking soda and white vinegar or dish soap and hot water down your drain should take care of the residue buildup, which we explain the whole process in another article here.
Get The Plunger
Plungers are the first line of defense against toilet clogs, and gurgles are no different. We recommend that you start plunging as the first step to any kind of toilet issue, as the plunger is a simple and inexpensive tool that works wonders and is very easy to use.
In cases of toilet bubbling and gurgling, before you start plunging, make sure that you seal off any other drains in the bathroom. As the plunger will create a buildup in pressure, the clog will be displaced elsewhere, and the last place you want the clog to end up in your bathtub or sink. Gross.
Plungers are great when it comes to clogs that are closer to the toilet bowl and flange but fall short when it comes to deeper clogs. If the plunger didn’t manage to do you justice, then you should look into buying a toilet snake or auger.
Toilet Auger or Toilet Snake
The toilet auger or toilet snake is a tool that has a cable on one end and a handle on the other end. The auger tip is made from a metal tube that holds the cable tips and is usually encased in rubber to prevent scratches on your fine porcelain toilet.
The toilet snake is pretty much like a handheld drill that bores through any clogs that are clogging the pipes. These devices can cost up to $50, but a plumber might charge you over $200 for a half-hour job. If you have a tool such as this one, place it in the toilet bowl and start cranking the handle. After a few moments, you will be able to feel the clog, and you’ll need to retract the cable to break down the clog into smaller pieces that will find their way down the drain.
If this didn’t cause the bubbles to subside, checking out your vents is your next step. While you’re up there, you’ll be able to see the condition of the pipes for corrosion or other problems that might cause your toilet to misbehave.
When To Call a Specialist
If you’ve tried everything but still the toilet growls and howls in the night like a beast from another world, calling a plumber seems inevitable. If you smell sewage in your bathroom, see leaks and drops around your toilet, low water pressure around the house, or even in the worst cases, an overflow, then your issue might be a blockage deep into your sewer line.
Toilet issues are known to snowball, and there is no shame in admitting defeat and calling a plumber. If you’ve tried all of our methods with zero to none results, call a plumber, and your toilet will thank you for it.