Why Is My Toilet Bubbling?

It’s like something out of a bad movie, creepy gurgling and bubbling noises coming from, of all places, your toilet. But why is my toilet bubbling? This act of plumbing supernaturalism is much more common than you may think. While the toilet may be bubbling or gurgling when you flush it, the noise may seemingly happen at random as well. Sometimes the toilet may not flush at all when it’s rumbling at you. But don’t ignore the issue even if the flusher works.

While toilets can’t technically communicate with us, the bubbling sounds mean something. Below, we will explain the technical details of what is happening, and what you can do about the problem.

Why Is My Toilet Bubbling?

Negative Air Pressure

A normally functioning system allows air to flow freely through your plumbing. This prevents negative air pressure and waste can run from your plumbing fixtures to outside your home. When there is gurgling, negative air pressure is present. An abnormal level of suction occurs and, once the negative air pressure is released, air is pushed back up the drainpipe, causing water in your toilet to bubble.

The underlying causes of this include:

Clogged Toilet

A toilet is most often clogged by paper products, toilet tissue, and human waste, but children sometimes get curious and end up flushing toys. The issue can be resolved by pulling any objects you see out of the water. Deeper blockages can often be cleared with a plunger. To use one properly, completely cover the drain hole and plunge several times until the water goes down, indicating the blockage has been dislodged.

Clogged Drain Line

If a drainpipe is clogged, then water will back up to the lowest drain, which is often a toilet. A clogged sewer drain may be caused by debris, a foreign object flushed down the toilet, or intruding tree roots. One way to fix a clogged drain line is to use an auger, or plumber’s snake, to dislodge the blockage. If using the snake at the toilet doesn’t work, you make need to snake the sewer cleanout on the side of your home.

Blocked Vent Stack

Rising from your plumbing through the roof of your home, the vent stack prevents sewer gas from backing up. It also contributes to smooth water flow. The stack can become blocked by debris and animal activity. If so, air can back up into your plumbing and oftentimes its escape point is a toilet. Unblocking the vent stack requires going up to the roof with a ladder; the safest approach is to hire a professional plumber who can find unseen issues and safely resolve the problem.

Municipal Sewer Line Clog

A blockage in your neighborhood sewer line can cause bubbling toilets and other plumbing problems in multiple homes. If your neighbors are having the same problems as you, the local sewer authority must address the problem. At this point, it is the municipality’s responsibility to fix the issue and out of the hands of the homeowner.

When to Contact a Plumber

If you are unable to fix the problem, you’ll need a plumbing technician. It is often hard to pinpoint the location of a blockage just by hearing your toilet gurgle. A plumber can use a specialized video camera in your drainpipes or vent stacks. This lets them see exactly what is clogging the line and whether a pipe is cracked, broken, or collapsed. Sometimes, mechanical sewer augers can be used to cut through dense blockages and even tree roots.

Contact Black Hills Inc. Home Services

Our Olympia, WA, plumbing technicians are available 24/7 to answer the question, “Why is my toilet bubbling?” We’ll quickly assess the problem and provide drain cleaning, toilet repair, and resolutions to negative pressure in your plumbing system. Black Hills Inc. is also known for our comprehensive maintenance services and plans. Call 888-402-3514 to learn more.