Regardless of if you are fixing old pipes or installing new wooden flooring, upgrading your home is very important for its longevity. One of the most common issues in older homes, though, is the toilet, specifically when it bubbles randomly. Below, I have listed different ways to deal with this issue.
Does your toilet bubble when you shower? Here is what to do: Your bubbling toilet may be the result of a clog in the pipes, calcifications in the equipment, or a faulty flapper. To fix most of these issues, you can plunge the toilet or snake the drain on the shower. You may consider hiring a plumber.
In this article, I will go into the different ways that your toilet can get clogged and the ways to fix them. Keep reading to find out other reasons your toilet is bubbling and how to deal with it.
Top Reasons Why You Have a Gurgling Toilet
A lot of times, you will have or already have, dealt with toilet situations that deal with clogging. One of the main and most common reasons is that the toilet is clogged. This is visibly seen and you do not need to look into the pipes for this.
For example, if there are issues remaining with the water despite flushing, then your toilet is clogged. Clogging can come from many sources. Sometimes it is due to weak flushing and flushing down hard items. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of homes today have dual-flush toilets. A strong flush would lessen the chance of clogging.
Another reason is calcifying elements. This comes from sediment buildup. However, this situation only arises if you have hard water, that is, water that has magnesium, iron, and/or calcium.
Third, you may have a clogging in your vent pipes, which is connected to your roof. In most cases, there is debris, including leaves or branches. Sometimes, even, there can be rodents. Therefore, always look in before putting your hand inside to get rid of the debris.
Finally, you may have a faulty flapper. A flapper is essentially responsible for your toilet. If it messes up, your toilet will gurgle or have bubbles. When that occurs, you may need to change the entire flapper and purchase a new one.
3 General Tips Throughout For The Issue
As a first case measure, you can plunge the toilet, as many homeowners do. Before that though, seal the drains in nearby tubs to minimize the pressure through duct tape. Now, you can plunge your toilet and do so around 10 times.
If this does not work, ask your neighbors if they have been having similar issues. If that is the case, then it might be the general sewer system that community leaders should be able to handle financially.
The third tip is to use a sewer snake. This is used to dislodge tough clogs that are trapped in the drain hole. As someone who has used one myself, this is one of the most effective means of fixing this issue.
There are both manual and motorized clogs and the manual is the more common one with blades at its head. These blades make it easier to cut through tough blockages. As a last resort, you can purchase a mechanized model. However, be careful to measure it to make sure it can fit the drain hole.
Costs of Repair
In this section, I will outline the possible costs of repair, whether you do a DIY or call in a plumber.
If you want to DIY, you would most definitely need an auger. Typically, most homeowners would have a supply of a toolbox and duct tape. The duct tape set costs around $25, and the standard toolbox costs around $75. This gives a $100 minimum baseline. The information below delivers more information on augers, which some homeowners do not have:
The best on the market right now is the RIDGID GIDDS model. This model is powerful and can serve many different functions, being able to clean sink drains and toilet pipes. It can also go up to 500 RPM. The Rigid goes into and out of the drain fast enough that you would not have to get your hands all dirty in repair. There is also a nice lifetime warranty on it if it ever breaks. This costs around $50 a unit.
The second on the market is the General Pipe Cleaners R-25SM. It is very easy to use and can be operated by first-time homeowners. With a T-Grip handle, it is very easy to get rid of clogs without much effort. The R-25SM also is priced very well at just about $20 a unit.
Another great auger is the RIDGID 59797 K-3. This model was specially built for toilets. It also is made of a material that is very durable and flexible at the same time. Actually, the cable itself is certified to unclog the pipes efficiently. This unit costs around $30.
The fourth on our list is the RIDGID 35473 K-45AF. In the market, it is the best electric auger you can find. It can also reach great lengths, going slightly deep at 25 feet to a 50ft reach in minutes. Regardless of its bulk, it is a very smooth and efficient piece of equipment with its in-line auto feed system. So far, this is the priciest of all units, costing around $350.
Another electric auger is the RIDGID 14053 SeeSnake. What is really cool about this auger is that it has a built-in camera. This allows you to see exactly where the clog is or even any issues in the pipes that you have yet to discover. With that, it is highly recommended for professionals and not beginners. Further, it comes with 6 LED Lights to let you quickly spot where your issue is. It also has a hardened steel case that allows it to be used for huge sewer clogs. This unit, with all of its features, costs around $7000.
The sixth on our list is the Drainx Pro. Unlike the past two units, this one is mechanical and can reach up to 50 feet. With its spiral heading, you can count on this unit to fish out clogs and even smaller debris. Further, with its durable steel drum housing, it serves as a very durable piece of equipment. Finally, it comes in with a very easy-to-follow manual for those who want to fix the issue themselves. This is extremely important for first-time homeowners and those that have had this issue for the first time. This unit is usually priced at $30.
Calling a Plumber
The last on our list is calling in a plumber. If the clog is not that serious, it will usually cost around $400. If the pope needs to be replaced entirely, you’re looking at $1,500 repair.
In total, though, if you order a mechanical auger, your total equipment cost would be around $150. That range can largely vary, however, if you would order an electrical auger that would cost multi-thousands of dollars.
If the toilet is bubbling due to your showers, then your shower and toilet most likely share a drain line and vent stack. This model is called wet venting. If either of these pipes has a blockage, the air is forced to your toilet and thus the bubbles and gurgling noises.
In most homes, drains are usually vented separately, meaning each item in your house has its own separate pipe. For example, the toilet drain has its own pipe connected to the drain. The sink drain also has its own pip connected to the drain. Given that, there is still a chance that if they are close enough to each other, they are commonly vented or connected through the main pipe. A good image would be a tree: the branches represent the pipes and the bark represents the mainline. If there is a clog in the mainline, the air is pushed into one of these pipes, like your toilet or sink drain.
If you have a clogged sewer drain, the gurgling noise could be due to either the force of air out or the force of air in. When you turn on the shower, the water drains down the pipe, pushing the air out. If there is a clog, that air is trapped. Then, the air can redirect to another pipe, or branch, like your toilet.
If there is a clog, the flow of the water from the shower to the drain can make a vacuum. This vacuum can suck air down through to the toilet.
If any of the above happens, contact a plumber immediately to avoid further damage as this issue is very complex and can be costly in the future if not repaired.
Another issue might be that it is a blocked vent stack. These stacks do not carry any water but are very important in the plumbing system. If your vent stack is blocked, there can be negative pressure in the pipe system. This, in turn, can force air into other pipes, like your toilet. This situation can be handled manually. First, locate your vent stack, which should be on the roof above your bathroom. From there, remove visible blockages, like leaves, and trash. If you are unsure, contact a plumber. To prevent a similar issue, use a protective screen.
Like the issue above, the problem can stem from multiple amounts of sources, mostly dealing with airflow and pressure. This can be in the drain, the main sewer, and also the vent stack. The issue can also be in the toilet itself, where you can directly see the issue. If your toilet gurgles or you see bubbles when you flush it, there are multiple ways to fix this issue.
First, you can use a plunger. Before you do that, however, seal off nearby drains. This way, the air does not escape that way. Rather, you want the air to escape through the toilet pipe. Use duct tape to seal off sinks and other places where you think there might be a pipe connection. Using a plunger is only for light or moderate clogs.
Second, you can snake the drain. A standard snake (auger) can reach up to 15 feet into your drain and clear a lot of clogs within the pipe. However, if more power is needed, you need a motorized auger, which can reach up to 100 ft. When doing this, remove the toilet from its base, and if you do not feel comfortable doing so, call a plumber.
Thirdly, you can call your neighbors. If one or more of your neighbors have the same issue, the problem is likely in the main sewer pipe. After this, an inspection should occur and any issue will be repaired.
Calling a plumber is the last, but also the safest option. If the clog is huge and deep, you would not be able to get yourself out of this situation safely.
In this issue, your washing machine most likely shares the same waste pipe, like the ones in your toilet. Again, this means that the waste pipe is probably clogged.
A partial clog still allows for some water to flow through the drainpipe, but the clog traps air. As you flush wastewater down the drain, some air in the clog escapes in the form of bubbles.
Like in the strategy above, you can snake the drains. Unseat your toilet from the floor but empty out the water out of the toilet. Then, you can begin snaking the drain to find any clogs and flush it down.
There may also be an issue in-venting. There may be poor venting of the larger drainpipe.
To stop this, you can install a 2-inch drain with a P-trap, and connect a vent that connects to the main vent stack.
Draining the Tub and Sink Issues
First, clear the shower drain by removing and cleaning the strainer of the tub or sink. Then, insert the snake and remove the clogs. Plug the tub and fill it with some water. Once you release the plug, observe if the bubbling still exists.
You can also pour cleaning chemicals into the shower drain. This can, however, mess up your pipes due to its chemical content. Instead, opt-in for enzyme-based cleaners.
Lastly, you can clear the vent and discover the debris there. Remove that debris and spray water down to clean the pipe and clear more obstructions. If it overflows, use an auger for it as well to remove clogs.
When it Rains
If you have a septic system, your toilet can be affected by rain. To be clear, a septic system includes a septic tank and leach field. That field may be messing up due to heavy rainfall. Unlike the other situations, wait this one out for a while.
If your toilet still does not drain properly a week after, you might have a very serious septic issue that a plumber may need to address. It is either the leach field failed or there is a huge blockage at the septic tank.
This issue might be a very costly one against the other issues above that are more simple and can be done on your own.
Preventing this Issue
There are a lot of ways that this can be prevented. Instead of leaving your hair in the tub, you can pick it up and throw it in the trash can. Rather than flushing down toilet paper or other material down your toilet, you can throw it in the trash can as well. The same rules apply when doing laundry. A lot of times, there can be a lot of things hidden in your pockets. From gum to pennies, those can also mess up your pipes.
Before doing the laundry, always check your pockets before loading. This way, you can prevent any item from messing up your washer/dryer system that may be connected to your toilet.
Prevention is a great way to fix this issue, as it acts as a stopper to future similar issues. Further, you can always have a quality check of the pipes from plumbing companies. If you suspect already that there are issues, prevention is the best way to handle this.
Wrapping It Up
There are a plentiful amount of reasons that a toilet may be gurgling. There can be a lot of sources of clogged pipes and pressurized air. Do not fret since there are a lot of ways you can fix this.
Also, be careful with where you put your hands in. A lot of vent pipes may contain rodents, and you do not want to disturb them. Further, this rule applies to regular clogs as well. There are a lot of chemicals and debris located there that would not be a pleasant experience.
Finally, consider the costs of repair. Sometimes, it may be much easier and less costly to hire a plumber, who will only charge $400 for the fix compared to more expensive augers on the market. However, an auger can serve you for a number of times and maybe more efficiently for you in the long run.