Why does my toilet gurgle when flushed?

Written by steven symes
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Why does my toilet gurgle when flushed?
Toilets will gurgle after flushing if the plumbing is not properly vented. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

When your toilet gurgles after you flush it, do not ignore the strange sound since it is a symptom of a bigger problem with your house's plumbing. A toilet should drain without gurgling or any other air coming through its drain, as should any other plumbing fixture in your home.

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Venting

Each plumbing device in your house has a drain pipe to carry waste water away from the device. These drain pipes connect to vent pipes, which ventilate the waste-plumbing system in your house. You will see the vent pipes coming out of the roof of your house. These pipes introduce fresh air into the plumbing system each time waste water goes down the drain, since air goes down with the waste water. Without the replacement of air in the plumbing system, the plumbing fixtures in your home would not maintain the same water levels and would not drain waste water correctly.

Problems

When the vent pipes no longer work as they should, you will experience problems with the plumbing such as the toilet gurgling when you flush, or water coming up out of a sink's drain. Once you notice a problem, you need to check the vent pipes for clogs. You will need to climb up onto the roof to check the vent pipes. Debris such as leaves, tennis balls and snow will sometimes fall into vent pipes. Animals may deposit nuts or other materials in the pipes as well. Use a flashlight to examine the pipes, since they will be dark inside and nearly impossible to see down without light.

Fixing the Problem

If you can see the clog from the roof, use a sturdy but slender device, such as a flexible retrieval tool, to fish the clog material out. Keep using the flashlight to check on your progress as you remove the clog. If you can see the clog but cannot reach it, use a garden hose to dislodge the clog. This method will work with materials such as leaves, while single solid objects such as balls will not give way to a concentrated flow of water from the hose.

Call a Plumber

Ultimately, if you cannot remove the object clogging your vent pipe, or if you go onto the roof and see nothing inside the pipes, you will need to call a plumber for help. Ignoring the gurgling toilet will not solve the problem, which can grow into something more serious over time. The vent pipes in your home contain sewer gasses, which can be toxic and can leak into the home if a problem in the pipes exist. Plumbers have special devices that send smoke into the vent pipes, alerting them to the location of any breaks in the pipes as well as clogs.

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