Is your toilet bubbling, gurgling, or rumbling disruptively? Call the noise whatever you want, but its nature is the same. A bubbling toilet is a cry for help, coming from deep within your plumbing systems. This bubbling sound can happen randomly or whenever you flush your toilet. At first, you hear it once or twice. Soon, it becomes a persistent sound, telling you there’s a problem that needs fixing.
Why is the toilet bubbling when the shower is running? Typically, the sound originates from clogs, blockages or improper plumbing setups. However, every household is different and there might be another culprit. If you feel perplexed, it’s best to contact a plumber to diagnose the root cause and fix the problem quickly.
Here are some possible explanations for a bubbling toilet bowl:
Blocked plumbing line
Toilet bubbling happens when there is a clog somewhere in the plumbing, creating negative air pressure. Instead of air flowing through the plumbing, the air is pushed back and causes a gurgling sound. When this happens, you see air bubbles forming in the toilet bowl. If a toilet is bubbling when the shower is running, that means the blocked line occurs near your shower.
If you don’t notice the problem happening elsewhere in your plumbing lines, the issue may not be too severe. To fix the problem, all you need is to give your toilet a good plunging. Plunge about ten to fifteen times to dislodge whatever is clogging the lines. You can also try a toilet snake for good measure. However, your best bet is to call the residential plumber to clear away the blockages.
Blocked vent stack
If nothing is clogged in your plumbing, then it’s time to look upwards to find the problem. A blocked vent could also cause the toilet bubbling. A vent stack is a vertical pipe that leads to your roof. This handy device helps manage your plumbing’s air pressure and releases exhaust gas. This vent is meant to be clear of debris and open at all times. However, that’s not always the case.
When a vent stack is blocked, negative pressure happens again. You’ll notice slow draining water around the house, and there’s a stench of gassy sewer odour. A vent stack is usually clogged because of nests or dried leaves, bird or rodent carcasses, and other debris. You should call professional plumbing services to get a long line in there to unclog a vent stack.
Clogged drain line
Sometimes, the cause of your toilet gurgling is a central water problem. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing much you can do on your own to fix it. The city’s responsibility is to clear the clogs on the main output.
The blockage is on the main pipes that serve the city, and the physics here is the same. Negative pressure forces air into the plumbing channels, causing gurgling and bubbles. When the main water line is backed up, you’ll notice signs of clogging around the house. Other drains may be backing up, water starts backing up in the shower, and so on.
The problem is that detecting the clog requires professional equipment and professional expertise. Consumer tools cannot fix the problem, so the city would need to call in professional assistance.
Sewer line clog
Another possibility of a toilet bubbling is when the municipal sewer line gets clogged. If this happens, you might find more problems in your plumbing than a bubbling toilet. This sewer line leads wastewater away from your house. The mainlines from all the homes in your neighbourhood will dump wastewater into this line. Again, this is the town’s responsibility to fix and not yours.
You can check with your neighbours if you suspect that the problem comes from municipal lines. Ask if they have the same problem. If so, it’s time to call your municipal or water company to check the pipes. When this happens only in your home, you need to call a plumber to inspect your plumbing system and lines. If there are any clogs, they can immediately clear them out for you.
Calcifying elements and sediment buildup
Sediment buildup in your toilet tank can cause clogging too. If the water in your toilet tank contains calcium, iron, and magnesium, this will cause clogging over time. Hard water tends to get calcified, and because of it, you may hear gurgling sounds when your tank is refilled.
One way to fix it is to clear the sediments in your toilet tank. Alternatively, adding a water filtration system in your main lines can help to soften water and reduce calcification long-term.
A faulty cistern
Last but not least, a bubbling toilet could also result from a defective flapper. The flapper in the toilet cistern is responsible for refiling and flushing the tank with clean water. If the flapper is faulty, then all you need to do is change the flapper.
In more severe cases, you need to change the cistern entirely. If you have the right tools and the know-how to change a cistern, go ahead and do it. Otherwise, reserve this for plumbers to get the job done.