Why Toilets Make Gurgling Sounds

May 7, 2019

“Off and on, my toilet will make strange, but loud, gurgling sounds and when it’s all over, all of the water in my toilet will drain. For some reason, it seems to happen when the washing machine drains or when a tub in another bathroom drains. What gives?” If you are experiencing something similar in your home, we’d love to help you get to the bottom of it.

If your toilet sometimes makes gurgling sounds that resemble percolating coffee, there’s a good chance that you have blocked plumbing vents. Do you know those small pipes that stick out of your roof? Well, they’re not just there to exhaust foul-smelling sewage odors. They’re also there to equalize the air pressure in the drainage pipes so wastewater flows freely through your home’s plumbing system.

What Could Be Causing a Blockage?

In order for your toilet to drain properly and not make those gurgling sounds, the small pipes on top of your roof must be unobstructed. If ice, snow, leaves, debris, or even an animal carcass blocks the pipes on top of the roof, then when water does go down the drain, it will suck water out of the toilet and it can also do it to the traps under the sinks in your home. It’s typical for such a blockage to slow down tub drains as well.

“Do I need to climb on top of my roof?” We generally do not recommend taking the risk of falling, besides, finding the cause may require a professional’s evaluation. One of our plumbers can run a snake from the roof down through the vent system, but the best solution is to determine the cause of the blockage and we won’t know until we examine the situation in-person.

If animals are the culprit, for example, the solution would be to use hardware cloth and place it at the end of the pipe, then secure it with a hose clamp. But if ice is the issue, the solution would be different.

If you have a gurgling toilet, contact Winters® Plumbing to have one of our Boston plumbers diagnose the situation and find the best resolution.