What are Those Bubbles in My Toilet?

What are Those Bubbles in My Toilet?

If you have a problem in your plumbing, your house will show it in all sorts of ways. One such issue that many people contact us about is their toilet gurgling or bubbling up whenever they drain the bathtub or take a shower. Has this ever happened to you, or is it currently happening in your home? You may want to pick up the phone and call a Sugar Land plumber as soon as possible, because this could be an indication of a potentially serious problem that needs resolved as quickly as possible.

What Causes Bubbling

There are two different types of plumbing lines running throughout your home: lines which bring clean water from your water supply to where it’s needed, and lines which remove used water and flush it away to the sewer system. Bubbling in the toilet is an indication that there is a problem in the latter.

In most instances, bubbling in your toilet comes from something known as “wet venting,” which is a condition caused by a clog in one of your drain lines. Plumbing codes require that all drain lines are vented to prevent pressure buildup in the event of a clog. However, it’s also within code standards to connect several fixtures to a single vent. This is often the case in a bathroom, where a tub/shower, sink, and toilet are all in close proximity to one another. This means one vent can be used to facilitate three or even four drains (such as in “his-and-hers” sink bathrooms). When this vent clogs up, every drain connected to this vent will move slower or with a lot more difficulty, kind of like liquid tends to pour slowly from a sealed, brand new bottle.

While this may not seem like a huge deal, the true danger lies in the vacuum created inside your pipes, which creates pressure that can damage your plumbing. Therefore, if you see this issue, you should call a professional Sugar Land plumber as soon as possible to get help with diagnosing and fixing the problem.

Determining the Problem

Troubleshooting air bubbles in your toilet is easier than you might think, especially if you have a few handiwork skills. The first thing to check is your shower or bathtub drain itself. Remove the strainer over the drain and carefully remove any soap scum and hair that may have accumulated. Then use a plumbing snake to remove obstructions a foot or two down the pipe. Once anything in the drain line has been cleared away, plug up your tub and fill it with a few inches of water, then release the plug and watch your toilet as the water drains away. If the bubbling still persists, then you have a blockage further down.

One thing you should not do to try to eliminate these blockages is to use a chemical drain cleaner. While these can lubricate and eat away at clogs, they also do the same to your pipes and could actually do considerable harm to critical plumbing components. It’s much better to use an enzyme-based cleaner, backing soda, peroxide, or salt to eliminate the clog.

If you don’t want to risk that, plunging your toilet might actually help loosen the blockage that’s down lower. This is an ideal option if you’ve noticed your toilet is also draining slowly when you flush.

Finally, if this doesn’t seem to solve the issue, the blockage may be in your plumbing vent itself. The main vent stack should exit through the roof of your house, and may have become clogged by leaves, dirt, and other debris getting lodged in it. Remove any surface debris and spray water down the vent to clear obstructions further down. If the vent overflows, you may have to use a plumbing auger to clear something stubborn or located a ways down. With this clog cleared up, you should notice that your plumbing stars flowing smoothly again.

Because these steps can be difficult for those who have little to no plumbing experience, it’s strongly advised you call a professional from Trademark Home Services to get the job done right. Call us today at (281) 819-5852 to schedule a service appointment if you’re experiencing a plumbing problem.

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