No one likes a dysfunctional toilet, especially one that is gurgling and making other mysterious sounds. As one of the most used appliances in the house, the last thing you want is a toilet that stops functioning, causing you to frantically make choices that could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs!

While you can rest easy and remind yourself that the mysterious sound coming from inside your toilet isn’t some kind of ancient monster, it’s also important to note that the bubbling sounds are a sound of caution!

Your toilet is letting you know something is not going well, and we recommend that you listen. Here are some common reasons your toilet may be groaning and grumbling, and how you can get around to fixing the issue!

Clogged Sewer Line

A backed-up sewer line can be one of the many reasons your toilet is having trouble functioning properly. Depending on multiple factors, your sewer line may be clogged, and the end result is a backed-up, bubbling toilet that is days away from overflowing!

There are multiple factors that can result in a clogged toilet, and thankfully, each of them has a fix. One of the most common and easy to fix solutions for a clogged toilet is odd items being flushed down. This can include sanitary napkins, tissues, cigarette butts, and even 'flushable' wipes, which are actually not flushable at all! In fact, the only reason they're dubbed flushable is because they don't rise back up once they're flushed; however, none of the companies take guarantees for the possibility of these wipes causing clogs within the sewage pipeline, which can cause long-term problems for homeowners.

With so many large objects making their way down your drainage pipe, it’s more than likely that one or two don’t make it towards the end but instead cause a blockage in the pipe. This means that waste and water no longer get to flow freely, leading to air being pushed back and making the infamous gurgling sound. Most clogged toilets due to product blockage can be cleared up with a quick use of a trusty plunger!

A trickier reason for a clogged toilet can be the invasion of tree roots. Believe it or not, your sewer pipes are actually very attractive to tree roots. They contain water, nutrients, and oxygen, all things tree roots naturally gravitate towards. And if your sewage pipeline sustains a crack, vapor escapes towards the soil. This alerts the tree roots, and soon enough, they'll be making their way inside your pipes and continue to grow and clog your toilet pipe! And that's not all; if they continue to grow, they can cause severe damage to your pipelines. While you might find at-home tips and tricks, they’re only going to work if you know just how deeply the roots have settled into your pipes. Your best bet is to call a professional plumber who can inspect the problem thoroughly.

Toilet Equipment

While the first assumption is always about an obstruction in the pipelines, sometimes, the solution is as simple as trouble with your toilet equipment. All you need to do is lift the toilet tank and see how things are holding up!

Inside the toilet tank is a float and fill system, which, through the help of a flapper, opens and closes when you press the flush button. Once the water has been flushed, the toilet tank gradually fills up with water for the next time you use it.

However, when the toilet tank parts are faulty, you might hear some sounds that are definitely not normal! The quickest remedy is to adjust the toilet's float level to ensure enough water is being filled.

But if the problem persists despite the minor adjustments, you might need to replace parts or all of your toilet! Before taking the plunge, it would be best to have an expert evaluate your toilet and see which part might be causing the trouble. The small inspection can save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary purchases!

Blocked Vent Stack



Before we get into signs of a dysfunctional vent stack, it's important to understand what precisely a roof vent stack does. A roof vent stack is responsible for removing gas and odors from your home, and it also regulates the air pressure in your sewage system. The plumbing vent pipe is vertical and runs from your drain line to the roof of your house, where it’s located.

Think of a vent stack as a straw. When the top of the straw is clear, water moves upwards with no problem. However, the minute your finger presses down on the top opening of the straw, the water ceases to move. The same logic can be applied to the vent stack. Only instead of your finger, it's most often debris and animals that are clogging the opening. And since air no longer has a place to escape, it starts to exit out of your toilet bowl, which is why you can hear gurgling or bubbling sounds.

It also could be the leading cause of rancid sewage smells since the odor can no longer exit out of the rooftop. You can go up to your roof to see if there is any bird's nest or debris causing the obstruction. However, sometimes the clog might be deeper than anticipated, and professional intervention would be required.

About The Author

The author has been working in the plumbing industry for nearly two decades and is also an employee at ProServe Plumbing, a renowned company that provides plumbing services in Fort Worth, Texas. With the knowledge gained from performing plumbing leak repairs and gas line installations, the author contributes daily to the magazine and hopes to give homeowners the necessary knowledge to make the best decisions regarding their home plumbing systems. 

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