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Why is my Toilet Gurgling when the Shower is Running?

Enjoying a nice shower when you suddenly realized that your toilet is gurgling. What does this mean?

You have a blockage.

Is your toilet making a gurgling noise every time you shower? There is most likely something wrong inside your drain line and your vent stack. These two plumbing fixtures, most of the time is shared between the shower and the toilet. Also known as wet venting, this plumbing installation setup can cause blockages. When unattended for a long time, it can cause issues such as toilet gurgling.

What Causes a Toilet to Gurgle When the Shower is Running?

Clogs or blockages in the drain line, or the vent stack can force air inside your pipes to move up and down your toilet. The sound is similar to a sucking sound or the sound of something expelling air. This can be quite annoying and is a precursor to a blocked waste pipe. If this issue remains untreated, it can lead to blocks in your waste pipes too and will eventually shut down your bathroom completely. This is a messy problem and very unhygienic too.

Drains are usually designed with the vent installed separately. However, in inside the bathroom, these two plumbing fixtures are close enough that they are vented through a pipe that also serves as a drain for another fixture. In short, one pipe functions as a vent, where air flows, but also functions as a drain at the same time. If a clog in your drain occurs somewhere down this pipe, the air is pushed in and out the fixture, in this case, the toilet, while the shower is being used.

There are two areas to look into when dealing with gurgling toilets, the sewer drain and the vent stack.

Clogs in the Sewer Drain

If the blockages are located in the drainpipe, there are two reasons why your toilet bubbles when shower drains. As you turn the shower on, the water drains down the pipe, thus pushing the air inside the pipe. If a clog is present in the pipe, air will be trapped. If the air inside your pipe has nowhere else to go,  this air will try to go out through the drain, in this case, your toilet.

Sucking air can also cause the gurgling sound, this time on your shower drain. If a clog is present in the sewer drain, it can create a vacuum. This vacuum creates a sucking motion down through the toilet p-trap, creating a gurgling noise.

Blocked Vent Stack

Vent stacks are installed to be able to remove sewer gasses and odours from your bathrooms. It brings fresh air into the plumbing system, regulating the atmospheric pressure inside your pipes, promoting smooth flow when water is drained.

Vent stacks do not carry water, however, when this area is blocked – by leaves, dirt or other debris, negative pressure builds in the pipes, interrupting water flow. Blocks in the vent stacks can also cause trapped air inside the pipes. Air is forced out through a different pathway, like your toilet, causing the gurgling sound that you are hearing.

How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet?

Unclogging a sewer drain or sewer pipe can be quite complicated to be dealt without the help of a professional. If you attempt to remove the clog on your own, you might end up damaging the pipes. DIY is not a wise solution for this type of plumbing issue. If you are dealing with clogs in your drain, a trained and professional plumber is the best person who can help you resolve this.

The same is true when unclogging a vent stack. It’s best to have a licensed plumber to do the block removal for you. If you are unable to safely get on your roof, this is not a  job that you should attempt to do.

When removing blocks in a vent stack, the first step would be removing debris that have accumulated at the top of the vent stack. These can be in the form of leaves and trash. If the blockage is located deeper, a plumber has the tools that can help remove the blocks located in the deeper portion of the vent stack. It would be ideal to install a vent stack cover to prevent future blocks in your vent stack.

Solve Your Gurgling Toilet Problem with Hello Plumbing

Gurgling sound in your toilet may not sound like a big plumbing issue. But major plumbing issues always starts with simple issues like this in your home. As soon as you notice that there is a gurgling sound in your toilet or in your sink, seek help from a licensed plumber to address the issue correctly.

Hello Plumbing can help. We have been a trusted name in the plumbing services industry in Sydney. From a leaking tap to a new drainage system, our plumbers pride themselves on completing every job to the highest standard. Learn more about our services by visiting our website to get a FREE QUOTE today.