Understanding Plumbing Basics
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Understanding Plumbing Basics

As a new homeowner, I can tell you that things aren't always as simple as they appear. I started thinking about it a few years ago, and I realized that there were some serious problems with our plumbing system. We had issues with drains working correctly and toilets flushing like they should, so I started focusing more heavily on understanding the basics of our plumbing system. Within a few short months the entire system was operating more fluidly because of a few changes that I made, so I wanted to create a blog all about my journey. Check out these articles to learn more about the plumbing basics.


Understanding Plumbing Basics

What It Means If Your Toilet Is Gurgling

Jorge Alexander

Most people know exactly what their toilets are supposed to sound like when they flush. But if you've noticed that a new gurgling sound is coming from the toilet, especially if it's happening when you haven't flushed recently, then that likely indicates that there's a problem that needs solving. Here's what's most likely to be going on with your toilet and how you can get it taken care of.

Air Trapped

The most likely reason for the gurgling in your toilet is that there's air trapped in the plumbing pipe. When this happens, the water that's taking up space in the toilet pipe can shift, causing the air to move around. This can not only cause gurgling in your toilet, but if the water is still when the gurgling occurs, it can create small air bubbles that come to the surface of the toilet. This will make more noise but will also be visible to the naked eye.

Partial Blockage

But why is there air trapped in your plumbing? The most likely answer is that you have a partial blockage somewhere in the pipe.

When this happens, typically the toilet can continue to flush, although it may do so more sluggishly. There's usually enough space with a partial blockage that things can get around the blockage, but the blockage doesn't get pushed down when water and debris come through.

The partial blockage is ultimately responsible for the air being in your plumbing line. The blockage is likely starting to break down, which is creating gasses in the pipes. This is what's creating those gurgling noises and causing air to be in the line.

What to Do

With a partial blockage like this, it's usually not enough to plunge the toilet. A partial blockage that's causing these kinds of problems usually develops deeper into the pipes, as blockages near the top are usually either fully in the way or get pushed down when the toilet flushes. Unfortunately, if the blockage is too low in the pipe, it can't be helped with a plunger. In this case, it's best to call a plumber for help.

Your plumber will be able to quickly scope the line with a camera to determine where the blockage is and can break it up with a plumbing snake. If necessary, they can also use hydro jetting to clear the entire toilet's plumbing to ensure that any other partial blockages are broken up and out of the way.