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Ever turned on the tap and heard a weird noise, as if water was struggling to pour out? That is what gurgling sounds like. 

As a homeowner, you have to multitask and take care of much hands-on stuff. That includes everything from fixing the leaky pipes to maintaining the floorboards, and it’s not an easy job all in all.

Along with the entire plumbing system, drains need to be looked after regularly. If you find your drains gurgling, do not panic because, in most cases, you can straighten out the problem yourself. 

We’ll cover almost all the reasons that make drains gurgle in our guide today. Just keep reading to find out!

What Causes Drain Gurgling?

When a clog develops in the drains or pipes, it traps some air around it, forming an air pocket. The gurgling noise is nothing but those air pockets or bubbles making their way up forcefully along with water through the pipe. 

Now, let’s discuss all the possible causes in detail:

1. Blocked Drain Line

If the gurgling sound is quite loud, there may be a clog in your drain line. You can assess the exact location of the blockage by the number of gurgling drains

When the sound comes from just one drain, you know the culprit right away. But if the kitchen sink gurgles when you open a tap in the bathroom, the problem is in the main sewer line. 

All the drain systems have ventilation pipes, separate from the water pipeline and positioned on the roof. The gases and excess air present in the sewer line exit and escape the vents through these airways. 

Sometimes birds or rodents nestle in the ventilation pipes and block them with twigs and feathers. Consequently, the air cannot pass from the airway and gets trapped inside the pipelines, escaping your drains. 

We found that the blockage in drain lines might be partial or complete and entail different types of gurgling sounds. You can differentiate between the two by observation and take action accordingly. 

Plumbing Vent On Roof

2. Partially Blocked Drain

When there’s a partial clog, the water will flow slowly with low pressure, and the drain will start gurgling. You can save it from a complete blockage by promptly cleaning the drain using a drain cleaner.

3. Completely Blocked Drain

In case of complete clogging, the water will stop draining and stagnate in your bathtubs and sink. A drain rarely suffers a complete blockage abruptly, and in most cases, partial clogging can be noticed beforehand. It’s better to treat the drain at that early stage instead of allowing the clog to enlarge.

Accumulation of dirt, soap residue, hair, dead skin, oil, or toilet paper residue are a few reasons for drain blocking. If multiple drains are gurgling at the same time, you’ll be better off calling your plumber.

4. Clogged Vent System

All the fixtures in your house are connected to a vent system that allows the smooth passage of air without disturbing the drain pipes. The vents are easily distinguishable from the regular drain pipes, as they are thin structures protruding on the roof near your kitchen or bathroom.

They collect debris as they are open-ended and commonly cause gurgling. If the vent pipe itself gets clogged for some reason, the air will not be able to leave the system entirely, causing it to rush back through the water outlets. 

So, whenever your drain produces any weird sounds, do take a look at the vents for apparent signs of clogging before calling a plumber. It will save you a lot of time and money.

5. Blocked Or Damaged P-Trap

A P-trap keeps your house free from foul odours and prevents the gas from escaping through the drains. For those of you who don’t know about P-trap’s, let us clarify that it is a U-shaped pipe that holds water and is found below the sink. It creates a water seal that serves as a barrier for stinky gases.

Have you ever noticed that stinky ammonia smell that your sink or toilet gives off sometimes? This happens when the P-trap is incorrectly installed or damaged. 

Take notice of any smells while flushing the toilet or using the basin if your drain is gurgling. If it is unusually foul, then consider checking or replacing your P-trap.

Opening P Trap

5. Issue In The Main Line

The wastewater from your home is carried to the main sewer line in your block through a single large pipe known as a sewer line. This pipe plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of all the drains in your house. If your sewer line malfunctions, the situation will be stressful, so do take special care of it.

One obvious way to find out if the gurgling is caused by some issue in the main sewer line is by paying attention to the toilets. If the basement drains overflow when you flush the toilets on another floor, the problem indeed lies in the sewer.

These were the primary reasons that generally led to drain gurgling. However, it is better to call for professional help if you can’t find the root cause and the problem persists for two to three days.

How To Fix A Gurgling Drain

You can try to resolve the gurgling by following these simple steps:

Washing Dishes In Sink

1. Isolate The Cause

You need to isolate the drain that has been gurgling and look into the problem carefully. If only one drain, for instance, your kitchen sink, is making noise, then the problem is likely limited to that part only. 

However, if the sound comes from multiple house fixtures, the problem isn’t limited to just one drain. It might be something related to the mainline or ventilation pipes.

2. Clean The Vent And Drain The Pipe

Take up this task only if you feel confident enough and have all the required gear at home. 

For problems in the vents, try clearing up the debris by hosing the ventilation pipes on the terrace. If the issue is in the drainpipe, remove the grate and clear blockage using a snake or an auger. 

Look out for a bit of drain near your house; you can clear the mainline too by inserting a snake there. But we’ll warn you that this method is quite time-consuming and tedious. 

Fixing Your Gurgling Drain

Drain gurgling seems like a minor issue, but we advise you not to take it lightly. 

Consider it as the first sign of a significant chain reaction that’s about to happen in your plumbing system. Hence, it is good to thoroughly inspect the drains yourself when facing the gurgling problem as it is usually easy to spot. 

We recommend using an inspection camera to find any blockages and drain cleaners to clean them. If you cannot pinpoint the cause, do consult some professionals. WP Plumbing has blocked drain specialists in Melbourne and can assist you anytime. Call us for more information.

Before signing off, we’ll leave you with a final tip: do not flush tissues, toilet paper, or any non-biodegradable stuff down your drains. See you next time. Take care!

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