What To Do About a Bubbling or Gurgling Bathroom Sink
When it comes to your plumbing, there are a lot of things happening in your pipes. Unfortunately, that means a lot can go wrong, and some problems are worse than others.
At Frederick Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning we’ve seen every plumbing problem there is in over the 100 years since we opened for business in Wichita. While usually, a homeowner can’t see when a problem is developing, sometimes they can hear it.
Are you hearing the sounds of your sink gurgling?
Does your sink gurgle after you flush the toilet?
It can be concerning to hear a sink gurgle. This is definitely not normal. But it doesn’t always mean you have a big problem on your hands at the moment. In this article, we will go over the various reasons causing the gurgling sound in your sink and the solutions to getting it fixed.
Why does my sink gurgle when I flush the toilet?
A gurgling sound means there is a problem with airflow in your pipes. In a plumbing system that is working normally, air flows easily through the lines. This allows waste to run smoothly out of your home. But hearing gurgling indicates that negative air pressure is building up in the drain line. This negative air flow is pushing backward through your drains.
If your pipes aren’t vented properly, the water flow can be affected and may even be (or become) completely blocked. The gurgling sound is from air passing through the sink P-trap. And that’s not supposed to happen.
Where is the Clog?
A gurgling sink means you likely have a clog in one of a few places.
There could be a clog in your drain line, not far from your toilet. These clogs are typically created by people putting the wrong items down a toilet. The first problem you’ll often see from this type of drain clog is a toilet backing up and overflowing. This clog is often easy for a homeowner to fix by using a plunger.
However, the other likely place for a clog is deeper into the sewer lines. The clog is either in the main sewer line that connects to your community’s sewer system or in your home’s vent stack. The vent stack is the pipe that allows sewer gas to be released through your roof.
Troubleshooting Step: Plunge the toilet
Whether it appears you have a clogged toilet or not, your best step towards solving the most likely problem yourself is by taking a plunger to your toilet.
Start off by closing off the drain to all the nearby sinks. This is necessary to help with the force of the plunger pushing out any blockage in the pipes. The drains need to be completely closed and sealed to ensure optimum air pressure can happen. You can use duct tape to seal off sink drains.
Using a good plunger (see this article for some top-reviewed plungers), you will want to pump the plunger into your toilet a good 10 – 15 times.
After plunging, open the sink(s) back up and try flushing the toilet again. If there is no gurgling in the sink, you may have solved the problem. If there is still a gurgling sound, you can keep trying to plunge out the potential blockage.
If the plunger didn’t fix the problem, you can try to tackle the clog with an auger (aka “plumber’s snake”). These tools can often remove clogs that plungers aren’t able to handle.
When Troubleshooting Steps Don’t Work
If neither the plunger nor the auger doesn’t get the job done, then the clog is likely too far down to be reached by it. A longer motorized tool may be able to reach the source of the problem. But if the clog is deeper into the sewer lines, then a different tactic will be needed to reach the source of the problem.
Your best option is to call for a repair from a professional with drain and sewer experience like our plumbers here at Frederick Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. A professional Wichita plumber will be able to accurately diagnose the source of the problem and completely fix it.
Is a Gurgling Sink a Big Problem?
Yes and no. A gurgling sink is a definite sign you have a problem. But as we discussed above, it may be a relatively small problem like a clog that can easily be removed.
However, a sink that gurgles should not be ignored.
If you don’t fix what could be a little, easy problem now, it could turn into a much bigger problem later – and a more expensive one to fix. A clog that doesn’t get removed will likely get worse and potentially cause damage, such as cracking your pipes or collapsing your sewer lines. Waste could back up into toilets or bathtubs.
Prevent a Future Problem
Drains can get clogged in a variety of ways, and many of them can be avoided. Follow this one important rule – the only thing to put down a toilet (other than waste) is toilet paper. Do not flush any other type of paper including paper towels or wet wipes. Do not even flush down wet wipes that claim to be flushable. These products can still cause clogs and problems to your home’s plumbing system.