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Do Your Drains Gurgle? What You Need to Know


Why are your drains gurgling? Whether the kitchen sink, bathtub, toilet, or another drain makes noise regularly, take a look at what you need to know about this plumbing problem and how to stop it.

Should Drains Make Noise?

The only noise you should hear from your drains is the sound of freely flowing water when you turn on the faucet. Under normal circumstances, drains shouldn't make noise. This doesn't mean you won't hear the subtle sound of bubbles after you wash soap or shampoo down the drain. But you should never hear a constant or unexplained gurgle.

Why Do Drains Gurgle?

In most cases, a gurgle is the result of a clog or blocked drain pipe. Your home's plumbing system is complex and requires a balance of air and water. A clog blocks the pipe and forces air to flow over the water. This can result in a gurgling noise every time you wash water down the drain or flush a toilet.

Improperly vented pipes can also cause a gurgle. The venting system is necessary to adequately equalize the pressure in your home's drains. Without adequate venting, air can't flow freely inside the drain pipes. Like with a blockage, the result is often an odd noise. If the venting issue affects your toilet, you may also see bubbles in the water along with the gurgling noise.

Why Is Gurgling a Problem?

What may seem like a minor noise could signal a major problem — or the potential for one. While some gurgles indicate a blockage or poorly vented drain, others happen when the pipe narrows. This is typically due to a partial blockage or debris accumulating on the interior of the drains/pipes.

Never ignore a gurgle. Even though the water may seem to flow freely now, in days, weeks, or months, you could end up with a major backup. This could cause more complicated plumbing problems that cost you time and money down the road.

What Should You Do About a Gurgle?

A gurgle isn't a symptom to investigate on your own. If you don't have plumbing expertise, call a professional. The plumber has the expertise, experience, and equipment necessary to correctly assess the problem and repair it.

While some gurgles have a fairly simple cause (such as debris buildup), others are complex. An inaccurate diagnosis or incorrect fix could cause a larger problem in your plumbing system or force a clog deeper into your pipes. This could result in a backup of the main sewer drain that eventually affects your entire home.

How Will the Plumber Stop the Gurgle?

If you shouldn't try to repair the problem yourself, what can the plumber do to stop the gurgle? Again, the gurgle is a symptom of a problem — and not the symptom itself. For the plumber to stop the sound of air bubbles as they pass over water, they need to find the source of the problem and repair it.

The specific fix the plumber uses depends on the problem. If a total blockage is at fault, the plumber will need to unclog the drain — typically with an auger. In some cases, the pipes may have debris or grease coating the inside. The plumber may need to clean the drains with high-pressure water. This service can remove the cause of the gurgle and prevent the problem from returning.

If the gurgle comes from a venting issue, the plumber will need to repair the problem and correct the air-to-water balance. This should resolve the issue and eliminate the gurgling noise.

Do your drains gurgle? Contact Dignity Plumbing for more information on appointments and repairs.

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