Solving Gurgling Toilet Woes on Your Septic System

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What Might Cause A Toilet To Gurgle On a Septic System?

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a gurgling toilet to strike fear in the heart of any homeowner. In a septic system, there are many reasons why this can happen, from clogged toilets to blocked drain lines and vent stacks.

But don’t worry, all hope is not lost! In this post, we will explore the causes of toilet gurgling on a septic system and provide you with some easy-to-follow solutions to fix it. We’ll cover everything from how to resolve clogs in your drain and mainline blockages to tips for proper plumbing maintenance and troubleshooting common plumbing problems at home. So, sit back and relax as we take you through the steps you need to take to get rid of that annoying toilet gurgle once and for all!

You might notice that your toilet gives out a gurgling sound during flushing, or sometimes, at random times. The gurgling sounds are basically gas bubbles being released from collected water and this is a certain sign that there is a problem somewhere. Diagnosing the actual issue may take a bit of detective work, but gurgling sounds from your plumbing, definitely, should not be ignored.  

Why is your toilet gurgling on a septic system? The simplest (and least worrisome) diagnosis is that the plumbing drain directly underneath your gurgling toilet, or within close proximity of it, is clogged. This causes slow drainage and gurgling in all fixtures connected to that drain. When a toilet gurgles, it is an indication that negative air pressure (suction) is building up in the drain line, creating an air-lock. This is often caused by non-septic-friendly items being flushed down the toilets (such as disposable diapers, sanitary pads, cigarette butts, and other non-biodegradable matter). A worse possibility is that your septic tank is full, preventing or interfering with the flow of greywater from the tank and into your drainfield. Here, we will discuss the details of what causes your toilet to gurgle and what you can do about it.

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What Causes Toilet Gurgling on a Septic System?

If your toilet gurgles, it could indicate problems with your septic system. A blocked drain line or sewer pipe is the usual culprit. Other possible causes include a full septic tank, tree roots encroaching on pipes, or incorrect venting. Regular maintenance, including pumping the septic tank and checking pipes for damage, can help avoid toilet gurgling.

Clogged Toilet and the Gurgling Issue

When you hear a gurgling noise coming from your toilet bowl, it’s most likely because of negative air pressure passing through wastewater in the plumbing system. Toilet bubbling can be caused by several factors such as tree roots or obstructions in the sewer line or drainage system. To resolve tough clogs, use an auger or drain snake rather than pouring harmful chemicals down the drain. Call a plumbing service if none of these home improvement methods are effective.

If a minor plumbing blockage is a culprit behind the gurgling sounds coming from your toilet, your drains may appear to otherwise be working properly. Although, you may be noticing a sluggishness in how quickly your sinks and toilets drain. This is especially noticeable on days when there are surges in water output (like laundry days or when you have additional guests).

More often than not, these clogs require snaking or jetting to remove the blockages.  A powerful product like SeptiFix can be flushed in your toilet and be used to break down clogs and waste in your septic tank. Read our SeptiFix Review Here

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The first thing to do, if you wish to investigate where the gurgling is coming from, is to seal off the drains in nearby sinks, showers, and tubs and then use a plunger on your toilet. If the cause of the gurgling is in the drainpipe, simply using a plunger on the toilet could create sufficient pressure to dislodge a light-to-moderate blockage.

Bathroom fixtures (bathtubs, sinks, showers) typically connect to the same drain line (or the line that runs from the toilet) this is why, before plunging, you’ll want to seal off these other drains. Duct tape will do. If you plunge without sealing these other drains, the pressure from the plunging can escape through these other drain fixtures, instead of dislodging a blockage. With the toilet bowl full of water, fit the head of the plunger tightly to the drain hole in the base of the bowl. Try to dislodge the clog with 10 to 15 firm pumping motions. Then wait to see if the toilet gurgles again. If so, you will certainly need to investigate further into your septic system.

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How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet

As one of the most-utilized fixture in the house, a fully-functioning toilet should be a top priority. Fortunately, you can diagnose the cause of bubbling and gurgling sounds coming from a toilet (as there are several possible causes), but if the longer you leave it unresolved, the problem could get worse. Such sounds can come from the water line or the toilet itself, depending on the actual cause. As you undertake to fix one or several of such toilet problems, expect to need locking jaw pliers or vice grips, a wrench, and a screwdriver, at the least.

A clogged toilet bubbles and gurgles when it flushes. The easiest way to fix a clog is to use a plunger. The pumping action creates suction through the toilet trap that moves the blockage up and down to loosen it. Sometimes the force is enough to remove the clog. It is also possible that the vent is clogged from backed-up sewer solids. In this case, use a plumber’s snake to access the blockage through the toilet vent up on your roof. Plumber’s snakes are available at your local hardware or home improvement store. You could also rent a powered model from a home rental yard.

The air within the plumbing lines cause sounds in the toilet as it fills. The air causes the water fill line to spurt and spit, resulting in bubbling and gurgling in the toilet. To remove air from your water lines, turn on all the faucets in the house until the water starts flowing smoothly. Allow the water to run until the spitting and spurting subsides, and then shut all the faucets off. If the problem persists in your water lines, inspect for a plumbing leak elsewhere in the facility.

The build-up of sediment in the toilet tank due to iron, calcium or magnesium in your water can cause the tank’s equipment or water lines to get clogged. If hard water scale forms at inlets to the tank, this could cause the water to spurt, gurgle, and bubble as the tank is filling up. If you notice a red-orange fur-like formation on the inside of your toilet tank, replace water inlet lines from the facility to the tank. You may use a scrub brush and a little amount of bleach to break down the iron bacteria buildup in your toilet tank.

If in spite of these DIY remedies, the gurgling persists, you are best advised to call on your trusted septic service provider for assistance. It is possible that the problem lies further into your septic system.

Why a Full Septic Tank Causes Gurgling in Your Plumbing

The most common reason for gurgling toilets and drains operating on an on-site septic system is that it, at the very least, is due for routine servicing. A full septic tank deters your septic system from properly functioning by interfering with the flow of greywater from the tank and into the drainfield.

A full septic tank will not drain properly because sewer lines are blocked and wastewater is unable to flow out as it should. An over-full septic tank may eventually lead to catastrophic septic system failure, including ruining your drainfield and causing sewage to back up through the plumbing and into your home or building.

A septic tank, if left un-pumped for a long period of time, fills up with septic sludge and/or septic scum. The wastewater that comes from your home or facility carries with it solid waste matter. The heavier solids sink down to the bottom and form the sludge layer. Meanwhile, lighter solids (such as fat, oil, and grease) float to the top, forming the scum layer. What’s left is a relatively clearer middle layer of liquid, called effluent, and this fluid is what should leave the tank and travel to the drainfield.

The excessive accumulation of sludge and scum will leave little room for effluent, eventually causing it to leave the septic tank prematurely.

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That is, with more solid waste matter content, as it had less time to separate. This results in a build-up of solid waste matter ending up in your drainfield. This is where the “catastrophic septic system failure” earlier described begins. Scum and sludge in your drainfield will clog your soil, leading to sewage back-ups and pooling in your property’s surface.

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There are four major factors that affect the rate at which your septic tank fills up:

  • Septic tank size
  • The number of occupants in the home or building
  • Water usage
  • The volume of solid wastes in the wastewater

A skilled and licensed septic inspection professional should be able to determine whether or not your tank needs to be pumped. Also, by analyzing all of these factors specific to your property, your contractor should be able to tell you the frequency of regular pumping that your septic tank will require.  

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

If you’re dealing with a clogged toilet, there are several ways to fix it without damaging your septic system. One common method is to use a plunger to clear any obstructions in your drain line or sewer pipe. You can also try using an auger or drain snake for tough clogs. Avoid using harsh chemicals as they can damage your septic system and cause negative air pressure, resulting in gurgling toilet noise and bubbling fixtures. By following these simple steps, you can resolve most clogged toilet issues quickly at home.

Drain Line Blockage or Mainline Clog

If you’re experiencing drainage issues in your home’s plumbing system, it’s important to determine whether you’re dealing with a drain line blockage or mainline clog. Signs of these issues can include gurgling toilets, slow draining sinks, and sewage backups. While some tough clogs may require the use of an auger or drain snake, it’s best to avoid chemical drain cleaners as they can damage your septic system. If the problem persists, consider calling a professional plumber who specializes in septic systems for help.

Fixing Drain and Mainline Blockages

If you’re struggling with tough clogs or negative air pressure causing your toilet to gurgle or bubble uncomfortably, don’t fret! You can try using a plunger or an auger to clear up any blockages in the drainage system. Failing that, calling in a plumbing service or professional plumber with specialized equipment like a sewer snake can help relieve any obstruction in your home’s plumbing system. Remember to always use septic-safe toilet paper and avoid flushing non-degradable items down the drain.

Vent Stack Blockage

Blocked vent stacks are responsible for causing various plumbing issues like slow-draining sinks and foul odors in the plumbing system. The causes could range from debris build-up to animal nesting or damage to pipes. It’s always best to hire professional plumbers who can safely remove blockages in the vent stacks with specialized equipment. With their help, it’s possible to effectively restore optimal air pressure levels and avoid negative pressure leading to gurgling toilets or bubbles in your toilet bowl due to suction.

How to Resolve Vent Stack Blockages

To effectively deal with the annoying gurgling sound in your toilet bowl caused by a blocked vent stack on your septic system pipes, use specialized plumbing services like plumbers’ snakes or high-pressure water jets to clear the obstruction. Ensure that you maintain regular maintenance schedules and clean your drain system to prevent recurring blockages due to debris buildup or animal nesting.

Clogged Municipal Sewer Line

If you notice gurgling toilets, slow draining sinks, or foul odors, it could be a sign of a clogged municipal sewer line. Blockages could be caused by tree roots or debris buildup in your home’s plumbing system. An expert plumbing service provider can help identify the problem using a sewer camera inspection and clear out tough clogs with an auger or drain snake. Do not forget to get your drainage system cleaned regularly to avoid any unpleasant sewage backups.

Can a Gurgling Toilet Fix Itself?

It is doubtful that a gurgling toilet will resolve on its own. Gurgling is typically the result of plumbing or septic blockages, and ignoring it can lead to bigger issues like sewage backups and property damage. Seeking help from a professional plumber or septic service is recommended to avoid further problems.

Call Professional Plumbers for Help

Ignoring gurgling toilets can lead to serious sewage backups and property damage. It is best for homeowners to hire a professional plumber or septic service to diagnose and fix the issue as they possess the necessary expertise and equipment to resolve septic system problems. Regular maintenance by professionals can also prevent these issues from happening in the first place. Remember that attempting DIY solutions for plumbing issues can result in more harm than good.

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Understanding Homeowner Plumbing Tips

Proper maintenance of your home’s plumbing is crucial in avoiding various plumbing issues like toilet gurgling on a septic system. Prevent clogs by avoiding flushing non-biodegradable items down your toilet. Installing a backflow prevention device will ensure that sewer water does not flow back into your home. If you suspect any larger problems with your septic system or plumbing, don’t hesitate to call professional plumbers for help.

The Significance of Proper Plumbing Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your home’s plumbing system is essential to prevent costly repairs and damage caused by a clogged drain line or blocked vent stack. To prevent clogs and backups, schedule regular pumping of your septic tank, address plumbing leaks promptly, and avoid flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet. Professional plumbers have the expertise to diagnose and resolve plumbing problems like gurgling noises, bubbling toilets, or negative air pressure issues caused by tree roots or obstruction in sewer lines. Call them for help with tough clogs or drainage problems.

Handling Common Plumbing Problems at Home

Dealing with a constantly noisy toilet bowl can be frustrating for homeowners. If you’re experiencing gurgling sounds or bubbling in the bowl of your bathroom fixtures, it may indicate plumbing issues. Clogs in the drain line or blocked vent stack could cause negative air pressure in the system leading to wastewater backing up into your home. Avoid flushing non-degradable items like paper towels down your toilet that could lead to tough clogs and call professional plumbers for help if necessary.

The Importance of Mainline Maintenance for Septic Systems

Regular mainline maintenance is an excellent way to ensure proper functioning of your septic system and avoid costly repairs or replacements. Hire a professional plumber to inspect and clean pipes leading to the septic tank, preventing issues such as gurgling toilets, slow drains, and sewer backups caused by obstructions like tree roots or tough clogs. Prevent negative air pressure with regular maintenance, avoiding bubbling or gurgling toilet noise or unpleasant odors from sewage backup.

Dealing with Sewage and Mainline Issues

If you hear a gurgling sound from the toilet bowl when flushing or notice bubbles coming up in the bathtub or sink drains, there could be an issue with negative air pressure in the drainage system caused by a clogged drain line or blocked vent stack. Regular maintenance of your septic system can avoid such plumbing issues like this. Homeowners must get their home’s plumbing inspected regularly by professionals to prevent tough clogs that often require the use of an auger or even worse – a sewer snake. Contacting plumbing services can help identify the source of foul odor and other fixtures related problems.

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Troubleshooting Septic Tank Problems

Let’s now take a more detailed look at the three most common septic tank issues and the best way to manage them.

Sludge build-up. The buildup of sludge in your septic tank is almost always the result of poor maintenance practices. It is vital that everyone in the household or facility watch what has flushed down toilets; it can be incredibly easy for solid waste matter to accumulate in a septic tank to the point where it can no longer hold anything else. In order to best avoid the need for septic tank repair, the septic tank should be inspected and pumped-out by a septic service professional on a regular schedule – typically every three to five years.

Broken drain lines or broken septic tank baffle. Broken lines require the assistance of licensed septic professional with the right equipment. They’ll need to perform a video inspection to locate and confirm the damage, whether it lies in drain lines or other components. Broken septic tank baffles (usually as a result of sulfuric acid or rust build-up) are an early sign that your concrete or steel septic tank is failing. Consider having the entire tank replaced with a more modern fiberglass septic tank. The good news is, your drainfield may still be fine.

Tree root pervasion.  Tree roots are particularly drawn towards the area of septic fields and tanks and they can cause curtailed functionality or even complete breakdown. This is why it is important to maintain a distance clearing between trees or large shrubs and your septic areas. Simply cutting off the invading roots won’t work as these will simply recover. Your best bet is to hire a septic professional who understands how to treat the problem in the most effective way. Additionally, since roots in drain fields are treated differently, they’ll have the knowledge and experience to handle the problem permanently.

Fortunately, if you observe proper and regular septic system maintenance practices, it is relatively simple to prevent these disastrous and costly events from ever happening. If you follow a periodic schedule for septic service and inspection, you greatly reduce the odds of having to deal with a flooded (and foul-smelling) yard, overflowing toilets, backed-up drains, etc. Remember, the more you can avoid septic tank repairs, the better! If despite your best DIY efforts, your toilet gurgling persists, it is best to call in the professionals. Professional plumbers or septic system contractors are skilled, not to mention have specialized equipment, such as mini-cameras that drop in to vent stacks and powerful sewer augers that can chop right through tree roots. There’s also a slight possibility that the main sewer line in your property has come broken or has collapsed, requiring excavation and professional repairs. Though, we cannot say this enough: It is always better to prevent the repairs with best maintenance practices.

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Sources Used In This Toilet Gurgling Article