Recently updated on August 5th, 2022
If you notice air bubbles in your toilet, don’t push it off to the side. It is quite a serious problem that can take a worse turn if you leave it unattended. The most common reason behind possible air bubbles in the toilet is the build-up of negative air pressure in the framework. It could be inside the toiler, pipeline or the house’s vents.
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Well, working proactively ensures to save you from a nasty sewer spill in the future.
But why do you have air bubbles? What are the causes? And, how can you fix them? These are some of the most common questions we will address in this article.
Why Your Toilet Bubbles and How Can It Become a Major Problem?
Noticing air bubbles in the toilet is often a warning sign that you should take seriously. The situation often indicates a negative suction somewhere in the pipeline that’s creating the bubbles.
While minor and on and off bubbles aren’t a matter of concern, you need to worry if they become persistent.
The reason why it can become a major problem is due to the leaks or overflow. When the clog or the air pressure in the pipeline increases and goes out of control, it can cause terrible accidents.
Some of the aftermaths can even include waste overflow out of the toilet, which is nothing short of a nightmare. However, before anything, you need to identify the cause, which we will discuss next.
What Causes a Toilet to Bubble?
You won’t know how to fix a gurgling toilet if you don’t know what’s caused it. A clogged toilet is naturally one of the most common reasons, but that isn’t all. There are other associated complications that many people aren’t often aware of.
Let us walk you through the causes before we jump on to the fixes.
1. Clogged Toilet
As we said before, the most common reason behind air bubbles in your toilet is a clog. If something “unflushable” gets flushed down the toilet, it can clog and obstruct the flushing system.
Since our toilets aren’t designed to disintegrate and push out larger items like sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, paper towels, tissues, etc., they can get clogged in the mouth.
When a large object is clogging the toilet, it traps the air in the passage. This leads to the buildup of negative air pressure, which leads to air bubbles.
While checking the issue, check whether the clog is a small or a large one. If the gurgling sound is persistent, it could mean a larger clog. However, if the sound intensifies after you flush, it indicates a smaller clog.
Whatever the degree of the obstruction is, you need to act quickly and get rid of it before it takes a turn for the worse.
Also Read How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Clogged with Hair
2. Blockage in the sewer line or vent line
If you notice constant toilet bubbles, you need to find when it happens. Does it happen throughout the day? Does it happen when you switch on the shower? If it is the latter, the chances are that there is a blockage in the sewer line.
Having a blockage in the sewer line is problematic and can lead to several complications. It could be due to solid wastes, things that you accidentally flushed and other chemical compounds.
So, before taking action, get the entire sewage pipeline in your house checked. We’d recommend hiring professionals for more accurate spotting. Sometimes, natural or environmental conditions also contribute to the problems.
If the blockage isn’t in the sewage line but the vent, you have the leaves, stems and dead birds to blame. You can check the vent sack from the exterior of your home by taking a flashlight.
3. Faulty Cistern
Not just the pipelines, sometimes the problem is way more native than we think. While you complain about the gurgling toilet, it is probably due to a faulty cistern.
A broken flapper inside the cistern is often the most common trigger for this issue. The flapper is responsible for refilling and flushing the toiler. However, the flapper is also responsible for maintaining that airtight seal.
So, if the flapper in the cistern is broken, it fails to create that airtight seal, which creates a negative air pressure in the toilet.
How To Fix a Gurgling Toilet?
Now that you better understand the possible causes, let us look into the potential ways to fix them. The steps are simple, provided that you find the cause first.
If you are heading into fixing the issue without knowing what’s causing the issue, you will only look into short-term or temporary fixes.
Here’s what you can do instead:
1. Plunge the Toilet
Since clogs in the toilet are the most common reason behind air bubbles, you need to start by addressing that concern first. The easiest fix is to take a plunger and fix the issue.
Before plunging the toilet, make sure you seal all the drains to build maximum pressure. This ensures easier and more effective cleaning.
If the initial plunging doesn’t fix the gurgling, the problem is a lot worse than you think. This indicates that the issue lies in the pipeline and not just the clogged toilet. In that case, follow the next method.
2. Use Chemicals
There are potent chemicals available in the market that help drain out the solid wastes clogging the toilet or the pipeline. These are very potent, so you will see immediate results after using them.
Most chemicals need to be poured and left for an hour or two hours before you hose down the blockage or flush it out.
Also, when you are buying any of these chemicals, ensure that you read the labels first. Some contain very harsh and corrosive chemicals, which are very damaging. So, do your research and get the most reliable and efficient options.
3. Clean the drain
If the toilet is bubbling due to blockage in the pipeline or drainage system, you need to act proactively.
Baking soda and vinegar or baking soda and piping hot water solution work magic in cleaning shower drains. You can give that a go.
However, if the issue isn’t with solid wastes but wires, hair and stringy items, you can snake the drain. These are done with a sharp, pointy-edged plastic cleaning tool that you can scrape the drain. It will take out the stuck hair and other wastes from the drain.
Also Read Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner In The Shower?
4. Fix the flapper in the flush
Since a broken flapper in the toilet flush can worsen the situation, you need to address that concern first. If you know how to fix a broken flapper, go ahead and do it.
However, if you don’t, we’d recommend that you call a professional to fix it for you. In the meantime, you can also hire a plumber to check for potential blockages in the pipeline, just to be safe.
If the faulty shutoff valve in the flapper was causing the air bubbles in the toilet, fixing that should eliminate the issue for good.
5. Clear the venting system too
If you are sure that the air bubbles are due to a clog in the vent, you need to fix it immediately. The easiest way would be to poke inside with a large stick. If there are any obstructions, you should be able to spot that.
However, if you can’t reach the spot manually, the next best thing to do would be to pour some extremely hot water down the vent. It will clean the vent and clear out the obstructions too.
Prevention for Toilet Gurgling
As it says, Prevention is Better than Cure.
So, why should you wait for things to get complicated if you can prevent them in the first place, right?
Here’s what you can do to prevent air bubbles in the toilet:
1. Avoid Flushing Things You aren’t Supposed to
Yes, we are talking about sanitary products, tissue papers, nail paints, etc.
These aren’t supposed to be flushed in your toilet. Since they are large and solid products, they tend to block the toilet and clog in the process.
So, ideally, the easiest way to prevent this from happening is by avoiding flushing unnecessary items down the toilet.
2. Clean Now and Then
We are so busy cleaning our toilets, bathrooms and house on the exterior that we forget to pay attention to our pipelines and vents.
This is where you are going wrong. Much like the surface cleaning of your toilet, you should deep clean and unclog the pipelines too. It doesn’t have to be every month. Even cleaning the pipeline once or twice a year can prevent such complications in the future.
Air bubbles in the toilet is a lot more common than you think. However, that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly and not implement the right fixes. We hope this article gives you an in-depth understanding of the causes of a gurgling toilet and how you can fix it.
Remember that some things are beyond our control. So, if the clog or the blockages are beyond your management, call a professional for the same.