Gurgling Drains: A Warning Sign of Sewer & Drain Problems

gurgling drains

Gurgling drains should not be present if you have a normal and fully functioning plumbing system. Drain lines should not make any gurgling sound when you drain or flush wastewater down the pipe. This type of noise happens frequently and is very common in many houses. However, you may mistakenly think that gurgling sounds are a part of how a drain system works. In reality, a gurgling noise is one of the most easily noticeable early signs of a pipe blockage.

If your drains create this gurgling noise, it is because water cannot flow freely inside the pipe. When you flush down an amount of wastewater, the air in front of this water moves forward and creates a vacuum behind it.

In a normal drain line, the will water flow fast enough, with no blockage present, to allow the air in the pipe to find its way into the pipe behind the water. If a partial blockage exists, air struggles to flow right in. It must flow past the water for the drain to work, hence drains will make a gurgling sound.

gurgling drains
Gurgling drains are a sign of a partial blockage

Many folks wonder what causes gurgling drains. An easy way to understand the cause of gurgling drains is to read the following simple example. The same principle applies when you stick one end of a straw into a glass of water.

If you cover the other end of the straw with your finger and lift it, the water inside the straw will not drain out. There is no air to replace the water, so it stays where it is inside the straw, seemingly defying gravity. If you partially block the straw, it results in a slow drain. Removing your finger causes the water to flow right down in an instant.

If drain pipes are not vented according to the code, air cannot flow properly inside a drain line. This will create a vacuum inside your drain lines. This will also cause you to have gurgling drain lines. That is why fresh air inlet lines are a vital component of any drain system.

Why a gurgling drain is a sign of a serious future drain problem

When drain lines make noise, the first thing that should come to your mind is a partial blockage. However a gurgling sound in your drains can indicate a more serious issue with the main sewer line. Let us not forget that every water fixture in your house has its own drain pipe, a branch line drain. But all those branch lines eventually meet at your main house drain. The main house drain then connects to your home sewer. Your home sewer then connects to the municipal wastewater treatment system.

A partial blockage in a secondary drain line is almost always easier to clear. If the problem happens in a bathroom, the culprits are most likely hair or soap scum. In the case of gurgling drain lines in the kitchen, the blockage probably contains food residue and an accumulation of grease.

If you hear the same noise in the toilet, the main suspects are toilet paper or feminine hygiene products. However, a main drain line usually has more complex issues. A partial blockage main line can happen because of damaged pipes, tree root penetration, and even rust that accumulates and breaks free inside the pipe.

Why a gurgling drain should be taken as a serious issue

When drains are gurgling it may not sound like much of a problem to you, they are easy to disregard. But it must be treated immediately by you to prevent bigger issues. A complete blockage, and a wastewater back up, can be prevented if you take the signs of an initial problem seriously. With gurgling inside your drain lines the wastewater can still flow down albeit slowly.

A clogged sink drain can cause gurgling sounds

If you keep using the same fixture with a partial blockage on a daily basis, the accumulation of food residue, toilet paper, and rust will only enlarge the clog. Eventually, your neglect will result in a complete blockage.

The Effects of A Complete Drain Blockage

When a complete blockage happens, chances are you will get water back up all over your house. A complete blockage in a main sewer line makes the issue even worse, as you are now completely without drain service.

A complete drain line blockage always seems to happen at the worst time. On a Holiday, when company is over, at a big party. The reason is simple. You and your guests are washing more wastewater down the system. The time to address a small drain issue is before a main event in your home. Not after you are in a panic, have a loss of facilities, and now need an off-hours emergency drain cleaning service.

Quick & Trusted Home Clog Remedies

Regardless of where the gurgling drains are, an immediate response is always best. You can attempt to use a plunger, or hand snake auger, to get rid of the blockage before it gets bigger. Both of them are available from local hardware stores, but they rarely cure serious drain issues.

An electric sewer snake in the wrong hands can damage your pipe and plumbing fixtures if used improperly. It is also possible to use a homemade cleaning solution consisting of vinegar and hot water to flush down fat or food residue from the kitchen sink. A good pre-emptive move is to remove drain catches in the bathrooms or shower to clean hair and soap scum. Try to delegate that one, it can get nasty!

Balkan Plumbing will quiet down your gurgling drains

Some plumbing issues do not necessarily call for professionals. With a little bit of careful inspection and handling, you can probably locate, and possibly address, gurgling drains in an hour or two. This is especially true when the problem occurs in a secondary drain. That being said, you can’t go wrong with calling a professional plumber. The good thing is that a professional is a qualified person to do a complete inspection, notice even the slightest issue, see possible warning signs, and know the right method to repair any drain issue.

A Professional Plumber and Drain Technician Has A Full Arsenal Of Tools

Another important thing for you to consider is that a professional always has the right tools for your job. It does not matter how severe or minor the damage is, a plumber knows which tool to use and how to use it accordingly. If you have gurgling drains, regardless of the location, they are best left to Balkan Plumbing. It may happen in the kitchen sink, bathroom, or even the main sewer line.

Regardless of the location or type of drain issue you have,  Balkan Plumbing will do a thorough inspection, and check for any related issues before it performs the actual repair. Only when all issues are identified, and the source of the problems is located, the professionals at Balkan will do what they do best: making sure that every piece of your plumbing is running as it should.

Trust Balkan for all of your drain needs

Gurgling drains and blockage are some of the most common plumbing issues. Balkan has been in the sewer and drain business for more than 70 years. Balkan has more than enough experience, knowledge, technicians, and equipment to handle the most complicated drain-related issues, as well as the easy ones.

A thorough inspection is the key; Balkan uses sophisticated HD sewer cameras to pinpoint the exact location of the partial/complete blockage, leak holes, cracks, corrosion, and everything else going on inside the drain. In some cases where the home sewer is damaged, a sewer repair may be needed.

Our technicians can also determine the right tools for the job depending on corrosion level, pipe diameter, and the distance from the access point. No more guesswork for plumbing a task, and therefore a Balkan repair is more time-efficient. If you need expert drain advice or service, contact the Balkan Drain Team.