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What Are Those Gurgling Sounds in My Drains?

Plumbing systems in homes are quite extensive with hundreds of feet of pipe work buried under floors and hidden behind walls. The sheer size of the system means that it is not unusual to hear noises in the pipes, but they can be an indicator of a potential problem brewing in the system. For example, “water hammer” or clanging sharp sounds are a sign that the pipes no longer have an air cushion. Gurgling in the drains is a common issue, and there are a number of underlying causes of gurgling noises, so we will explore this issue a little further here. Obstructed Drain Vents Drainage systems have vents in place, which allow sewage gas to be directed away, and wastewater can still flow. The pipe for this drain vent is connected to the pipe which rises through the house and exits out of the roof. If this pipe becomes clogged or the roof vent is blocked, there will be a buildup of pressure, which allows sewage gas to be forced through the water in the p-trap, creating gurgling noises. Since the vent is located on the roof, it is important that you don’t attempt a repair yourself. A professional plumber has the experience and equipment to ensure that any obstruction is removed or repair conducted as safely as possible. Clogged Drain While many homeowners understand that backed up water in a sink is a sign of a clogged drain, gurgling noises can actually be a precursor to this happening. When a clog has formed deep down in the drain, a gurgling noise is created as air trapped in the clog escapes into the water sat above in the pipe. So, if you hear a gurgling noise, don’t wait for water to start backing up and call in a professional plumber. Broken Sewer Line This is one of the most serious plumbing issues as sewer lines carry wastewater away from your home. Unfortunately, if a sewer line becomes compromised by root intrusion, blockages or damage, it will begin to push sewage through the system and out of the drains in your home. The gurgling noise is the sound of sewage gas forced through the water inside the drains. Unless the damage to the sewer line is fixed, wastewater and sewage will begin to flood out of the lowest drains inside your home. Although it may seem innocuous, gurgling noises can be an indication of serious problems brewing in your drains. It is important not to ignore any unusual sounds or gurgling noises as the problem is not likely to resolve itself. When you first hear these sounds, you should contact a professional plumber. An experienced plumbing technician will be able to assess your plumbing system and using specialist equipment such as cameras determine the underlying cause of the issue. This will provide an opportunity for repair before the problem can develop further and leave you with wastewater flooded into your home, causing damage to your flooring, drywall, and personal possessions. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.