Why is Your Drain Gurgling?

Why is Your Drain Gurgling?

If you can hear some odd noises from inside your drains, it is often a sign that there is an underlying problem with the drainage system in your home. The cause can range from minor issues to major problems, but in almost every case you will need a professional plumbing expert to assist you.


There are a number of issues that can result in bubbling or gurgling sounds to come out of the drain. The most common cause is that there is a clog inside the drainpipe that hasn’t yet caused a backflow. Most clogs contain air pockets, and when the air is released into water sitting on top of the clog, it creates a bubbling sound. You may be able to clear the clog using a sink plunger, but if you are not successful don’t attempt to use chemical cleaning products. Many of these products are ineffective, and if they are strong enough to clear a clog, the chemicals are usually so caustic that they can cause damage to the pipe itself.

Blocked Drain Vents:

Another common cause of a gurgling drain is a blocked drain vent. Drain vents are designed to eliminate sewer gas build up. This is accomplished by directing the gas up and out of the drainpipes through the roof. Unfortunately, vents can be blocked by debris. If an animal has built a nest or weather conditions have deposited debris in the vent, the sewer gas will be forced through the water inside your p-trap and the drains, causing a gurgling noise. This can be a serious issue, so it is important not to begin investigating the roof on your own, but seeking professional advice.

Sewer Line Issues:

One of the most potentially serious causes of a gurgling drain are issues with the sewer line itself. If the sewer line has become clogged or broken, sewage will back up into the drains inside your home. The first indication of a backed up sewer line is that gas will be pushed through the p-trap (the U shaped pipe under the sink) and cause gurgling sounds. This issue can result in expensive sewer and drain repairs, so it is vital to take immediate action. A delay could not only allow sewer gas to continue to accumulate, but it could allow the problem to further develop. This will leave your home at risk of sewage backing up, and you could be faced with an extremely costly repair bill.

Although a gurgling drain may seem innocuous, it can be a sign that there is a serious problem with your plumbing system. If you notice your drains are making odd noises, you should have the situation investigated as soon as possible. If there is a build-up of sewer gas inside your drains, it could cause severe problems and damage to your home. Experienced plumbing professionals can assess your drains and determine the underlying cause. Once the issue has been detected, it can be corrected, so you can know with confidence that there are no nasty surprises lingering inside your pipes.

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.