Gurgling toilet


Old 10-23-02, 12:32 PM
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Gurgling toilet

I have a 3 story house including the basement. When I flush the toilet on the top floor, the water in the toilet bowl in the basement gurgles or bubbles pretty good. The toilets are basically in line vertically. Any idea what could be causing this? Possible fixes?

The basement bathroom was added about 7 years ago and did not do this initially, but it has been happening for about 3 years now.

Could a clogged vent pipe cause this? If so, how would I unclog this? The only vent pipes I have exit through the roof. Thanks in advance.
Old 10-23-02, 04:37 PM
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Sounds like you may have a partial clog in your main drain line. If it was the vent, you'd be having problems elsewhere with sewer gas over that period of time.
Open a clean-out plug and snake the main drain line from your house to the street or septic system.
If that doesn't do it, you may have roots starting to get into the main drainline outside, if you have sectional pipe, such as cast iron.
In that case, it has to be roto-rootered, but that will only last a year or two.
If the snaking doesn't solve the problem (a snake will only punch through a rootball and offer temporary relief), you might want to hire a drain cleaning company with a video camera to determine your exact problem.
If it is roots, the only permanent solution is to replace the main drain line with ABS black plastic or PVC white plastic (if allowed locally by code), which have glued joints that don't allow roots in.
Good Luck!
Old 10-24-02, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I purposely did not include information about my problems with my main sewer line because I wanted to see if the vent alone could be causing this gurgling thing with the toilet.

My main sewer line began blocking occasionaly about 3 years ago. 1st tme it was about 3 yrs ago and then every 6 monts and then every 3 months and now it seem like once a month. The 1st 3 times I paid a plumber who snaked it and said he didn't pull any roots out. Then I bought a sewer tape and would unclog it myself. I would punch through the clog and it lasted awhile. Now it is much more frequent and on Saturday, I rented a sewer machine with a root cutting head on it. The clog is always in the same place and I reamed it out very well but did not pull any roots out.

The toilet still gurgles when the upstairs one is flushed so that's why I was thinking maybe a blocked vent that may have been contributing to this problem. Though it gurgled right after I thoroughly cleared the pipe.

I agree that my next step is probably having the camera sent down the pipes. At $250, I was trying to avoid it.

Could a blocked vent be contributing to this? Or am I basically looking at having the yard dug up and a new sewer line put in?
thanks again.
Old 10-24-02, 12:27 PM
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Was the basement toilet addition done by professionals. If the basement toilet was installed incorrectly It could cause the toilet to bubble. Every fixture needs a vent pipe within a certain distance to it. It allows air to escape as water is moving through the pipe.

You flush the upstairs toilet, a big slug of water falls down the pipe, pushing air beneath it, as the water falls pushing air it may push air out of the toilet. A possibility to explore.

also you may have a crack or separation in the sewer line. If the clog is always in the same spot, it could be a small damaged section that needs replacement, instead of the entire sewer line. However you will need that camera to find out.

good luck
Old 10-24-02, 12:38 PM
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It was done by a semi-professional. A pool guy who knows plumbing did it and I paid him for it. I remember discussing venting with him and I remember him stating he was taking that into account. That's all I remember. There was a vent pipe near where the work was being done. It was for a utility tub in the basement and he may have tied it into there somehow.

This didn't begin happening until approx 4 yrs after the job was done though, so I don't know what to say. That's why I was thinking about the vent maybe.

I agree that there's something in the main that will eventually need to be dug up and replaced. Oh well.

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