A “Gulping” Toilet Can Mean a Blocked Vent
LESLIE: Tim in New York has a toilet question. What can we do for you?
TIM: Yes, I have a toilet in my second floor bathroom and every time I flush it it gurgles until everything flushes down.
TOM: Well, if you flush it and it’s like starving for air and like gulping …
TOM: … then it’s not vented properly. Somewhere the vent is blocked.
TOM: Now I’m not quite sure where that is. It’s probably very close …
TIM: OK, well it’s on the second floor.
TOM: No, I understand where it is in your house …
TOM: … but I’m trying to say within the lines of the house I’m not quite sure where the blockage is but if it’s somehow obstructed …
TOM: … that’s why you get that kind of gulping sound. Because when you flush a toilet and you drop all of that water down it has to – the physical space has to be replaced with air and if it’s not enough air that’s where you get sort of this gulping where it’s sort of starving for air. So the vent pipe is obstructed.
Have you tried to actually snake it out?
TIM: No, I didn’t but I took a garden hose and I went up on – it’s a third floor house.
TIM: It’s an old house and we went up on the roof and we ran the garden hose and …
TOM: Was it always this way or is it something that’s changed?
TIM: No, it just happened – it happened back in February.
TIM: It’s been like this just recently.
TOM: I have a feeling that something is obstructed. Now, have you checked the toilet itself? Because …
TIM: No, I snaked it. I have one of the regular toilet snakes; a Ridgid snake.
TIM: And I ran the snake down it. It’s – you know, and snaked it about 20 or 30 times just to be sure.
TOM: So it’s not possible that something is trapped in the body of the toilet?
TIM: I mean I ran a snake through. I don’t know if that will get rid of everything that might be stuck in there.
TOM: But you ran it from the bowl, right?
TIM: Yes, I put …
TOM: And you’re sure that you got it through the entire toilet itself.
TIM: Yep, I have – yeah, it’s the one with the …
TOM: Alright, well that’s probably clear. Yeah, it’s probably clear.
TIM: It’s shaped like a J.
TOM: OK, yeah. That’s probably clear. Then I suspect it’s somewhere below that but when you get the gulping air sound …
TOM: … it’s definitely a blocked vent somewhere.
TIM: That’s what I thought it was and when I went up on the roof and my son looked down it …
TOM: Yeah, it’s just escaping you. You’ve not found it yet but I have a feeling somewhere you’re going to find a tennis ball fell in there or a golf ball or …
TOM: … something got in there (Tim chuckles) and it’s blocking some of the air and that’s what’s causing that.
TIM: Yeah, I was thinking about just changing out the bowl itself. I wonder if that’ll solve the problem.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well that’s not going to solve it, though. But that’s not going to solve it.
TOM: You know, it’s beyond the bowl.
TOM: Alright, Tim? You’re on the right track though.
TIM: I appreciate the time.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.